In September I led a delegation to Nicaragua. I knew from the beginning of planning that El Regadio was a 'must visit' for our participants. The leaders and activists of El Regadio are some of the most committed and effective in Northern Nicaragua. They are led by Don Augusto, a founding member and the current President of the Federation of Campesinos (FEDICAMP).
The Quixote Center’s work in Nicaragua is currently on hold following the government in Nicaragua’s decision to cancel the legal incorporation of our longtime partner, the Institute of John XXIII/Association Roncalli.
The Quixote Center has worked with the Institute since 1984, when we launched a program for the delivery of humanitarian aid during the US- imposed Contra War. After the war we continued to work with the Institute on a variety of community development, education and health projects. Our work expanded following hurricane Mitch in 1998, involving the integration of housing construction, community organizing and leadership development. Our most recent effort, Homes of Hope, built 200 homes in cooperation with housing cooperatives as well as some individual homeowners between 2017 and 2022.
The government’s decision to cancel the Institute’s legal incorporation means the Institute of John XXIII must now close. Institute staff are currently in discussion with the government concerning the distribution of Institute resources and program activity.
While the remaining staff at the Institute are in these conversations, we are also discerning the future of our work in NIcaragua.
Last summer we began a partnership with the Green Schools Network in northern Haiti. The organizers of the network have worked with school administrators and teachers to develop innovative ways for students to learn and practice ecological restoration throughout their education. We asked for your help and support to build a permanent nursery at the school in Gran Plenn as our first project together.
Last Friday the Quixote Center joined several other local organizations at a rally in front of the White House. I was honored to be joined by several people from the Quixote Center network. Thank you!
We chose the time and location because of a high level meeting between President Obama and the Presidents of the three Central American countries from which most of the recent wave of migrants originated: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Our message was clear: children fleeing violence in Central America deserve the rights and protections given to refugees.
On Friday, July 25 at 3 p.m. there will be a rally in front of the White House. Please join us to add your voice as we call on President Obama to uphold and defend the legal rights of the migrant children, ensure that families can be reunited and protected here in the United States, and to change the policies of militarization that have helped fuel the crisis. Please let us know if you will be able to attend.
You are invited to join the Quixote Center as we visit our partner organizations in Nicaragua. participants will see first hand our projects of human development, undertaken in partnership with the Institute of John XXIII and the Federation of Campesinos (FEDICAMP).
Construction is underway once again in the village of Chaguitillo! This is the second year that the Homes of Hope program has been active in this community, and the new construction will serve some of the more than fifty families currently waiting for a new home. The Institute of John XXIII reports that the first seven families have been selected and approved by the community housing association.
Nicaragua has experienced a string of earthquakes that emanated from the fault lines directly under Managua during the last week, ranging from 5.1 to 6.7 on the Richter scale. There have also been aftershocks. The temblors have caused serious concern among seismologists and other experts, and reminded many in Nicaragua of the devastating 1972 earthquake that left 10,000 dead and over 250,000 homeless.
It is difficult to write of a friend in the past tense; to say, “He was a good man”, or “He was a funny guy.” “Was” seems to final. But then death is final and I suppose we need to find ways to accept the passing of friends; putting them in the past is one way we do this. But today, at least for today, I want our friend Jim Burchell to be present.
Nicaragua faces a severe housing shortage, one that has left families without options for safe and dignified housing. Homes of Hope is our initiative with the Institute of John XXIII to address the challenges faced by the country's large working poor population, those with incomes below what is needed to support the family.
The following article originally appeared in El Nuevo Diario, and was translated from Spanish to English by Yancy Rivera.
The housing deficit in Nicaragua has no end. Currently, there is a shortage of 957,000 houses and each year the demand increases by 20,000 units, of which the private and public sector only cover 50%, according to the Chamber of Developers.