Anyone who lives in Gigante knows that the years go faster here than anywhere, for everyday is filled with so much activity from actual hard manual labor to troubleshooting your electrical / internet / water outages. Fortunately, amongst our crazy busy schedules, we were able to pull off some amazing projects and set the tone for how we’d like to continue in the future.
HERE’S A RE-CAP OF THE YEAR IN SWEET WATER PROJECTS:
The bridge project
Sweet Water’s amazing volunteers worked day and night for two and a half weeks to build a suspension bridge over the north river of Gigante so that the school kids could get to school dry and safe. The project was funded by a thirteen year old Ella Harris, who asked for Sweet Water donations instead of birthday presents at her Bat Mitzvah.
The women’s health and nutrition course
Our loved supporter and good friend, Betsy Markle and long time Sweet Water instructor India Reinartz spent a month with the women of Gigante doing tri-weekly classes on fitness and nutrition. We were able to continue the course for an additional month with volunteers Rebekah Hulseman, Demelza Clay and Lisa Cowan with the awesome additions of dance classes and swimming lessons. Eighty percent of our attending women noticeably lost weight and changed theirs and their family’s eating habits. Most of the women still attend the fitness classes held in Gigante today.
The shoe fundraiser for the softball team
Amanda Rubano, a high school student, took her Nicaraguan vacation differently and set out to collect as many pairs of good shoes as possible from her small town in Connecticut. Collecting over 500 pairs of shoes, she hauled them down in duffle bags with her friends and helped organize a shoe fair for the townspeople where we sold the shoes at extremely affordable rates to raise money for the Gigante Women’s Softball team. We raised enough money in that afternoon to fund the team (transport, umpires and scorekeepers) for the entire year!
The primary school backpack program for attendance and conduct
Joe and Amanda Taylor of San Diego, California spearheaded a school supply program through their local surf club and were able to bring down six duffle bags full of school supplies as well as brand new backpacks. Sweet Water approached the teachers of the Gigante primary school to keep track of the students with the best attendance and conduct for the semester and rewarded the top three in each class with a brand new backpack as well as gifting the teachers with top of the line Volcom backpacks!
The Gigante primary school music program
For the first time in the Gigante Primary school’s history, they borrowed instruments and created a band. Sweet Water funded the instructors, who came from the local high school, so that the primary kids could enter in the band contest and represent Gigante in their Independence day parade.
Donated thousands of school supplies to the primary school and high school
Over the entire year, Sweet Water encouraged clients of Dale Dagger Surf Tours and all travelers to bring down school supplies for the primary school in Gigante and the high School in Tola. Last year, the teachers complained of not having notebooks for themselves, tape or construction paper for projects, athletic balls for P.E. class, maps and displays, and colors and crayons. This year, Sweet Water proudly donated thousands of school supplies to fully outfit the primary and high school.
Proudly financially supported two high school graduates
Karla Gazo was forced to drop out of school at age fifteen at her father’s command because the family needed her help and school wasn’t an option. As an adult, Karla went back to school, and with the support of Sweet Water, was finally able to proudly graduate with her Father by her side. Jenny Castillo, a bright teenager, wanted to study so badly, but didn’t have the funds to pay for the bus fare to school. Her school is about a twenty minute drive away from her house, and her mother is a single mother of five kids. Sweet Water supplied all of Jenny’s school supplies and paid her bus fare for the last two years and proudly attended her graduation ceremony.
The Eco-brick project
The teachers had approached us about helping them build a kitchen at the Gigante Primary school so they can receive the free provisions provided by an organization out of Managua. The kitchen would allow easier preparation and no transport for the moms who volunteer to cook lunches for the school kids. Inspired by the Earthships of today and other recycle programs, we launched our Eco-brick project to motivate the kids to recycle AND clean up the town at the same time. The idea is to build the kitchen out of plastic bottles filled with garbage in place of bricks. Sweet Water launched a contest for the kids to see who could collect the most Eco-bricks with a BMX bicycle for the winner. The kids had three weeks to collect the bottles and collecting over 500 bottles with the winner, Anabel, collecting 88 bottles filled full with trash. We are so excited to begin construction in the new year!
AND FOR 2013…
*We are excited for 2013 and we’ve got projects well underway including:
– Building a kitchen at the primary school out of Eco bricks (recycled plastic bottles filled with garbage)
– Fixing up the baseball field with dugouts, fences and benches
– The creation of our fundraising taco stand in which all profits will benefit the foundation and provide a meeting place for our classes
– A breast cancer awareness week, softball clinic and Softball tournament
– To continue our Fitness and Nutrition program and make a solid schedule
– The Sweet Water bead project (making jewelry from Magazines!)
We are raising money now for the improvements of the Gigante Baseball field and all we need is $990.00 to build dugouts, a protective chain link fence, and spectator benches! On January 9th, we plan to start construction and hope to finish by the start of our Breast Cancer awareness week and Softball tournament! If you’d like to donate, please go to: http://sweetwaterworld.org/?page_id=20
Or send a check to:
The Sweet Water Fund
1228 Aspen Ln.
Powell, WY 82435
A great BIG THANK YOU to our biggest supporters & Volunteers!
Lynn & Betty Mangum
Jason and Ella Harris
Chris Cox and The Powell Rotary Club
Mark Kirwin of Kirfaid.org
Betsy Markle of Sunshine Wellness Institute
Christ Episcopal Church of Cody, Wyoming
Joe and Amanda Taylor
Douglas and Tonia Jenkins
Kris Knox & Play for a cure Oregon
Thanks for your continued Support and stay tuned for our projects in the new year!!
Become a Sweet Water Ambassador like these awesome folks!
Thank YOU to our awesome Donors for the BALL FIELD!
Yosi Ohayon - New York, NY
Pauline Mefford - Phoenix, AZ
Richard Cowen - Martha's Vineyard, MA
Mike Kramer - New York, NY
Denise Dozah - Casper, WY
Lynne Maher - Aqua, Nicaragua
Bootsie Boddington - Crested Butte, CO
Lindsey Sherman - Iguana, Nicaragua
Mark & Angela Kirwin of Kirfaid.org
Jim Norton - Chesapeake, VA
Sweet·wa·ter [sweet-waw-ter,] –nounIn Latin American coastal towns, known as agua dulce, Sweet water is a local term for fresh water. Fresh water tastes "sweet" compared to salt water. It's rivers are usually the life blood of Latin communities, in which most are built off its fertile banks. Sweet water is the basis for vegetation, growth and life. The Sweet water effect is a representation of movement toward satisfying a hunger of knowledge and good health, an inspirational, positive growth in community, and an improved life for everyone.
Board of Directors
KASSIDY MEFFORD - Photographer, writer, Owner/Operator of Dale Dagger Surf tours Nicaragua, and Sweetwater Founder
PEGGY LOVE - Founder of Full Circle International Relocations Inc., President/ Education Services of Dwellwork, LLC and incredible motivating contributor
DEBRA MEFFORD - Dental Hygienist, Emergency medical technician, beautiful philanthropist and land owner in Nicaragua
DONA KOPOL BONICK - Photographer, gardener, fabulous creator and doer of all things possible
JOHN BONICK - Photographer, painter, and poet with a grand appreciation for fine Nicaraguan cigars
RYAN MAHER - Accomplished freelance painter, eccentric artist, inspirational teacher and storyteller
LYNNE MAHER - Registered Nurse and volunteer with MINSA, devoted scuba diver, traveler and Nicaragua resident with infectious good spirit