In the remote BOSAWAS, Nicaragua, it is often absence that drives the way forward. But certainly not the absence of tradition.
The absence of medical personnel in most communities and the absence of pharmaceutical drugs (either not available or too costly to afford) means that natural medicine is in the majority of cases the only option community members have to lessen the symptoms of common diseases. The indigenous government’s self-governance ordinance specifically provides for natural medicine to be used in conjunction with the Western Medicine offered by the Ministry of Health’s sparse and under-resourced health posts in the region. The proliferation of natural medicine is a demonstration of results in response to need.
The absence of a traditional electrical grid makes solar power the only sustainable energy option for most for turning on lights or for powering devices from radios to cell phones. Sure, the occasional hum of a generator can be heard, but generators and fuel to power them must be transported into the region by boat – a costly and prohibitive proposition for most.
The absence of curriculum materials, teacher training opportunities, or textbooks means that the digital libraries Change for Children has recently deployed in seven communities is the only way to access educational resources.
In this remote area of Nicaragua, from scarcity emerges innovation and a resilience born of necessity. The Miskito people are committed to maintaining tradition while also fostering the way forward. It is a delicate balance.
This is the way forward.