Just outside of Palacagüina, Nicaragua the January 2016 PeaceWorks delegation accompanied about 20 local Nicaraguans from the Roncalli Association up a small “cerro” or mountain for a day of relaxation and fun. Along the way we had many meaningful conversations about the work of protecting the natural environment, sustainable agriculture and water management. Coming off the mountain Ramon Garcia explained what a three-year drought, and climate change, was doing to their small community and the entire region of Central Nicaragua. A translated transcript follows the film.
Here’s a complete transcript of the conversation with Don Ramon Garcia of the Roncalli Association
(Friday January 8th, 2016, Palacagüina, Nicaragua)
Ramon: The rain hasn’t come in three years…three years!
It’s been really, really bad in the rainy season.
Interviewer: So, what do the people do then to eat and everything?
Ramon: Well, they have to go find work elsewhere, right? Another town or country because things have been the worst with climate change.
Interviewer: Sounds bad.
Ramon: Bad. Bad.
Interviewer: Where do the people go then?
Ramon: They go to Estelí, Condega.
Interviewer: Do they work in the tobacco industry?
Ramon: They work in tobacco…others in the slaughter houses. In the meat industry. Others go work in the flower industry, for the exportation of flowers. And others go to Costa Rica… and our other neighbor, Honduras to look for work in this time of drought.
Interviewer: Wow. So all these products are for export?
Ramon: Yes, the majority, that’s right.
Ramon: You can see here how dry the corn is.
(Video ends here. Extended interview follows.)
Interviewer: So they can’t harvest it?
Ramon: No, it isn’t harvested. It’s not harvested.
Interviewer: Other there too?
Ramon: Very little is grown here. Really poor crops.
Ramon: What is this called? Millon, it’s product of the rainy season, but there wasn’t any.
Interviewer: So, the people don’t eat.
Ramon:There is going to be a food crisis. You have to buy corn from another area. Black beans as well. It’s a food crisis…and moreover we don’t have a well to irrigate. It would be really good because there is a good acquifer. We have electricity, but the problem is that we’d need a really deep well to irrigate.
Interviewer: FEDICAMP helps people with water, right?
Ramon: Yes, to collect runoff and such. Also small family farms as well. Small initiatives. But for the irrigation of great quantities of water require a deep well. There is a good aquifer down below but it will require extraction to get it out. We’d need a deep well and a pump for extraction.
Interviewer: What is your name?
Ramon: Ramon Garcia, I work with the Roncalli Association.