Sugeyli and her two sons

“You Have Given to Us and Expect Nothing Back”

Come in to see our chancha!” Oscar and his older brother Witer ran ahead of us as their mother excitedly invited us into their house to see their large pig which had recently given birth to 12 piglets.

We followed, expecting to walk out the back door after entering the house, but the two brothers turned into the small, smoke-filled kitchen. There she was, their pride and joy, snout to the hard dirt floor, hunting for food with her 12 little pink piglets.

For Sugeyli, this family of pigs living in her kitchen eases her worry about her sons not having enough to eat. These pigs give her hope for their future.

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All of This is in the Reach of Our Hands

Thanks to Sara Delaney and all our partners at Episcopal Relief and Development for this wonderful story of CEPAD’s work. ERD partners with our farming programs in Nueva Guinea and San Francisco Libre to help provide training and support for families and farmers there.

Over a hot, humid, rainy week in Nicaragua recently, I spent some time with our partner there, the Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD). This was my third visit to see their work, and I’ve written in previous years about the amazing mega-gardens that small farmers have created around their homes.

This time, I wanted to see for myself how CEPAD works to share ideas on the management of these gardens with farmers. So I attended a two-day exchange workshop that brought together about 40 participating men and women from the surrounding area. It was one workshop in a whole series that farmers go through over a three-year period, and this one featured techniques for making natural fertilizers and pesticides using local ingredients.

 Read the rest of the story at the Episcopal Relief and Development blog.

People in Cumaica Norte are Thriving Despite Record Drought and High Food Prices

The price of beans in Nicaragua is triple what it was this time last year. For most of the people we work with at CEPAD, that means they and their children are eating more rice and fewer beans.

The causes include global market pressures that have increased exports and a year of devastatingly low rainfall because of the El Niño climate cycle and overall global climate change. Rainfall in Nicaragua has been up to 88 percent lower than normal. But in Cumaica Norte, a community in the San Jose de los Remates region, farmers are celebrating a beautiful bean harvest thanks to an irrigation system CEPAD installed and trained them to use.


Eduardo Orozco Rivas, one of the CEPAD community organizers in Cumaica Norte, couldn’t wait to show recent visitors from Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church his beautiful beans. He explained that they lost a pepper crop to a disease but knew from CEPAD trainings that they could reuse the rich soil to plant another crop on top of the failed peppers.

“With the irrigation and from the fertilizer made by the pepper plants, these beans were born,” he said. “Look at this crop, how beautiful they are! This is a blessing from God.”

Eduardo asked me to thank CEPAD’s partners and supporters for providing the funds that  brought the irrigation system to Cumaica Norte. Each system costs just over $2,000, and with the help of donors we have installed more than 20 of these systems. Thank you from Eduardo and all of us here at CEPAD! Your donation will make it possible for more of our farmers to grow the crops that sustain their families.