We endeavor that our life and activity in Nicaragua continually respects and benefits our local community and environment.
As one of the few foreigners living out here we are continuously asked for help. Our community asks us to assist with medical expenses, school and education costs, building assistance, event participation and calls for emergency aid. The revenue from our Rides help us to respond favorably to these requests. We just couldn’t do it without your help. We thank you… and this little corner of Nicaragua thanks you as well. Gracias Adios.
With the start of the school year in February, it was only appropriate to get the supplies that we have been collecting out to the schools in need. It was a great adventure for some guests including one of my fav people Miles Vince to deliver straight up the hills to La Libertad. Let’s just say, they were a little surprised to see us.
Community Buckets Christmas 2014 – A great big thank you to everyone who made the buckets happen this year. From those of you in far away places sending your money and love to fill the buckets and those on the ground who helped purchase, load and deliver them. Check out Cowgirl Noelani’s blog post
Giving in 2014 – The new year brought many health challenges in our community with what seemed like an extraordinarily high number of trips to the hospital.
Upon request from Jean Brugger Foundation, we welcomed a Nicaraguan intern Vet Student, Ricardo Guzman. Our horses are in good condition so we took the opportunity to use our community fund to buy medical supplies to service the local area. He co-ordinated and lead two outreach clinics ~ where he treated 70+ dogs plus some cows and horses. We continue our efforts to show first-hand how loving up animals benefits every being involved… especially the owners.
As luck would have it – we were also doing some finishing touches on our water and plumbing here at the ranch when the local leaders came asking for help with water to the school. They were 3 days into the school year with no water for the kids to wash up or drink. We were able to quickly purchase and install a new pump in a nearby well and connect the water to the school’s plumbing. A special thank you to my plumbing angel Christian for the generous donation of his time for this project.
Farrier extraordinaire Chris from New Zealand was here offering clinics to the locals on Ometepe Island and in Granada and then we hosted him here for a few days too. Natural horsemanship is an important part of life here at the ranch and we wanted to share his knowledge with the locals here. They were eager to learn… and they left with new hoof rasps in hand.
Donations this year have also included new posts for a local house that had fallen down, payments for medical services such as ultrasounds, mesh for hernia operations and prescriptions filled for those who could not afford it, new lighting for the school, donated fridge to the woman’s group in El Carrizal (they are going to begin hosting tourists for Nicaraguan meals), donated inverter to vet clinic on Ometepe and donated cement to several projects in the hood.
And we are now beginning the donations for our 5th annual Christmas Bucket Drive. Please donate if you can. Gracias
Fourth Quarter 2013 – This time of year is always busier for us within our community. A substantial chunk of our fund this quarter went to the repair of the potable water system that serves the school and the local residences. The connection to the large tanks on the hill (the system is gravity fed) were not installed properly and broke the tanks – requiring new ones.
We also took the time to photograph the kids for their annual school photos which is funded by the riders purchasing their photos too. Thank you!
Third Quarter 2013 – After several spay and neuter clinics in San Juan del Sur whereby we transported animals in need of care – we were thrilled to have the World Vets out here for two days. It’s beginning to feel like the education about the care and well-being of animals is taking hold. With much gratitude to the World Vets team. Click here for story
In July, Blue’s family from Canada was here so we took the opportunity to distribute the donations of clothing to an isolated community upriver from here, and to the school – donations of supplies and new uniforms!
Second Quarter 2013 – In addition to the regular clean up that our crew does of the beaches, roads and rivers, we participated in a community-wide clean up with the help of Las Fincas and Paso Pacifico. Over 300 garbage bags full made it to the dump. Over the years, it would appear the message is getting across as the community further upstream came and asked for sacs and the use of our truck for same.
One step, or bottle of plastic, at a time!
First Quarter 2013 – School started again in February and our fund proudly provided uniforms for the students and restocked the school supplies. Thank you to all the riders who additionally packed supplies and white shirts in their luggage for our community.
Recent Projects (December 2012) – December is the month of our annual Christmas Bucket delivery. We raised money to fill 150 buckets. They say photos say a thousand words. Click here to view the photos.
Recent Projects (September – October 2012) – Unfortunately in our community there have been three new diagnoses of cancer in young men under the age of 30. As I write this Chale was buried today from a brain tumor that was misdiagnosed as malaria. Our fund right now is helping out those families with medical conditions and emergencies.
Recent Projects (July – August 2012) – With imminent rains we co-ordinated two river clean up days to minimize the garbage that would reach the beaches when the rivers filled with water. The fund also funded supplies for two homes in need of repair to the rains as well as two no-interest loans to help people build new homes. There were several newborns the last 2 months that received ‘welcome to the world’ buckets full of necessities for both mom and baby. One of the newborns was to one of the staff Franklin, whose child arrived with quite the story. Read it here
Recent Projects (May – June 2012) – We’re not sure if our neighbors are getting sick more often… or if they are just getting to know us better – but lately there has been numerous, legitimate requests for help with operations. Appendix, kidney stones, accidental injuries. We are grateful that we can assist.
Recent Projects (January – April 2012) – The busiest time of the year for riding kept us in the saddle so most of our projects were direct donations to the 3 nearby schools and those in need of emergency help. Kids were back in school the first week of February and we were able to donate new shoes and back packs to over 50 children.
One of our fellow employees Eddy passed away at home when he was diagnosed with advanced stages of cancer, and as the only employed family member we made a direct donation to his family to help them get through this tragedy. We’ve had several calls as an ambulance these past few months, including a little girl who had fallen off a water tank stand where she was checking the water levels for her mother who was filling the tank from the well below. What originally appeared to be a badly broken arm has now had complications with limited feeling in her arm indicating spinal/nerve damage. We await to hear the outcome and have helped family members be with her in Managua where she is getting attention.
Recent Projects (December 2011) – It was so busy for us here at the ranch that I have not been able to update our blog on activities in the community. Many of you know.. and so generously donated to the our Christmas Bucket program. It took us 5 trips to deliver all 130 buckets. Here’s some photos: CLICK HERE
Recent Projects (October/November 2011) –
It’s rainy season this time of year in Nicaragua. We used some of our fund this month to purchase children’s rain boots. It’s pretty tough going in the clay-based mud here. We also assisted financially with the installation of toilets at the local schools. The kids still need to use buckets of water to flush, but it’s a step-up from an outhouse. Blue also did her personal share this month and took school photos of each student in the community. Two schools down… one more to go.
Recent Projects (August/September 2011) – Our shuttle for the local dogs to the World Vets Clinic in San Juan del Sur was met with great enthusiasm. Twenty dogs were transported in our truck – with 15 surgeries and 5 consultations. All were treated for parasites and ticks and the fund purchased additional meds and food for all dogs who were operated on.
We also started the school photo project again for this year. Each student is photographed and provided with an 8x10 sheet that includes a 5x7 portrait, two 3x2’s and a row of 5 little ones to give friends. The students love them… the parents even more!
$100 was given to a family whose little 2 year old lost her eye by accident when out “macheteing” with her dad. They raised half the money, but needed help with the rest to prepare her socket for a false eye. A sad, tragic accident for someone so young.
Recent Projects (June/July 2011) – With the generous help of St. Vincent Martyr School in New Jersey, more school uniforms and school supplies were provided to the 3 local schools in our area – Las Parcelas, Las Brisas and Escamequita.
The Rancho Chilamate Community Fund also provided medical assistance for 3 families – two requiring medical procedures and one with need for medicine that they could not afford. There was also 1 death in our community during this time and we supplied cement and sand so that the families could prepare proper burial sites.
Recent Projects (May 2011) – As the dry season gives way to some rain we assisted a handful of families in desperate need of roof repairs. The locals have been working hard on their church lately and when they came to ask for assistance in buying cement for the floor, we bought and delivered the bags with the financial help of our two neighbors owning lots near Rancho Chilamate: Peter and Rahni from Victoria, B.C; and Greg and Deb from Oregon. The community is very excited about this project nearing completion. They go to church Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Recent Projects (March/April 2011) – Semana Santa (Holy Week) is very important to the people in our community. We worked with the 3 local churches out here to distribute new clothes and shoes from our clothing drive. There were also requests for monies for 2 burials (cancers) and our continued commitment to feeding the school children. Thank you for all your help! Clothing Drive Photos: CLICK HERE
Projects (January/February 2011) – It’s back to school time and the poor families have to come up with money for school supplies and uniforms. Rancho Chilamate and donations from our recent riders proudly provided uniforms (shirts, pants, socks, shoes and skirts) to three schools out here and some basic pen/paper supplies. Our fund also paid for 2 major dental operations. Dental care will be our next focus… introducing dental hygiene to the students.
Projects (December 2010) – Annual Christmas Buckets and Machete gifts for the poorer families in our community. Thanks to everyone for your generous donations. Here’s a few photos of the distribution: CLICK HERE
Projects (Oct/Nov 2010) – Tin for a home in need of repair, medicine for the Alvarez family, student photos for 3 schools in the area, paint for the cemetery clean-up for All Saints Day, and the end of school year event at Escamequita and Las Parcelas…..
Our hampers last year were in plastic tubs that included food basics such as rice, cooking oil, soap, toothbrushes, soup mix, flour, salt and when possible a gift for each child in the house. We purchased all items locally so that the money impacts the area on several levels. It was suggested that 5 gallon buckets with lids would be very useful to the families so we hope to find enough of them to use.
Our commitment again would be to volunteer our time and truck to purchase and distribute the ‘buckets’ to the families here over the holidays. We hope you can help us make a difference.
With much gratitude, Blue and Jamie and the families in Escamequita
This little boy David lives with his extended family (I think there’s 10 people) on our trail to the beach. Many families in our community live on less than $4/day. Sadly the unemployment rate continues to be high in this part of Nicaragua and most of the families live as subsistence farmers growing their own rice and beans. Although education is free, the families have to pay for school uniforms. An extended family typically lives in two of three small rooms with a dirt floor; some have electricity; most don’t – David doesn’t. Like most Latin American countries Christmas is one of the most important times of the year and this little corner is no exception.
FROM THE BEGINNING…….
The first decision was to buy land from someone of like-mind with a significant
level of commitment to Nicaragua . Nica Dev is Nicaragua’s first solar-powered
community, has over 140 acres of green space between the lots, a 450 acre
private reserve, a committed reforestation project (over 90,000 trees to date)
We were also very conscious of the environment during construction of the ranch, and with our ongoing operation.
In Our Hood…
- 100% of our employees are from the immediate local communities.
- Rancho Chilamate sponsors local sport teams to support efforts to keep locals involved in productive activities.
- We make financial contributions to numerous requests for assistance with medical costs.
- Support local efforts to clean up and beautify the area.
- Co-ordinate and co-fund the security personnel on Yankee Beach.
- The entire construction crew was hired from the two villages nearby.
- We used recycled roof tiles.
- All building materials were sourced in Nicaragua, including flooring, electrical and plumbing.
- Local wood and sand was delivered by oxcart whenever possible.
- Wood was purchased with permission from the local authorities to be harvested, cut and pulled out of the forest by oxen.
- All iron work was supplied by a local fabricator in our village.
- Doors and windows were supplied by a local carpenter.
- Electricity for Rancho Chilamate is provided by solar energy.
- We burn our own paper trash and participate in the plastics recycling program in San Juan del Sur.
- Clothes are dried on a line… direct solar power.
- Rainwater management includes the use of trenches to channel heavy amounts of rainfall thereby reducing soil erosion.
- Gardens and landscaping maintained without the use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides with the use of homemade natural solutions to combat certain insects (garlic, onion, chili pepper solution).
- Where possible, we buy products directly from the local community.
- Rancho Chilamate is developing its own organic vegetable garden with fruit trees expecting to bear fruit this coming year (well, we do currently have one producing lime tree!).
It is our goal that the longer we live here, the greater our involvement in, and commitment to, our community will be.