For many Nicaraguans, the effects of the past year's political violence, upheaval, and uncertainty were traumatic.
Loss of life and injuries, business closings and jobs drying up, migration, breakdown in relationships of all kinds, and for everyone, an unclear future, not just for themselves and their families, but for their country as a whole.
In spite of this dire context, World Renew and its local partners continue to move ahead there and the community of Boaco Viejo is a great example.
Farmer field-schools continue to promote alternative practices to increase food production. Savings groups are pooling their capital to make small loans to their fellow members who hope to improve their livelihoods.
The community cleaned and deepened their community water well.
Health promoters are being trained to work with mothers to address culturally-sensitive practices that may jeopardize children's thriving.
Karla is a young mother who had been told she should start feeding a baby solid food by three months old.
“My mom says that, in her time, folks didn't know about giving babies special foods,” says Karla, "and even less that you should wait until they're six months old to give them solids, so they even gave newborn bottles with sugared water, juice or coffee."
But Karla attended a mother's group supported by World Renew and says, "I learned that it's better to wait longer because babies' stomachs aren't ready for anything other than breastmilk."
"So when my mom and mother-in-law pressured me to give my daughter tea or pudding, I resisted. I breastfed my baby exclusively till she turned six months."
The facilitator of the mothers' group was so impressed that she invited Karla to share her experience and give advice to others in the group.
"Best of all," says Karla. "my daughter still nurses, and is growing strong and healthy, and I hope my neighbors' babies will be too."
These successes are joined this year by World Renew’s new focus on the restorative practices of trauma healing, conflict resolution and domestic violence prevention.
A core group of volunteer trainers are being equipped to facilitate sessions on these themes in their communities. God is faithful and will get us through this (Dios es Fiel y Siempre Nos Sostiene).
On to a more personal note: After living abroad for many years, World Renew’s Mark VanderWees and his family have made the difficult decision to move from Nicaragua to Canada. In July, they plan to settle in southern Ontario.