From Nicaragua, when good intentions go wrong
07/01/2014 - 07/01/2014
Latrines, the only viable option for the rural community near La Mariposa, on the right. Donated toilets that require water are unused on the left.
The staff of La Mariposa, aside from having fabulous teachers also have an array of people behind the scenes that help support the surrounding communities in more subtle ways. For example, like when a non-governmental organization (that will remain nameless) bought materials and built bathrooms for the nearby Panama community. Panama, sitting under Volcano Masaya, is one of the poorest communities in Nicaragua. There are most likely many reason for this but that side of the volcano is enveloped by noxious fumes (that eat through most building materials) and other than pineapples, not much else can be grown there. Also, here's the kicker for any conversation about development, there is no running water.
All of this makes Panama a great place to provide much needed assistance. So, while building toilets in a desperately poor, rural Central American community sounds like a lovely idea worthy of a group's annual report, building them where there is no water supply and monster eating fumes, turns out simply to be a waste. Staff from La Mariposa remedied the problem by building latrines. Water is so rare, a fellow student Joshua who has volunteered at the school for the past three summers, told us during lunch one day that kids ran out of class during a rainstorm to shower.
Fellow student (and proud Texan) Markey gives the durable concrete slide a try outside a school in Panama. The fumes for the volcano would eat through a metal slide.