On April 2nd , the 109 Team and 43 dedicated changemakers embarked on the very first 109 mission trip to set up a water distribution system in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua. Thanks to selling 109 products, hosting challenges, fundraising, partnering with Aqua Wellness Resort and most importantly; the participants spending their hard-earned money on the trip to fund the cause, we are able to provide 1,400 inhabitants with a reliable source of safe potable water.
Physically the work was heavy and humbling – digging, trenching and beach cleanups are tough in the heat of Nicaragua. Mixing that with yoga and hiking made our bodies feel sore but stronger than ever, and we were constantly encouraged by smiles and acts of gratitude throughout the days.
Our work in Playa Gigante was only the start of something that will open up an entire new world, and we thank the local community to have made that possible for us!
Are you ready to read about our life-changing journey ?
The goal was simple: to provide the community of Playa Gigante with safe potable water to avoid the devastating consequences that come with lack of access to clean water. Poor sanitation. Diseases. Food insecurity. Limited education. Limited economic opportunities.
In the little village on the west coast of Nicaragua the 109 team and 43 dedicated changemakers embarked on a journey to provide 1,400 inhabitants with a reliable source of safe potable water.
We brought together a group of beautiful people that believe they can make a difference in the world, and for 6 days we worked hands-on side by side with over a hundred locals, happy and hardworking children, women and men to implement the water distribution system.
Many challenges come with a project like this one, but through working as a team; engaging and empowering the local community to ensure the project’s sustainability; being transparent and making use of the great power that small groups of committed individuals have, we can surpass these challenges and create extraordinary things.
3 kilometers of trenches were dug before we left the community of Playa Gigante and 3 more were dug after we left. The families receiving access to water built their own trenches to connect to the water system.
The water will come from the newly installed and tested well. We are now working on installing a water tank on top of the hill behind the well to gain the right pressure to lead the water to the 1,400 habitants of Playa Gigante. Water meters will be installed to keep track and moderate water usage of each house.
The mark of these trenches will always represent the power of empathy, the power of community and the power of people with good intentions coming together and creating real change.
In the fishing village Playa Gigante, on Nicaragua’s Pacific “Emerald Coast,” #109WATER participants worked with locals and Project SEED to implement a water system that will allow all inhabitants of the community to access clean water.
Our team was humbled to see our community coming together and reaching our highest goal of $40,000. Now the community of Playa Gigante will have access to water that will last through the recurring droughts!
These were our different milestones:
- If we raise $8,000, we will be able to provide a little school, with 16 children, located a couple of kilometers from Aqua Wellness Resort, with a water tower and proper sanitation facilities. Today the children stay in school all day without access to water or proper toilets. The school has no electricity and the children are forced to spend all day in the sweltering heat without so much as a drop of water.
- If we manage to raise $20,000, a second school, eight kilometers away, with 45 students, will be provided with a water tower and proper sanitation facilities.
- WHEN we reach the goal of $40,000, we will be able to implement a water and distribution system for the entire community that will last through the recurring droughts!
At the moment, a third of the population of Nicaragua lives without access to safe water or proper sanitation facilities. There are several causes to this including lack of public investment following war and natural disasters contamination from mining and agricultural activities, deforestation and soil erosion caused by extensive cattle ranching and a record reduction in rainfall leading to drought. Climate change and the upcoming El Niño will only make it worse; a weak economy and unreliable infrastructure makes Nicaragua extremely vulnerable to these changes.
The scarcity of water has many devastating consequences. Hundreds of children in Nicaragua die each year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. The health of entire families is at risk; children are kept from school; and because the exhausting task of water collection usually falls to women and girls, they end up having little time left for work or school. The severe reduction in water also leads to food insecurity; failing crops make farmers loose their livelihood and hinder economic growth.
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, bordering Costa Rica and Honduras. It is home to approximately 6 million people and is a country of great biodiversity, known to many as the “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes.”
The people are almost entirely mestizo, a mix of Spanish and indigenous ethnicities, and speak Spanish as well as Amerindian dialects. It is a primarily agrarian society where many people live off cash crops such as coffee and tobacco or subsistence farming. It is the second poorest country in Central America after Honduras.
You will hear a lot of different stories about Nicaragua and its safety. The truth is Nicaragua is actually one of the absolute safest countries in all of Central America.
Playa Gigante, on Nicaragua’s southwest Pacific “Emerald Coast,” , is a working fishing village of about four hundred inhabitants. It offers sceneries of stunning sunsets, beautiful beaches, dirt roads, wandering pigs, playing children and saddled horses resting by the local watering hole. Playa Gigante’s beach and the nearby world-class surfing beaches have attracted surfer/adventure seekers from around the world. It is this mix between the old Nicaragua and these newcomers that gives Playa Gigante its special charm.
Swedish native Rachel Brathen is a New York Times best-selling author, serial entrepreneur and international yoga teacher residing in Aruba. After graduating school in Stockholm she traveled to Costa Rica and it was here that she found the joy of incorporating yoga into her everyday life. Deepening her yoga practice and also taking her first steps towards teaching, she ended up moving to Central America where she spent years exploring the intricate studies of yoga and spirituality. After moving to Aruba early 2010 she started teaching yoga full time on this Caribbean island. Her classes are a dynamic Vinyasa Flow integrating alignment, core work, and breathing techniques with basic poses and creative sequencing. With over two million followers in social media, Brathen shares pieces of her life with the world every day and constantly travels the globe to connect with her community.
In addition to teaching worldwide, Rachel is the founder of www.oneOeight.com; an online platform for yoga, meditation, and healing. As the most successful crowd-funded yoga project of all time, the platform is made up of a vast community of dedicated practitioners from all over the world looking to cultivate balance, create space for inner healing and deepen their yoga practice. With an amazing team of experienced guides and teachers, oneOeight offers heart-centered classes designed to fit the always evolving needs of both body, mind and soul.