POWER TO THE PEOPLE wrote -In October 2014, Power to the People will be leading a trip to Nicaragua with volunteers to install an off-grid photovoltaic system in Santa Lucia de Las Jaguas, a rural community in Ciudad Dario, Matagalpa. The photovoltaic system will be installed on a casa base (small health post) and a primary school.
The community is located about five kilometers away from the conventional electrical grid and consists of 50 houses. The school has three different buildings, one of which is located off site and is used as a community meeting house and a preschool. The casa base is the oldest structure and was built in 1992, and each of the two primary school buildings on campus were constructed in 2002 and 2006 respectively. There are a total of 53 students (42 in primary school and 9 in preschool).
Most residents have to walk five kilometers to charge their cell phones. Every household has approximately two kerosene lamps that are used for light and the typical household spends C$40 per liter of kerosene, which lasts for only a week or two.
There is a small solar system installed on the casa base, but it is no longer working. Power to the People volunteers will repair this system, which local NGOs use to give trainings and workshops to the community. The casa base is also used for occasional visits from a doctor from outside of the community.
The community is very well organized and committed to the upkeep of their school. Community members say that having solar panels at both the casa base and the school will help them offer evening classes for adults and hold more events in the evening since most people work during the day. The electricity provided at the casa base could also enhance the health education and health programs already being delivered by local NGOS.
Tourism and Cultural Activities
During last weekend in October, the town of Masaya celebrates the festival of Los Ahuizotes, a Nicaraguan masquerade using is a blend of indigenous and European influences. Ahuizote comes from nautical meaning, “ghosts near water,” and is a celebration of legends and ghost stories that have been passed down by oral tradition. During the trip we will head north to the cooler climate of Matagalpa and hike or take a horseback ride through the cloud forest of Selva Negra, a sustainable organic coffee farm. Volunteers will take a tour to see ancient rock petroglyphs and statues of Chaguitillo and learn about the country’s Pre-Columbian past.