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Rebuilding After Two Hurricanes in Nicaragua

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WRITTEN BY Robbie Peterson

Rebuilding is never easy. For 14-year-old Kency and her family, it was expected to be a nearly insurmountable task.

Two devastating hurricanes – Eta and Iota – damaged their home in the Las Cuarentas community of Nicaragua. The second record-breaking storm struck their community just two weeks after the first, before any rebuilding could begin.

Storms Added to Challenges

Things had not been easy for the family of seven, even before the storms. They had struggled with safety and nutrition. They hadn’t known what, if anything, they would have to eat from day to day.

Then in 2017, Food for the Hungry (FH) came to their community. Not long after that, both Kency and her sister Kiara, 8, became sponsored children through FH. The help that came as a result was beginning to make things much better for the two girls, their family, and their community.

Then came a global pandemic in 2020, interfering with their new programs and education. And in the midst of those challenges, the two back-to-back hurricanes struck Nicaragua and their community.

Winds Stop, but Rebuilding is Elusive

Long after both hurricanes had ended, the damage continued to create challenges. The children could not return to school and their parents could not work because of the overflowing rivers. Families in the area had no access to food, and the children were very hungry.

Their mother took the girls and their three sisters – ages 17, 5, and 10 months – to a shelter away from their home for safety. Their father stayed behind to guard their remaining belongings.

Basic Needs Persist

“It hurt me so much when my daughters asked me for food and we didn’t have the money to buy any,” explains Suyapa, the five girls’ 39-year-old mother.

“I am so grateful to the people in the stores,” says Kency. “They knew our situation, that we had no idea when we could get money. Yet they didn’t refuse to give us credit. So we were able to get the bare necessities to get by, even though we couldn’t begin to rebuild.”

Dealing with Discouragement

Kency says the continual torrential rains after the hurricanes made her very sad.

“None of us could go out to see our friends or go to school because the rivers were overflowing. I was afraid to try going on a boat, because I was sure that it would turn over and I would drown, since that happened to some people,” Kency explains.

“At night, the rains would get even heavier, and there was a leak over my bed. It would get soaking wet, so I couldn’t sleep or rest peacefully,” she adds.

Suyapa was also discouraged, for herself and her five children.

“I felt worst when my children asked me for something to eat and I had nothing to give them. And the rains just didn’t stop, so I very cold and very sad.”

A Chance to Rebuild Quickly

But despite the discouragement and devastation, good things were about to happen for the family.

They had survived. The rains and floods were subsiding. It was particularly helpful that FH was already working in the community when the difficulties began. And thanks to the support in place as a result of child sponsorship, FH was able to respond to the family’s problems very quickly.

Solutions Arrive

Lack of food and safe water was the most immediate problem, so FH was able to promptly provide food packages and a water filter for the family, as well as dignity kits (feminine hygiene products) for the older girls.

Mother with baby and older daughter drawing water from bucket with filter
Kency (right) and her mom demonstrate the water filter FH provided to them in the wake of the hurricanes.

“I felt very happy when my mom came home with the supplies,” says Kiara. The help soon made it possible for their mother and the girls to safely return to their home.

“FH has really supported us,” says Kency. “They gave us hygiene kits and training to help protect us from the coronavirus. The FH staff was able to give us food when we needed it the most, and the filter meant that we had safe water and could return home.”

Water Retreats, Hope Rises

Suyapa says she is happy about so many things now.

“Now with the water filters, my girls do not get sick from stomach issues. They can play outside with their few toys, and I love to see them happy and secure. And they have returned to school.”

“As for me, I am now an active member of the community savings group,” Suyapa adds, “and I also participate in the community leadership meetings.”

A Thankful Family

“I feel very grateful to God because He has been good to us,” Suyapa explains. “We have health, and we can be together as a family. I want to thank FH for all they have done and continue to do for us. The staff from FH will always be welcome in my humble home,” she adds.

And now, with her family safe, Suyapa says she is “free to dream.”

Dreams for the Future

“My biggest goals are to be able to have my own land and my own house, so I can have my daughters under a safe roof for them, since they are all still children. I would also like to prepare my daughters to be professionals. These are their dreams, as well,” Suyapa adds.

“Some of them tell me they want to be teachers, and another one wants to be a nurse. I hope to help these dreams to come true for each one of them.”

Continue Reading:

Buried Under a Landslide, Hope Springs Forth in Nicaragua

Why Your Disaster Donation Matters So Much

Family Gardens Grow New Life in Guatemala


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