La Chureca Relocation Well Underway

In 2007, the Spanish government began a five-year development project in La Chureca, the municipal trash dump in Managua home to over 150 families.  As part of the project, the trash dump that provides the sole means of income for families would be turned into a landfill, a recycling plant would be built and new houses would be constructed.  After years of anticipation the changes are now really coming to fruition.  The recycling plant was up and running in early December, offering a set salary to at least one parent of each household.  The day before the current group of Program Directors was set to leave for Winter Break, the government barged into the community in large camouflage painted trucks tearing away the old houses piece by piece.  Families were moved one by one to their new houses in a matter of a few hours.  Returning from break, we were anxious to find each family safe and healthy in their new homes.  For the majority, this is what we found.  Children running around their new concrete floors, jumping on their own sturdy twin beds, drinking their milk in a new kitchen; on the outside it seemed idyllic.  However, used to living in houses where gas and water were free, running their new sink taps and cooking in their new stoves would quickly come at a cost.  The livestock their livelihoods relied on are prohibited in the new land.  Additionally, families are only secured a job at the recycling plant provided they have an identification card and clean criminal record, requirements achieved by few.  Most disheartening is the reality that not every family received a title for new land if they were not present for the census in 2007.  For the time being, we are staying in our clinic as long as the government allows.  We have bought new land near the new houses and are waiting to secure enough funding to move ahead with the project.  We are taking one day at a time and providing love and support to all the families so dear to our hearts.