Our recent trip to Nicaragua in the quaint beach town of Gigante has us missing new friends. There are several amazing Americans setting up camp down there and giving back to the community in a harmonizing way. In a town of 450 people with very primitive living foundations, you can imagine how tourism can potentially evolve their everyday lives—some for the better, as there is increasingly more income for most people involved in the fishing/restaurant/hotel/surf scene. But, there is also the potential for devastating turmoil that comes with the rapid changes to their community. The surf is quickly drawing more and more crowds, almost similar to the Costa Rica ‘boom’ that hit in recent years. Two projects I wanted to share with family and friends are the Sweet Water Fund and Project Woo.
First is the Sweet Water Fund. Kassidy, owner of the Surf Lodge where we stayed for our surf trip, has a huge heart and is determined to give back to the place she now calls home, Playa Gigante. The Sweet Water Fund is the non-profit organization she started as a method of encouraging a better way of life for the locals in Gigante. (see their vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/43080225 & be friends on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-Water-Fund-Inc/243921878990594). Some of her projects include: health & wellness training (already proving to be successful with circuit training and yoga taught by India of ‘Papaya Grove’), a women’s co-op boutique where profits benefit the community (Kassidy & her team are training local women in trades such as baking and artisan crafts where they can sell their fresh baked items and hand-made jewelry/crafts to sell along with donated items), and support for local schools and softball teams. All this, and she manages the lodge.
in the shop.
Above is Papaya Grove yoga/circuit training deck, (look through the trees) built by India.
India, doing her ‘thang’ on her yoga deck with locals.
Then we have Bo Fox, another friend we met in the last 2 trips to Nica, whom is running Project Woo down in Gigante.
The Project Woo boys kicking it on the cliff…having a meeting!
One of the amazing things they have been able to provide for the community is a school bus for kids to be able to attend school more easily. Since the introduction of the bus, they have increased the attendance rate by 80%. Other projects they are currently working on: performing town censuses, providing better accommodations for regularly scheduled doctor’s visits into the community of Gigante, health education, recycling/waste education, earned ‘points’ system for local kids to benefit from their surfboard donation room. (My good friends over at FCS/Surf Hardware hooked us up this year! Many thanks to their support for WOO.)
The entrance to the Project Woo camp.
**May their good spirits shine over the town of Gigante and the tourists whom pass by!Posted on 12 June 2012
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