Abrazos from Nicaragua May 2022
The weeks of May 14th to 28th we joined our Nicaragua team in the next phases of our ventilation and solar projects and were also able to start a new school expansion project. The trip was super successful! Here is what happened the first week:
After getting lucky in customs, with only one COVID 19 home test confiscated, we met at the BMDMI mission house in Matagalpa. The team included our leader Dr. Jim Huffman, our health director Dr. Allison Huffman, and our main technicians Pastor Domingo Valverde, Harvey Molina, and Wilbert Aragon. We were also joined for the health team by Professor William Barquero from Polisol UNAN Managua and in the field by our technicians Alexandro Gomez and Alexi Valverde. On Sunday we were finally all packed up and ready to go!
One goal of the trip was to follow up on our TCU (Texas Christian University) ventilation project, repairing and replacing the old systems while installing new ones. The new design is working very well and consists of a large ventilation hood that uses a chimney type flue to take the smoke out of the homes. For our solar project, we were able to do some follow up, but completed just one new installation due to problems with our shipped parts in customs. The technician team did a great job working at all of the houses to complete the project. You can see Jim’s excitement about the smoke coming out of the chimney in the one picture. Before that it was going straight into the house!
The team completed two different types of surveys at the houses, one for the health research and the other to follow up the use of the solar and ventilation units. The families were very patient with our assessment of vital signs and our many questions.
One of the best parts of working in this region is getting to know the people. They are kind, strong, smart, and generous. The families welcomed us into their homes, which are on beautifully landscaped mountain tops. They reported that they are using the lights and phone chargers from the solar systems and that the ventilation systems are doing a good job at removing the smoke from the homes.
One new edition for this trip was the school expansion project in the Rancho Grande region. Two schools were chosen and were given laptop computers, projectors, an audio system, and an inverter to help with teaching and extra-curricular activities at the schools. We are going to study the use of these items to see if they are beneficial for the schools. The teachers were so excited and eager to learn about their new equipment, and the students were captivated by the videos and presentations.
We want to thank our team, our partners TCU, BMDMI, and Polisol UNAN, and also the family of Pastor Domingo Valverde for their friendship and generous hospitality during the trip. Sandra, Damaris, and Margarita prepared our excellent meals (qué rico!) and the children Crelyn, Diana, and Lucas helped keep it playful all week long. We hope to be back again soon!
Allison and Jim