Merit Award 2012
The day had finally arrived, Wednesday 30th January, the opening of the Loma Fresca Laundry Facility. The team made a final excursion bright and early to the builder’s merchants before the last day of work started. We were met there by Mario in his beaten up truck this had been the team’s transport for the last two weeks.
Greeted by hoards of kids, most were asking when the party was going to be.
We of course, still had work to do! The jobs remaining were mainly snagging type jobs, a bit more guttering here, a bit of rendering there, getting some water in the tank, building a gate, oh and did we mention LOADS OF PLUMBING!
Pushing to the finish, the buzz of anticipation was growing. The last three beasts of wash stands needed to be carried and plumbed in and with the help of some local ladies, a stone path was made.
While the men were beavering away on site, some ladies from the team were preparing for the fiesta later by making bunting, blowing up balloons and organising food and drinks.
During the afternoon, the wash stands were cemented into place, the final plumbing jobs were completed and the big clear up began! The ladies bought up and erected the bunting & balloons and at dead on four o’clock they were ready for the party to start!
The kids especially were so excited! We were told that the Mayor of Bluefields would be here in five minutes. WOW! A city of some 70,000 people & our little laundry project had really captured attention.
As the entourage started to arrive a huge gazebo was erected, a public address system was set up and an area was cleared for chairs to be put. This all added to the excitement of the locals.
We had promised the kids a pinata, a very traditional party treat in Latin America. A paper mache shape or animal is covered in bright tissue paper and filled with sweets, hung from a beam and swung around while a blindfolded child tries to beat the living daylights out of it with a stick. We ended up having four brought, oh no!
As everyone waited for the Mayor, video cameras rolled, radio interviews were conducted and eventually, forty five minutes later the Mayor arrived. There were several speeches made and the Mayor thanked the whole team for their amazing effort and encouraged the community to really look after the facility.
I was presented with a certificate of thanks from the Alcaldia (Council) and asked to do a speech. In my best “Spanglish”, I thanked everyone for their hard work and promised on behalf of the Peace and Hope Trust to continue to try and help the poor of Bluefields and Nicaragua. Never before have I experienced anything like this at the end of the many projects I have been involved in.
The Mayor formally cut the ribbon and declared the facility open.
We were almost killed in the rush! She turned on the tap and water came out! Now the party could start!
The four pinatas, fruit buns, sandwiches, drinks and crisps were dished out by the team. The team received a message from Mario, the transporter, to say could he take the ladies back now because he hadn’t got any lights on his vehicle. This is Nicaragua! The men followed on later but had to pile into taxis.
The team were then informed that the Mayor had invited them to the Palacio (Civic offices) for a reception and lunch before the team were due to fly back.
This BPEC supported project has been successfully delivered to the community and we will feed back further on our return!
See a full collection of images from the Loma Fresca project here