Hultner Estrada & Bethany Beachum
In the neighborhoods of the most populated cities in Nicaragua, garbage trucks generally pass two times a week. But in the squatter settlements and communities on the outskirts of the cities, the trucks enter to collect trash about every 15-20 days. Imagine the accumulation of waste in the yards, streets, and green spaces of these communities and the amount of flies, mosquitoes, and other pests this attracts.
The neighborhood of “New Horizons” in the city of León is one community that has been suffering from this problem. Fortunately, positive things have been happening in New Horizons. “The leaders of this community are taking initiative for the common good of the community,” shares Roberto Armas, coordinator of the Urban Transformation program (ETU in Spanish) at the Nehemiah Center.
“The Christian leaders that are part of the ETU-New Horizons team, with the support of the political leadership of the neighborhood, have organized various “cleaning days” in the community,” explains Roberto. “They visited homes, invited others to join in and help collect trash in the yards and streets. They also requested the Town Hall of León to send trucks to collect the garbage that was gathered by the neighbors. It was a total clean-up of the entire neighborhood,” he states.
“It makes me very happy that these brothers in Christ haven’t waited for someone from the outside to tell them what to do. Rather, they have empowered themselves with the vision of community transformation and are taking action with their own resources to respond to the most urgent needs,” says Roberto.
There are currently five ETU teams in the cities of León and Chinandega. The teams are made up of local church leaders that have received training
in Biblical Worldview, Holistic Development, and Community Health. These Christians leaders are convening with other leaders and neighbors to plan and implement small projects which will nourish change and development in their neighborhoods. Beyond just “cleaning days,” the teams are holding roundtables on Domestic Violence, handicraft workshops, fairs that promote alternative foods, and are currently working toward opening a computer literacy school for youth.
We give thanks
to God for the ETU teams who together are building new horizons for their communities.