109 Social Mission Retreat – Day 2

6:00 am. I awaken on day 2 to a knock at my door. My new friend Kelci has come by to borrow some clothing for the 7 am yoga session. Her airline lost her bag and she will not be able to reclaim it until tomorrow. She is handling it with such grace and patience, well beyond her 23 years. I am happy to loan her some clean clothes and chat about our busy day ahead.

We start our day with some fresh local fruit, sustainably roasted coffee, lots of fresh water and of course yoga. Today I am blessed to practice along side 50 other compassionate individuals in the middle of the jungle. We start today by circling up, selecting an angel card (to guide our intention for the week), and personal introductions. The energy is beautiful. Each story like each person is unique and authentic. The class, led by the one and only yoga_girl is powerful and restorative. As “These Waters” by Ben Howard plays in the background, I surrender to my practice. There is nothing like savasana in the jungle. It is perfection.

Photo by Soda/Lime

Our day continues with a vegetarian breakfast and a welcome meeting where we are introduced to Aqua Wellness co-owner Chris. He has been instrumental in spearheading the efforts to bring fresh water to the communities in the surrounding area; his passion and commitment to the project is contagious. He sincerely cares about the local people and their right to have access to the “luxuries” we all take for granted. Partnered with 109 World, we are here to work on digging trenches to lay piping that will bring fresh water to a community of 1,000+ locals who have never had running water. Yes, let me repeat that. Since the surrounding community was founded 2 generations ago they have never had access to running water. No flushable toilets. No conventional showers. No faucets for their sinks. 2 generations. Roughly 40 years.

Let me throw some other astonishing facts your way:

  1. Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the is the largest country in Central America.
  2. 5 years ago the country of Nicaragua received 2x the amount of rain that they have had in the last 4 seasons combined. Global warming is hitting this country hard. And for any of you who believe there is no such thing, please come visit this “rain forest” and see for yourself. Chris invites you.
  3. Again, the local town of Gigante has had no access to plumbing for last 30 years. They have been dependent on artisanal wells and more recently, hand pumping stations located in the bigger towns built by missionaries and non-profits. Some families have to trek 30 minutes there and back with heavy jugs so they have water to drink, bathe their children, and wash their clothes. In more difficult times they have to make the decisions on how to prioritize their needs. Wash their clothes or wash their children?

The locals collect the water in jugs and carry them to their homes to do basic things like wash dishes and take showers. Their bathrooms are outdoor shantis with holes in the ground.
Over the last year due to a severe drought the wells on many of the properties have gone dry.
The pumps have been successful because they go deep into water table (over 1 km in depth) to bypass brackish water and give access to fresh drinking water.

109’s water project will provide a community of 1,000 people and over 150 homes with clean and more importantly running water. As part of the retreat, attendees were asked to transport  water meters into Nicaragua. These will be installed in each home and businesses, holding residents accountable for the water they use, to increase the long term sustainability of the project.
We arrived to site the first day and were inspired by the commitment of the locals. About 100 residents, including the Mayor, joined in digging the trenches, laying the pipes, and shoveling dirt. It was a community of individuals from all over the world, that ranged in age from 5 to 60 collaborating. All focused on supporting each other to work on a project that will be life changing. We all understood that we were making an impact and in these hours we truly were all connected, we were all equal, we are all one. #allthefeels
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As I end my day exhausted but with a full heart, I sit in my room listening to the waves pounding the shore and some Ben Howard playing on the Buddhibox Spotify station. As always, the Universe has impeccable timing sending its messages. In the background I hear, “What we found, down these roads that wander as lost as the heart. Is a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start.” – These Waters


With Kindness,

Read Day 3 here.

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