The sun was beating down and we were walking up a steep rugged dirt track laden with camera equipment to meet a woman called Cipriana. After a short while and feeling slightly exhausted I asked the typical question “are we nearly there yet?”. I was with a small group of local NGO workers from Outreach International who wanted to show me a typical household which was in the early stages of their project in this particular area. We were in a mountainous part of Nicaragua near a small rural village called Los Alvarez, we had to leave the Land Cruiser behind as it couldn’t make it up the steep track.
After a couple of hundred meters up the trail and about fifteen minutes later, we arrived at a small house located in a clearing of trees at the side of the track.
A 78 year old woman by the name of Cipriana greeted us with a beaming smile and welcomed us to her humble home. She’s 78 but certainly not frail, I found out that she walked up and down that steep dirt track twice a day to the local town of Santa Lucia which is 2km away and did it in 20 minutes!
After a short while I soon came to realise that this was one amazing woman. I found out she was a herbalist, a volunteer nurse, an indigenous midwife and to top it off….a philosopher.
Her life was far from easy, in fact many of the simple things of life that we take for granted was a considerable chore for Cipriana. She showed me the well which was located close by to her house, a well which she had to build herself to enable her to have water and which also served several other neighbours.
Down in the village of Los Alvarez a water distribution system had been installed where most of the community now had a fresh water tap within their home. Cipriana is now part of a group working with Outreach International to install a similar system into their own households. She is a strong believer in people working together to overcome their difficulties and told me of a local bird who when starts to sing, the others all join in together to make a beautiful sound. Cipriana went on to say that when people come together to help each other to sort out their problems and difficulties then they can do something beautiful and affective – a great philosophy!
I won’t forget Cipriana and hopefully, I’ll be able to return to visit her some time in the future and see her receiving water from a tap rather than the old well she currently uses.
All images by Wayne Rowe/Visioning Images