Building Foundations in Nicaragua: Day One

Day one of our trip, Building Foundations in Nicaragua, went well. After a long day of travel (let's call travel day "Day Zero"), we arrived in Managua to be welcomed by Julian, Casey and Sergio. Julian is the local leader for Seeds of Learning (SOL), the local NGO with which we are working. Casey is originally from Texas but has worked in Nicaragua for many years. Sergio is an engineer from Spain who came to Nicaragua in January to work with SOL. 

After a nice breakfast of eggs, beans, tortilla, coffee, and juice we headed to the work site. The people of Pedro Arauz welcomed us warmly. After a prayer by the local pastor and a welcome speech by the local community leader - Juan,  Julian explained the Winds of Change project. We were very pleased at the level of interest and engagement in the proposed design. It was quite an experience to have several of the men of village ask questions and debate aspect of the design. Wayne took lots of notes and assured the group we would continue to seek input throughout the process. 

The main construction task to be completed on this trip is building the foundation onto which the first windmill will be installed. The design calls for three square holes measuring 50 cm x 50cm at a depth of one one meter. For anyone who has dug holes in clay, you know that the first 1/3 is pretty easy but it gets harder as you go. After a couple of hours of strenuous digging in the hot sun one of our hosts stated that had we offered to pay a local person $10 to dig the three holes they would have been thrilled, been able to feed their family for close to a week, and may have still thought he was over charging us. The going rate for manual labour is $12 per day. A quick calculation to put that in perspective....working six days per week for 50 weeks per year provides an annual income of $3,600. But finding paid work is not easy. 

I'll be thinking about that as we dig the third hole this morning.