Sustainability Support

Nicaragua 2012

Poverty on top of war cannot support peace. SMMF witnessed a small group of, women bloom into a self- sufficient organization of growers, builders and teachers in Totogalpa, a tiny rural village in the war torn landscape of Northern Nicaragua. Without plumbing, power or reliable transportation this small group of determined women led by Susan Kinne, a dedicated university professor with vast creative knowledge, passion and energy led them to a healthier, profitable life right in their mountain home.These women were still cooking over open fires. Their health deteriorating from the smoke, while they faced stray land mines left in the forests from the Contra war.

They built solar cookers, grew organic food using a solar pumping system and taught others from over Nicaragua and beyond how to grow and prepare healthy food. The project recognized by the United Nations, used its prize money to build a community restaurant. It has become the center of the thriving community where men victims of the mines make solar panels from large factory discards, sell and install them.

Creativity continues and these determined Nicaraguans are now replanting the forest on the hillsides destroyed by clear cutting or burned during the war and more recently damaged by Hurricane Mitch. Even their drip irrigation system is powered by the sun! People come as visitors to work among the Totagalpa villagers and learn the essence of true sustainability.

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