"Hey, what's that new little building over there by the sports court, the clinic, the Coci-Nica factory and the community center"?
"Oh, that's the barber shop that one of the neighbors is going to open"
That's how we know "community development" is really happening!
Multi-Use Sports Court
We have always been interested in the health and welfare of all the residents of the community. In 2017 we were contacted by the NGO courts for kids, wondering if we would like to partner in having a sports court built in our community. We jumped at the chance, having recently purchased a piece of property across from the clinic, that would be perfect for a court.
In August of 2017 a group of 20 student/athletes from Kansas State University spent a week in the community building the court with the help of local residents. The result is a junior sized court set up for soccer, volleyball and basketball and other community events.
The Court is well used. In the mornings you will find young kids playing pick-up basketball and soccer. In the afternoons and evenings volleyball takes over and often on the weekends a young adult mens soccer league provides the action. The court, being the only dry, flat place in the community also gets used for large community cultural events and fiestas.
Sports That Build Community
Under the leadership of Georlengy Vallejo, we now have a huge volleyball/leadership program in the community. More than 40 adolescents are becoming profficient in the sport, while undergoing leadership training with real world applications. In exchange for their uniforms and other perks, the volleyball kids participate in community clean-ups, teaching English, and providing the younger children in the community with academic stimulation through a "Reading Corner". As the leadership group gives back to the community they are gaining skills and self esteem which should last a life time.
Improving School and Community Infastructure
When the Coci-Nica team is not otherwise occupied with stove making they are making improvements to our two elementary schools. We have a good relationship with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education and the crew coordinates their efforts with the needs of the two schools. Over the years they have built bathrooms for both schools, repaired roofs, brought in water and electricity, built and repaired furniture, built play structures and painted murals. We also coordinate our efforts in the two schools with the tutoring program of Hotel Con Corazon and with building projects supported by Casa de la Mujer. The crew has also built drinking fountains for the sports area improved court lighting, and fenced in the court so balls don't get popped in the surrounding thorn bushes!
Child Enrichment Center and Community Center
Over several years we've been working with Casa de la Mujer, a Nicaraguan charity that supports the needs of women, to build a center both for women and children and for the community in general. Those efforts are beginning to bear fruit, In February of this year, through the combined efforts of our donors, funds from a German charity, the Ministry of Education and Casa de la Mujer, the child enrichment center will open and serve about 40 pre-schoolers and their mothers.The basic facility with three classrooms and restrooms is built and now being expanded to include an outdoor covered play area. The facility is already being used for English classes and "reading corners" and will be available for community meetings, movie nights and other community events.