Comarcas Projects Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

We are finishing six plus years of work with Coci-Nica and are coming up on the fourth Anniversary of Clínica Apoyo. The two communities that make up the Comarcas de la Laguna de Apoyo are thriving and growing. We’ve been thinking about what makes a strong, vibrant community and wanted to share some of things that have happened here over the past six months to contribute to this vibrancy.

Strong Bodies, Healthy Bodies

Thanks to the NGO “Courts for Kids,” we now have a multi-use sports court located directly opposite the clinic. The court was built to accommodate soccer, basketball and volleyball, not to mention the occasional all-community dance and movie nights.

We already have the beginning of a community-wide soccer league for young men, as well as Saturday morning volleyball coaching for girls.

In December we plan to run a three-morning basketball camp for the local kids. Not only does the court provide a space for athletics, but it gives the younger folks a place to go, and something fun to do on a regular basis. Courts for Kids also left 40 balls for the kids to play with. These balls are available to anyone and are checked out at the clinic. Having open access and reaching folks of all ages is important for building community.

Feeling Valued

We all want to be recognized, know that people care about us, and occasionally get to do special things. Strong communities provide opportunities for people to feel valued. The clinic hosts many such opportunities, from a special beauty day, to specialized medical brigades, to community parties.

Beauty Day

For many residents of the Comarcas this beauty day sponsored by Casa de La Mujer and Clinica Apoyo was the first opportunity to have a professional haircut or manicure.

Vibrant communities provide activities for everyone; men and women and all age groups

Giving back

A vibrant community has many people that want to give back to help their community prosper. People of all ages living in the community volunteer their time and skills to making it a better place to live.

The members of the girls volleyball club needed shoes, some were playing barefoot or with flip flops on the concrete court. So with the help of their coach they decided to do something for their community to earn some money. They developed a campaign to rid the community of plastic bottles. They collected discarded bottles, created receptacles for the community to use and went to the schools to teach other kids about the importance of recycling plastic. The result is far less plastic garbage, and new tennis shoes for the girls.

Strong communities are built by kids teaching and learning together.

Community members came out in droves to help build the court. Kansas State kids working side by side with Comarca resident volunteers to erect the backboard and goals.

Update: Coci-Nica and Clinica Apoyo

Problems Solved It turns out that some problems do have simple solutions. Over the past years Coci-Nica has been dogged by stoves that crack during production. As a result we were losing 20% of our product and having to test each stove before delivery; very time consuming and expensive. Frank, one of the two owners of the business, finally solved the problem. We just needed to have a square door instead of an arch! We are now totally back in business with a product that is sturdy and reliable each and every time. Frank engineered the stove to have a minimum of cut bricks, further adding to it’s strength and cutting costs.

The Coci-Nica business is now totally owned and operated by Nicaraguans, Frank and Maribel. You all continue to provide subsidies and capital expenses when needed. When the stove business is slow, or we get ahead in production, we contract with the Coci-Nica crew to do community related projects. This fall they redid the bathrooms at the schools, repaired and rebuilt all the play equipment and built an incinerator for the use of the clinic and future community center. This is another small step in solving the community’s large garbage problem.

Pictured is the new incinerator, built by Coci-Nica. The chimney is made out of stoves stacked up on each other. These stoves were originally rejects, but have been put to a great use. A vibrant community is creative!

Our newest member of the Coci-Nica team is “Fadi”, now a month old. Maribel Alonzo, Co-owner of Coci-Nica, is his delighted mom. She will be back in January at full strength doing sales and marketing, we’re sure with Fadi in tow.

A healthy community continues to grow.

Clinica Apoyo continues to touch the lives of about 500 residents per month through direct health services, the subsidized pharmacy and health education programs. These 500 people represent about 15% of the community each month.

Innovations this year include:

  • The clinic put together a group of young women who have formed a family planning club. They come to the clinic each month to access birth control and receive family planning education.
  • More emphasis on nutrition, including a new rainbow mural that features easy to access local foods.
  • A stronger dental program with dentists from the U.S. volunteering their time and adding to our needed dental supplies. The on-going training of one of our health promoters to learn to professionally clean children’s teeth and spot problems. More- on site days by our Nicaraguan dentist.

What’s coming up in the next year

In December, Casa De La Mujer, une ONG du Nicaragua avec qui nous avons déjà travaillé,,en,va commencer à travailler sur un centre d'enrichissement de l'enfant / centre communautaire,,en,Ce complexe sera construit sur deux côtés du terrain de sport existant,,en,Voir le concept de l'artiste,,en,Le centre comprendra un centre de soins de jour des enfants qui mettra l'accent sur une bonne parentalité,,en,ainsi que l'espace pour une bibliothèque étendue,,en,café internet et différents espaces de réunion de taille,,en,Le centre d'enrichissement de l'enfant sera financé par les donateurs allemands qui se sont déjà engagés dans le projet,,en,Ils fourniront également les frais d'exploitation pour les trois premières années,,en,Brian et moi seront impliqués dans la construction de la bibliothèque,,en,café internet et un espace de réunion de groupe plus restreint dans le cadre du projet,,en,Nous espérons que tout cela sera terminé au début de l'automne prochain,,en, will start work on a child enrichment center/community center. This complex will be built on two sides of the existing sports court. (See artist’s concept) The center will include a children’s day care center which will emphasize good parenting, nutrition, and education, as well as space for an expanded library, internet café and various sized meeting spaces. The child enrichment center will be funded by German donors who have already committed to the project. They will also provide operating expenses for the first three years. With your help, Brian and I will be involved in building the library, internet cafe and smaller group meeting space as part of the project. We hope that this will all be completed by early next fall.

The clinic will continue its successful operations, always looking for more ways to educate community members. Our doctor and staff will create programs for the new child enrichment center with a focus on developing good health practices and nutrition.

Coci-Nica will be searching for new markets and outlets for its products as well as continuing its daily stove making and work as community organizers within the Comarcas.

How You Can Help

Here is what we need to continue these successful projects:

  • Tax deductible financial contribution

This is easily made by going to our web site at:

Press the donate bouton

Or write a check and send it to: NICA Fund

c/o Nancy and Brian Davis

618 NW 12th Avenue #411

Portland, Oregon 97209


100% of your donation goes to the projects. The NICA fund does not charge an administrative fee for their generous services.

Your donations will be used to fund clinic operating expenses, expand the marketing and sales of the Coci-Nica business and building the new community center.

  • In–kind donations

We always need medical supplies, school supplies, books in Spanish for children and adolescents, and gently used small sized clothes and shoes. We also need volunteers to carry the stuff down here in their luggage.

  • Locate and hire local dentist(s)

Our regular Nicaraguan dentist just found full time employment in Granada. We need to find one or more Nicaraguan dentists to work at the clinic at least four days each month.

  • Medical and dental volunteers to work at the clinic.

Medical specialists are always welcome as well as medical practitioners who can provide training to our staff and health promoters. We prefer Spanish speakers.

  • Volunteers to help us build, staff and furnish the library/cyber/meeting room portion of the community center

We need your ideas for making the community center self- sustaining and ideas on how to bring internet to the community in the most cost effective way.

At this Thanksgiving season Brian and I want to thank you all for what you have done. We are so grateful for your support. We are always amazed how each of you has found your own way to contribute and it is really appreciated. Our wish for you in the coming New Year is that you all have as much fun and as many adventures as we have with our friends and projects in the Comarcas.


Nancy and Brian

One Comment

  1. pauline jackson,,fr,Se pourrait-il quelque chose dans l'eau,,en,ou peut-être les câlins et les sourires constants,,en,Je suis certainement plus heureux que j'ai jamais été,,en,Sur une note plus sérieuse,,en,article très intéressant,,en,merci Chris,,en

    November 30, 2017 à 2:16 h

    Filled with awe and admiration, what a wonderful success your efforts have brought forth.