Casas Sin Insectos (Houses without Insects)

Houses without insects?  In Nicaragua?  That's setting the bar pretty high, after all, where we came from in Florida that was next to impossible.  But here there's really a lot of room for improvement.

Uncomfortable around bugs?  In Nicaragua, you get used to them landing in your hair, buzzing around your head - not to mention the occasional scorpion or tarantula walking across your bedroom floor.  But then again, those aren't insects!  The truth is that this is really an important health issue.  Not only is there dengue fever in Nicaragua, and currently another mosquito-borne virus called Chikungunya that has killed 500 people in 2014 (through October), but there are many, many pigs raised around Malpaisillo.  Almost every other house has a couple of pigs living in the back and often wandering in the streets and even into the house!  Flies can carry disease from where the pigs live into the house and onto food and surfaces that come into contact with the human occupants.

In November 2014, six people came down from Jacksonville, Florida so we could collectively begin building and installing screen windows & doors and otherwise blocking many ways into homes using screen, spray foam, caulk, and roofing zinc.  That work now continues with Enmanuel and Christian.  Reports are that people are experiencing a significant decrease in the number of bugs in their houses, and interest in getting screened-in is growing.

One great thing about this work is that it's away from the farm.  Yes, we store tools and materials at the farm, and also do prep work such as cutting and painting wood, but the amount of work is not limited by available space on the farm.  Our hope is that in time some recipients will pay to help offset the costs involved.  Others won't be able to pay at all, and that's where donations help.  We're prioritizing homes with small children where the families have very limited resources.

About the workers...  Enmanuel Mendoza is 22 years old, with a wife and 1-yr-old son, Angelito.  Enmanuel has Meuniere's Disease, a problem with one of his ears that can cause chronic vertigo, which has interfered with work in the past.  In this phase of our work we can be very flexible as to when we work.

The other worker is Enmanuel's younger brother, Christian, who is in his first year of college in nearby León (all of his classes are on Saturdays, as is the case for most college students here).  Their father died about 7 years ago, when Christian was 11.  Enmanuel and his wife Mahogany plus Angelito, as well as Christian and a sister (Mariana) live in the same house, just a few feet from another sister, Cristina, and her husband and son.  Their mother, Lorena, works in Managua where she works almost all of the time.  We love this family and are glad that they can benefit from this Sheep Not Goats project, and if it is successful and turns into a Mendoza Brothers family business, all the better.