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HOLA: Nicaragua Outreach

2011 July 5

By Kasia Broussalian

It was Day One. Jammed into the front seat, bumping along a broken Nicaraguan highway at breakneck speeds, I miserably watched my duffle bag, with two weeks’ worth of clothes and camping gear, fall off the truck, and plummet down the mountain, never to be seen again.

I think life is at its best when throwing curveballs—forcing each of us into an intricate dance in an attempt to avoid the pitfalls and unknowns. Those experiences, however, contribute to our life stories.

During my senior year at the University of Colorado, I became involved in an on-campus organization, the Health Outreach for Latin America (HOLA) Foundation. Every year, participating students collected thousands of dollars’ worth of supplies, and carried them, along with their blossoming medical skills down to the struggling villages on the North Pacific coast of Nicaragua.

I found myself, a journalism student, in Nicaragua, thrown into a mix of future candidates for Doctors Without Borders. I was there because of my skill with a camera, my knack for embracing everything outside my comfort zone, and my recent obsession with water issues. HOLA had started a program that caught my attention for its innovative way of using scarce funds and passionate volunteers to make a real difference around the small town of Chacraseca. HOLA focused on one glaring issue in a isolated villages: the lack of available clean water. The goal was to spend two weeks building a system of pipes to transport clean water into the villages, as well as offering each village some classes on the importance of clean water.
After 11 years of hard work from volunteers, and aid from JustHope Partners and other Solidarity Groups, every sector surrounding Chacraseca has clean drinking water. Over 1500 families now have a small pipe near their homes that supplies clean water for a few hours a day. My work with the HOLA foundation still remains a life altering experience for me.

As for my lack of clothes and gear, I can’t say I looked nor smell my best, for those two weeks. All in all, though, I really think it enhanced the adventure. I’m a little bit rough and rugged, if you ask me.

About the author: Kasia Broussalian is a Public Affairs intern for EPA Region 2. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at New York University, and has been with the agency since 2010.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    July 5, 2011

    Dictator and Environmentalism.-

    I’m trauma if I heard that call a dictator. Since I was born many dictator government in the world out from the world stage because the people power. However, we need Environmental Dictator for save this planet, the strong man who believe this planet should be destruct if the people doesn’t care it. Who’s that?

  2. Sharon permalink
    July 5, 2011

    I commend you Kasia, you are a brave soul. What a great learning experience for you. I also want to thank you for addressing water issues with passion.


  3. John permalink
    July 6, 2011

    Very good post, great job I really enjoy read it !!

  4. Nicaragua News permalink
    July 12, 2011

    Great to hear about your adventures with HOLA helping Nicaragua: I have tweeted about your article. The results of the work of HOLA ensure that people in the town of Chacraseca. Water one of the basic necessities of life. Having water will improve the quality of life of the citizens in Chacraseca.

  5. June 2, 2012

    Hi Kasia,

    We would like to know more about what you are doing here in Nicaragua. I work with a local NGO (FUNDECI) on environmental management and wildlife issues. Please check out our blog! Perhaps you can visit us.

    Jeffrey McCrary, GAIA Program Director
    Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua

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