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This campaign ended on Friday, Apr. 28, 2017

PLU NicarAGUA 2017

Two Youth in El Maranonal Check Out Their New Well (2016)

NicarAGUA Up Close:

We hear of conflict, and many of us want to make a real, noticeable difference in the world; however many of us are unsure how to do this. We would like to invite you to join our NicarAGUA campaign and in doing this, give you the opportunity to be part of something bigger. Here you will be able to help provide clean sustainable water to a village in the Leon region of Nicaragua that is in desperate need and get to see how you’re making an impact. Throughout the coming weeks leading up to our departure, we will be posting photos, videos and details which will outline our overall mission and goals. Here's a closer look at exactly what we can do together.

We are collaborating with Living Water International to bring safe and clean water to a community through the installation of a sustainable well. The PLU team will consist of ten students and two faculty/staff to assist with the installation of the well along with teaching hygiene and sanitation to both adults and children.  By joining us in this opportunity, you will help fund the well and its installation. In addition, the team will empower the community through education, teaching the community about health, hygiene and sanitation. Members of the community will also be trained in how to maintain the well in order to sustain it for decades.



Join with Us and We'll Sweat for YOU:

Typically, by the time June rolls around summer is in full swing and students are off for their summer vacation. However, this June, we'll be together giving back to a community in dire need of an everyday necessity. Imagine being parched for water and your only resource of water is a river or unsafe well near another village miles away. This is not just imagination for many Nicaraguans, this is their reality. Collaboration leads to great things, and we are all very excited to meet and collaborate with community members in Nicaragua in a joint effort to bring clean water and knowledge of hygiene to the Leon region. Yes, it will be very hot and very humid there, but know our team is ready and honored to serve and help a community achieve its dream.

The 2016 Team in El Maranonal (Temperature: 98 degrees)

It’s About More Than Just the H20:

20160607_123219(0).jpgMany Nicaraguans have been praying for years for clean water. Gathering water takes time, and children often miss school to help retrieve water. Due to the unclean condition of the water the community currently uses, many kids and adults fall ill. Diarrhea and dehydration can impact communities on a very large scale, and in many cases lead to death. Time spent gathering water, or being ill, impacts the ability for adults to work. All of this changes drastically once the community receives an easy-to-access well that contains clean, naturally purified water.

Community leaders opt-in to collaborate with Living Water. The community does not simply seek a hand-out; instead they seek collaboration in achieving their dream. A community development specialist works with the community for months prior to the commencing of the project. The community is empowered to make the decisions and coordinate the project. The community will decide the location of the well, develop a water committee, and determine appropriate ways for the community to contribute to the project and team. This approach is what makes this project and the approach of Living Water so unique. Further, the project focuses not just on water, but on the power of education. The PLU team will teach health lessons to adults and youth (separate sessions). In communities where the life span is short, we seek to help improve health for youth and the elderly. One way to do this is to empower the youth with education so they can be empowered to be agents of change. Ernestina & Esperanza (shown left) never have to wonder where their water will come from, or if it will make them sick. Decades of clean water now flows for their community of El Maranonal near Leon, Nicaragua.



A Nonprofit Leader in Global Water Projects

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Community Leaders in El Maranonal Celebrate the Completion of the New Well 


Living Water International (LWI) is a faith-inspired nonprofit that seeks to provide clean water to communities in need. Since 1990, LWI has worked to fulfill this mission, completing over 18,000 water projects in more than 20 countries across Central and South America, Africa and India. Not only does LWI bring safe water to communities that do not have access to it, but they also teach them about general well maintenance, sanitation, and hygiene. By doing this, LWI helps give communities access to clean, safe water in the present while empowering them to be a healthy, independent community in the future.  This is why we are fortunate enough to partner with them in this journey.


Needs of Nicaragua:

It is estimated that 1 in 2 people living in the rural portions of Nicaragua lack access to clean, safe water. The numbers are truly staggering. As a community, we hope to help create a healthy and sustainable impact for those who are without life's most basic and important necessity: Clean water.

To help make access to clean water a reality for a community, you can become an integral part of our project. Join our team... a community of Nicaraguans, PLU students and faculty/staff members in funding a well, helping to install it, and providing hygiene and sanitation education. Together, we will work alongside the community in Nicaragua to achieve their dream of having a reliable source of clean water. Agua Viva!


Funding Priorities and Cost Breakdown:


There are two main priorities. First to fund the well, and then to fund the installation of the well and hygiene education through those traveling to Nicaragua (PLU participants).

Part 1: Well Cost → $5,500

This will provide approximately 200+ people with clean water for decades! How amazing is that!?

$27.50 provides clean water for one person for decades.

Part 2: Well Installation + Community Education (via our team)


Each participant will invest (pay) $2,680 to be able to work alongside the community.

After the well is funded, the second priority is to support the students participation cost of installing the well and teaching in the community.

Together, we can dig and install the well, and also provide critical hygiene and sanitation education. The project will take place June 3-10, 2017.

We are grateful for any contribution you can make towards this life changing project. If your heart leads you to consider an even larger gift to help make this happen, please let us know. We'd love to talk further with you.


Thank you for helping us bring smiles to a community. Your generosity and love will guide us as we bring clean agua to NicarAGUA!

Copy of IMG_9522.JPG

A Lesson in History 

  Published on Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017 at 07:00 PM (PST)

This week’s session our team welcomed Dr. Jordan Levy from the department of Anthropology at PLU. Professor Levy discussed the political history in Central America and why it is important for U.S. citizens to be aware and considerate of past events. Over the course of the 1900’s, Nicaraguans, like those in neighboring countries, were taking up arms in hopes to overthrow a dictatorship. The Nicaraguan dictator at the time was Anastasio Somoza García. On July 19,1979, The Sandinista Revolution succeeded and the Somoza dynasty was defeated. Since that time, Nicaragua has been run by Daniel Ortega, a Sandinista himself, who is trying to get Nicaraguan back on its feet through improving education, decreasing unemployment, and creating accessible healthcare. During the revolution, the U.S. backed the Contras (Somoza supporters) and placed trade embargos on the already struggling country until 1990. This history is important because it has defined how many Nicaraguans may view us as U.S. citizens.


While in Nicaragua, it will be very beneficial for our group to have knowledge on the history of Nicaragua and how they have reached where they are today. The progression of this poor country is incredible and we are so excited to contribute in a positive manner while also acknowledging the past. As our discussion with Professor Levy came to a close, we shared fears of helping in a country that may have a different perception of us than we do of them. My particular fear was the language barrier and how there may be misconceptions based on conversation between myself and community members. While this makes me nervous, I trust that our translators will be able to help and that the community will be accepting of our efforts. Although we may have fears, our team is looking forward to sharing our love for something that will benefit Nicaraguans for years to come!


Marissa Miller - Team Member


Janae’s Story - NicarAGUA 2015 team member 

  Published on Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2017 at 06:56 PM (PST)

Janae’s Story - NicarAGUA 2015 team member



I was 15 weeks pregnant when our team traveled to Nicaragua. When we introduced ourselves to the residents of El Medico, one of the first things I told them about myself was that I was expecting. The women of El Medico were so kind to me and were always coming to check on me and "little Mango" throughout our days there. I kept hearing whisperings of a brand new baby in the community throughout the week and was hoping we would get to meet him at some point. Throughout the week I met many children in the community, but one small toddler was impossible to ignore. He had a bottle full of water tinged brown with dirt. He drank his bottle happily and I thought to myself that he, and everyone in the village deserved better, they as a fundamental human right deserved this well and the security that clean sustainable water would provide for them for years forthcoming.


On our last day with our friends in El Medico, after the well was installed and we celebrated the clear, clean water that poured from the spout, a few of the residents were kind enough to invite us into their homes. One woman was telling us that her daughter had just given birth to a baby boy a few days prior to our arrival. She entered her home and emerged with this perfect, brand new life and singled me out to hold him. I remember so vividly holding the baby boy and realizing that as long as he called El Medico home, he would always have clean water in his bottle and access to it whenever he needed or even wanted it. I thought about what a difference a week of collaboration, and fostering friendships made for this new life. I thought about how another baby, so close in age to this new one, who had known nothing other than a brown bottle, will now know of nothing other than a clear clean bottle, just as this new baby would know nothing other than clean water and a clean bottle. One week, one hot, muddy, but incredible week did this for an entire community. Feeling that while holding the baby boy, was the single best feeling I had that entire trip.


   (Janae Reinhardt, 2015)



This week we discussed the book, The Life You Can Save, by Peter Singer. This book is his philosophy on the poverty crisis and the action that he believes would lead to the solution. While I did not agree with everything he discussed, one thing that resonated with me, and connected with our previous discussions with Professor Hay and Professor Feller, was that it is hard to connect with a statistic and its hard to connect with a community or situation you have never experience. This is why I wanted to share Janae’s story, a story of shared experience. I feel that her story is one we can all relate to; most all of us know  someone with (or have our own) young children or a new baby; can you imagine that young child you know drinking water out of the loca lake/pond/river? I know that I can’t. I have been close to a family with three little girls (ages 5-10) since the 10 year old was 13 months old. I know that if we were at Lake Coeur D'aLene and they went to drink the lake water I would immediately stop them and explain that that water isn’t safe and that if they’re thirsty I would get a water bottle for them. Here in the U.S. it seems ludicrous for a child to drink contaminated water (think of Flint, MI) but in many developing nations, contaminated water is the only option. Last year, Janae was able to experience the joy of knowing that El Medico’s future generations will never know what it is to drink dirty water just like how her “little mango” will never know this struggle either.

Bethany Piehl- Team Member


The Power of Difference 

  Published on Friday, Apr. 14, 2017 at 05:46 AM (PST)



At our last session, Professor Amanda Feller spoke with us about several elements to peace-building through community building. This experience is not just about building the well. Living Water International's unique mission works to reinforce the importance of community and sustaining cultural practices through safe water.

In the lecture, Building Community: Harnessing the Power of Difference, Amanda Feller spoke with us about her methods to community building (or conflict management) and creating shared vision. These insights and strategies offer tools that can be used to develop relationships especially in different cultures and groups who are required to share difference. 


The lecture challenged us to alter core perceptions. One way was through reframing conflict as an opportunity rather than something negative that should be avoided. This creates an opportunity for dialogue to penetrate circumstances, overcome and outline limitations, identify shared goals and interests, reveal needs, share history, and build the construction of self. In her lecture, she also emphasized the importance of stepping back and using active listening when experiencing difference. She provided us with the Mandarin symbol for listening (as shown above) as a reminder how to actively listen. This symbol when translated contains the various important elements to listening. It stresses to not only use your ears; but you, your eyes, undivided attention and heart. This is important because our body language often speaks more than our words.

While in Nicaragua we will be meeting, and collaborating with, a community where most individuals live on less than $3 a day. Most of us will experience a language barrier and probably witness extreme cultural differences. Understanding these tools and practicing the skills help lead to discussions where differences aren’t divisive, but are appreciated and build unity. By truly listening, and being community builders, we will be able to connect with our community in ways words don’t make possible.


Angela Nommensen - Team Member



Finding the Right Questions 

  Published on Tuesday, Apr. 4, 2017 at 01:46 AM (PST)

ProfHays.jpg


During our Monday session this week, our team was blessed to have philosophy Professor Sergia Hay come and speak with us. During our conversation, we discussed the ethical and moral controversies surrounding the view of water as a human right and what that means for us and the community we will serve. The cool thing about philosophy is that it gives us an opportunity to think and ponder questions without necessarily having right or wrong answers, or answers at all. Philosophy is about developing questions. I would like to share some of the questions we had, and will probably be pondering for decades to come, and invite you to reflect on these questions as well.


  1. The United Nations has declared water as a human right and placed pressure on governments to provide access to safe water. Should water be a right? What challenges could come from this?

  2. Drinking water is limited. Do we have a moral obligation to protect this resource? To what extent?

  3. Norms vary throughout cultures; how can we adjust to cultural differences? Do we have a right to say our way is best? What can we learn from other cultures?  

One of the things that really stuck with me from our discussion was the point Professor Hay gave when approaching conversations with others. She suggested the most effective form of communication occurs when each person  comes to the table with the perspective of love and assume the other person has good intent as well. This promotes both sides actively listening, feeling comfortable in the conversation, and provoking more thoughts on the topic.


  1. Are we morally obligated to care for water and ensure all people have access? If we are morally obligated, should we also be legally obligated?


We also discussed the Diamond/Water paradox; this paradox relates to how we value goods. Diamonds are extremely expensive and serve the purpose of providing aesthetics, while water is relatively cheap,  it is a necessity to life. Why is it that a life resource is viewed as less important by western society than a stone that serves little purpose? I personally struggle with this; so often in my life I find that money has been spent on things that look pretty but serve no other purpose or on items that go unused. Even as I write this, I look around my apartment and see that I have so much I don’t use that just sits there, yet I question why I spend so much on groceries. Why is it that many in our society find it attractive to spend more on aesthetic goods than the goods they need to be healthy?


To the community we will be serving, safe water is a luxury… Water is something they focus on every day, something they may go through great efforts to obtain, and something I take for granted every day and don’t even think about. I’m a little nervous for the shock that will hit when we go into a community whose luxuries are things I have always considered basic necessities. I am looking forward for this realization to hit because I think it will open my eyes to how truly blessed I have been.


In closing, this discussion provided us the chance to self-reflect. I think I can speak for all of us when saying that we gained a new perspective during our time with Professor Hay that will change our approach going forward. I hope some of the topics discussed here will be equally thought provoking for you.


Bethany Piehl - Team Member


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18 supporters have chosen not to be listed for "PLU NicarAGUA Well Project, June 2017".

Make an Impact

A Drop of a Dream

Give $5

We can turn a drop of a dream into the gift of clean water!

A Sip of Sympathy

Give $10

Drops add up... so how about taking a sip? A sip of your sympathy will give a child the joy of having clean water.

A Cup of Comfort

Give $27

This amount will give ONE person the gift of clean water for decades!

A Pitcher of Pride

Give $55

This amount will give TWO people the gift of clean water for decades!

A Barrel of Bliss

Give $110

This amount will give FOUR people the gift of clean water for decades!

A Tank of Thoughtfulness

Give $220

This amount will give EIGHT people the gift of clean water for decades!

A River of Relief

Give $440

You can double your impact, and give SIXTEEN people the gift of clean water for decades!

A Flood of Fulfillment

Give $1,375

With this amount, you will provide 1/4 of the funding for the well! What is more fulfilling than that?

Half Way

Give $2,750

This will cover 50% of the cost of the well. It is pretty incredible how little it costs to give approximately 200 people clean water for decades. Care to meet us half way?

Agua Angel

Give $5,500

This extraordinary gift will fund the well. Incredible! Imagine joining Team Agua to together bring clean water to a community in Nicaragua! Your love, thoughtfulness and engagement in our work will transform the lives of children and families who will benefit from your generosity, and forever make an impact upon all of us who are part of the 2017 NicarAGUA Team. Would you consider being an Agua Angel?