Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Scorched Earth

"La Tierra Arrasada" (The Scorched Earth).

The vision of this video is of a future Central America, deforested and suffering the effects of a degraded environment. (Sorry for the lack of subtitles!) The story is not so different than "The Lorax," really, but carried out with some beautiful, painted-hand puppetry. We showed this video at a conference last December on "Women and Climate Change," about which, more coming soon.

La visión de este video es de un futuro Centro America, desforestada y sufriendo los efectos de la degradación del medioambiente. El cuento no es tan diferente de "El Lorax" en realidad, pero llevó a cabo con unas hermosas marionetas de mano. Se mostró el video en una conferencia el diciembre pasado sobre "La Mujer y el Cambio Climático," de la que, más información viene pronto.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mission Moment

The Global Ministries weekly prayer comes once again to visit Nicaragua. The link is here -- previous mission moments here and here.

Pray for Nicaragua on Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lectionary Selection: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Prayers for Nicaragua:
Beloved Father, you give to us abundantly, when we manage your gifts responsibly, and when we spend them frivolously.  Profligate God, you bless us richly, when we fall at your feet in gratitude, and when we grumble and worry about receiving our fair share.  We thank you and praise you for who you are.  Give us hearts that are generous to our brothers and sisters, that we may rejoice whole-heartedly when the lost are found and the least are served.
We pray for Nicaragua:
  • for so many struggling to survive, whose struggle is made more difficult by global economic turmoil and rising prices for petroleum, for transport, rice and beans.
  • for children whose parents are too poor to send them to free public schools, because they can’t afford shoes or school supplies, or rely on them to work so the family can eat.
  • We pray for La Misión Cristiana (the Christian Mission Church of Nicaragua): as they work to help children get an education, to help families have enough to eat, to train pastors to care for and inspire their churches and communities, to build biogas stoves and plant trees, and to share a vision of a new Nicaragua.
  • for the church leadership, as they work to make these visions reality with very limited resources, that the leadership will be inspired by love of the work to which God has called them, and continue to move forward despite real challenges.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Mission Stewardship Moment from Nicaragua:
The village of San Pedro is found about an hour from the paved road in the driest, hottest part of Nicaragua. There is no electricity.  Any water for cooking and cleaning must be carried up from the spring in buckets, and to get cell signal you have to climb a mountain. Each day brings only a few vehicles trundling by on the road that passes in front of the church. San Pedro is off the grid. And it was here that several pastors and lay leaders of the Christian Mission Churches gathered last year to kick off a new project -- the building of biogas cooking stoves known as biodigesters.

Rural Nicaraguans typically cook their meals using firewood. This practice often leads to delicious arroz y frijoles or sopa de gallina, but can cause health problems for the women who are in charge of the kitchen. Cutting firewood also accelerates the severe deforestation in the region, which can cause soil erosion, flooding, changes in rainfall patterns and more. And as trees grow more and more scarce, the daily search for firewood can be expensive and time-consuming. For this reason, a good alternative to firewood was one of the primary needs of the community identified by the local pastors.

A biodigester is a technology that converts cow manure (an abundant resource in this cattle ranching area) into methane cooking gas. With the collaboration of several U.S. partner churches, the Christian Mission has now built 3 working biodigesters for families near San Pedro, with plans for 7 more this year. The family who received the first biodigester reports that it is working well and that one bucket of manure yields 3-4 hours of cooking gas a day. The pastors in the region are hopeful that the project can continue and expand to benefit more local families.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Biodigester Update

The biodigester project, which I blogged about previously here and here, has been chugging along nicely. We have been trying to take advantage of the dry season to install as many as possible. In November we met at the village of Tamarindo Malpaso to install our second biodigester at the casa pastoral (parsonage) of the 20th Christian Mission church. Malpaso is another small rural village just a few kilometers up the road from San Pedro. Once again, a core group of local pastors and church leaders showed up to help dig, mix cement, cut PVC pipe, etc. And once again, Davíd from EOS was our guide for the installation.

El proyecto de biodigestores, sobre lo que escribí anteriormente aquí y aquí, ha avanzado bastante. Hemos tratado de aprovechar el verano para instalar el mayor cantidad posible. En noviembre, nos reunimos en el pueblo de Tamarindo Malpaso para instalar el segundo biodigestor en la casa pastoral de la 20a Iglesia Misión Cristiana. Malpaso es otro pequeño pueblo rural, ubicada unos pocos kilometros más alla de San Pedro. Una vez más, un grupo de pastores y líderes de las iglesias locales llegó para ayudar a cavar el hoyo, mezclar el cemento, cortar la tubería, y más. Y una vez más, Davíd de EOS fue nuestro maestro para la instalación.
Here we are installing the black plastic covering for the hole. Aquí se instala el plástico negro para forrar el hoyo.

Pastor Boniche (the national president of the Christian Mission churches) and Victoriano (the pastor of local church #20) listen as Davíd explains the process. Pastor Boniche (el presidente naciónal de las Iglesias Misión Cristiana) y Victoriano (el pastor de la iglesia local #20) escuchen mientras Davíd explica el proceso.

Here are Davíd and Pastor Boniche installing the input tube. Davíd y Pastor Boniche instalan el tubo de entrada.

In December we installed biodigester #3. Hno. Misael is the pastor of the campo (new church start) in nearby La Leonera, but since the campo doesn't yet have a casa pastoral (and is quite difficult to get to without a horse) we installed the biodigester at his family house in San Pedro.

En diciembre se instaló #3. Hno. Misael es el pastor del campo en La Leonera, pero dado que el campo aun no tiene casa pastoral (y es difícil llegar sin caballo) se instaló el biodigestor en la casa familiar de Misael en San Pedro.

Sonia and Pastor Boniche, enjoying the shade and watching the progress on biodigester #3. Sonia y Pastor Boniche, disfrutando la sombra y viendo el progreso en #3.

Here's the completed biodigester, as seen out the window of the house. Aquí se encuentra el biodigestor  terminado, visto a través de la ventana de la casa.

Misael and his wife, showing off the new gas burning stove. Misael y su esposa, mostrando la nueva cocina de gas.

Both biodigesters #2 and #3 will need 50 buckets of manure and 50 buckets of water before they start working, so we're planning to do some follow-up next time we visit the area. While we were in San Pedro the last trip, Davíd was able to visit the site of our first installation to check up on it and give some maintenance advice on how to keep it in working order. I was also interested to see that the local churches had recently installed small solar panels, giving them a bit of daily electricity.

Ambos los biodigestores #2 y #3 necesitarán 50 baldes de estiércol y 50 baldes de agua antes de comenzar a funcionar. Por eso vamos a dar seguimiento durante la próxima visita a la zona. Mientras estábamos en San Pedro para la última visita, Davíd pudo visitar el lugar de la primer instalación para verla y dar unos consejos sobre el buen mantenimiento del biodigestor. También me interesaba ver que las iglesias locales habían instalado unos pequeños paneles solares, dando un poco de electricidad cada día.

We're ba-ack!

Apologies that the blog has gone silent. We spent the end of December and all of January in the U.S. visiting family and talking to churches (including some of you!) about Nicaragua. And I really don't know where February went to, but apparently we're in March already. Anyway, new blog posts will be  coming along shortly -- for now here's a picture of Quinn having fun at her school's Kermess (fair).

Las disculpas que el blog se ha quedado en silencio. Pasamos el fin de diciembre y todo enero en los EE.UU. visitando a la familia y hablando con iglesias (incluyendo algunos de ustedes!) sobre Nicaragua. Y realmente no sé donde fue el mes de febrero, pero parece que estamos en marzo ya. De todos modos, nuevos mensajes de blog va a venir pronto - por ahora aquí está una foto de Quinn se divierten en Kermess de su escuela.