#WaterAidNica Video Diary: Day 1 in Bilwi, Nicaragua

Note: I shot this video last night (Monday) and had problems uploading it over my hotel’s wifi. Luckily I was able to utilize WaterAid’s quicker connection to finally get this video uploaded at the end of my Tuesday. Here’s hoping it makes sense. I was super tired when I initially set up this post and shot the video!

I’m tired as heck as I write these words in my hotel room in Bilwi, Nicaragua. I’m traveling on an insight trip with WaterAid America to see their work on the ground and meet the people of the communities in which they work.

The trip here was quite the adventure, which I will write about later. In fact, we’ve had some interesting transportation experiences so far, and I’m only on my first full day in Nicaragua!

I decided to shoot a quick video after my long day. I was in the hot sun for most of the day and up since about 4:00am, so forgive my appearance and babbling. I thought it would be fun to check in this way, and I hope to do more video while I’m here.

Watch the video and enjoy!

Here are some ways you can follow the trip:

Read more about WaterAid’s program in Nicaragua

Philanthropy Friday: Two Easy Ways to Celebrate World Water Day Next Week

Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.

Growing up in a house with a well meant that any time the electricity went out, we lost access to our water. The pump didn’t work, so our water was reduced to a trickle. I remember my parents filling up the bathtub when a storm threatened to cut our power off. My sister and I were reminded not to flush the toilet when we lost electricity. And, of course, bathing was out of the question.

Once the power was restored, those first bursts of water from the faucet were often a brown color. While it wasn’t the best tasting drinking water, it was safe.

Luckily, we didn’t lose power too much. There was only one time, during a hurricane, that we lost power for an extended period of time and traveled to a family member’s house to shower and freshen up.

My water story is a whole lot easier to handle than many others in the world, including those in Nicaragua with whom I will be spending time with next week.

Owly ImagesI can’t fathom spending my days traveling just to obtain clean, safe water for my family. Yet 768 million people in the world today do not have access to safe drinking water. That’s about 1 in 10 of the world’s population. And 1 in 3 people in the world don’t have access to a safe and private toilet. (Can you imagine having to go to the bathroom in an open area outside?)

Last week, I told you how to get involved with International Women’s Day. I was happy to see many of my readers interested and engaged.

This week, I wanted to let you know of two very easy ways to celebrate World Water Day. World Water Day is on Saturday, March 22. It is a day for all of us to acknowledge and raise awareness of the world water crisis.

1. Share Your #WaterStory

We all have a water story, whether it’s having to deal with less than stellar facilities while camping or forgetting our water bottle when working out. They are the moments that remind us of how important access to water and a toilet can be.

WaterAid wants to hear your #waterstory. Be sure to blog it, tweet it, Facebook-it, and tell @WaterAidAmerica about it so that we can celebrate the importance of water every day.

WaterAodNicaSGMchatsm2. Join Me in the #WaterAidNica Twitter Chat

Mom Bloggers for Social Good, whom I’ll be representing while in Nicaragua with WaterAid, is hosting a Twitter chat on Friday, March 21 from 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST. You can follow along using the hashtag #WaterAidNica.

I’ll be in Bilwi, along with WaterAid America, answering questions about my journey in Nicaragua. You can ask any questions you’d like. You can even tweet them to @socialgoodmoms using #WaterAidNica to get your questions in ahead of time. I hope to see you there!

Will you join me in celebrating World Water Day?

this post was also published on pplkind.com

I wrote this post as part of the Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of Mom Bloggers for Social Good members who focus on maternal health, children, hunger, and women and girls. It is part of a 24-hour blog carnival. You can read more newborn health posts on the Global Team of 200 site.

Where I’ll be in Nicaragua for My #WaterAidNica Trip

As I prepare for my insight trip with WaterAid America to Nicaragua representing Mom Bloggers for Social Good next week, I thought I would share some more information about where exactly I will be going in this Central American country. While I will be flying into the capital city of Managua on Sunday on the western side of the country, our home base for the duration of the trip will be in Bilwi, also known as Puerto Cabezas, on the Caribbean side.

nicaraguamap

Nicaragua is a small country, with a population of approximately 5.8 million people and a land area smaller than the state of New York, though it is the biggest of Central America’s five countries. It is situated north of Costa Rica and south of Honduras. As a whole, Nicaragua is considered one of the poorest countries in the Latin America Caribbean Region. It has a pretty turbulent history marked with political violence and several natural disasters over the years. At the same time, it is a beautiful country filled with tropical beaches, volcanoes, lush forest and thick jungle bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the wet and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

I will be traveling with freelance journalist Caitlin Kelly, photographer Rodrigo Cruz, and WaterAid America’s media and communications officer, Alanna Imbach. For most of the week, our travels will take us outside of Bilwi, over terrible roads and into the indigenous communities of the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN). While the official language of Nicaragua is Spanish, the predominant language spoken where WaterAid works in RAAN is Miskitu. There are several other indigenous languages spoken in Nicaragua as well. I am excited to have the opportunity to stay in one of these rural communities for one night in order to experience a full day and evening in this remote area. We will have translators to help us communicate.

From the sound of it, Nicaragua is fairly ethnically diverse. There are about 150,000 Miskitu people in the country. These are the people we will be meeting. What is staggering is that is 80% of this isolated northern Caribbean area has no access to clean water or toilets. Alanna recently wrote a post for the Girls’ Globe blog that talks about the women she can’t wait to meetAlanna explained how WaterAid’s work in Nicaragua helps empower women. From the post:

Take, for example, a group of women in Auhya Pihni. Not only did they learn how to install and maintain simple water pumps, drill borehole wells and install eco-toilets through WaterAid’s skills training program, but they’ve turned their newly honed skills right around, using them to train and subcontract their spouses and siblings to help them carry out maintenance and installation work, too. In the blink of an eye, they have become mentors for their daughters and leaders in their communities, taking up roles that have traditionally been reserved only for men. It’s a business model my mother would love.

As I mentioned in my announcement post, we will be concentrating on community empowerment (especially women), job skills training for at risk youth, and some of the realities of living in this area of Nicaragua. I’ve had the opportunity to read some of WaterAid’s reports on some of the projects they’ve completed in Nicaragua. I am looking forward to seeing the difference between the communities WaterAid has worked with for some time and those they are just starting to work with.

It’s now starting to sink in that I will be leaving for this amazing trip in less than one week. And it feels a bit weird to pack warm weather clothes as I also brace myself for yet another snow storm here in Maine.

On Friday, I will write about how you can be involved with our World Water Day celebration on March 21st.

Here are some ways you can follow the trip:

Read more about WaterAid’s program in Nicaragua

Have you been to Central America? What was your experience like?

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