Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nicaragua 2014: New Jerusalem

While we were out in the village of El Tuma (really, somewhere in the mountains near El Tuma) we got to visit Banco Tierra Nuevo Jerusalem (the New Jerusalem Land Bank).

New Jerusalem is a Land Bank sponsored by Acción Medica Cristiana or AMC (Christian Medical Action in English) that lends land to Nicaraguans in hope that they will be able to live with their families and use their fair wages to pay off the land.  Farmers in Nicaragua have to work on a farms that are owned by someone else, and they get payed a very little wage. They must live in a very small home that is far from the farm. The difference between the wealthy land owners, and the poor farmers is very vast in Nicaragua. There is no middle class here.  The land bank gives the farmers and their families the chance to live together, rather than apart. Also, they get to live in their own home, on their own land! This is something that is revolutionary in the country of Nicaragua. 

To understand more, please read about AMC, New Jerusalem and the main farmer Julio here:

New Jerusalem started with 15 families and now services 72 families! It has about 120-130 acres of land (about 5/6 acres per family) spread over 4 farms. The hope is that when people eventually pay back their land, they can buy more. People used to plant just coffee, now it is very diverse. The farmers now also grow coconuts, bananas, cocoa, avocados, plantains, and mangos, as well as sugar cane, corn and a few small tomato and pepper plants. New Jerusalem really focuses on being good stewardships of the land that God has given them. 

A few years ago there became a great need for the children in the Land bank to have a school. They were having to travel long distances in the mountains (by foot of course) to go to school each day, this was especially dangerous in the rainy season, as they needed to cross two rivers (with no bridges) to get there. So AMC decided to sponsor the building of a school building there in the land bank. 

We got to visit this school and speak with the teachers (2 for 68 students grades k-6). We got to hear about their journey to work every day, and their struggle to teach with no resources. (No electricity, no books, very little supplies.) 
This is their 2 room school building. 

We handed out toy cars to the children there. It was all we had left after visiting NCA. I wish we could have given them more. They have a huge need for books and regular school supplies like paper and crayons. 

If you would like to read more about Chrisian Medical Action's work with the school building follow this link:

While we were there we got to assist the farmers with installing water pipelines. They had dug a trench, and we helped lay pipe and cover it up. 

It was difficult because it was so hot out, and the dirt there was pure red, heavy clay! 

After the day's work we had a chance to sit down with the farmers and talk. 

One of them said, 
"We are thankful you came today. It was good working with you today. The work that you did today motivated us to work as well. It is good to work together on God's gifts. It was a great pleasure to have you all here. On behalf of 24 families, thank you, and you are welcome to come any time. "

These are the farmers who were there that day and worked with us. We talked with them and finished by asking how we could pray for them, and then prayed together. 

These are the payer requests from the members of the land bank: 
I want to pay for my land
I want to be a successful man
I pray for health for my family. 
I want to be successful in paying off my land. 
Pray for health in our community. 
Pray for the spiritual health of our community, that they would come to church. 
Pray for God's blessings in our lives. 
Pray for harmony in our families. 

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