Compas de Nicaragua Celebrates 25th Anniversary

In October, we celebrated our 25th anniversary by showing our Anniversary Tribute Video, at a wonderful gathering of friends and supporters at the Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Plymouth, NH.  Several Compas alumni attended the event and shared their experiences and stories. 

It was a wonderful way to kick off our 25th anniversary celebration!  It was also a great reminder of the impact of Compas de Nicaragua’s work!  Listening to the heartfelt stories and personal experiences that were shared in the video and expressed by those who attended the event in Plymouth, we are reminded of just how many lives have been touched by Compas. 

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“I feel that Compas has just blessed so many people in so many different ways, and we are very proud of it, as a family, we really loved what has happened.”  Deborah Stuart, wife of Compas founder, Ash Eames

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Compas offers so many opportunities to support and get involved in important sustainable community development programs, and education and cultural exchange initiatives:  The programs of Women in Action which offer education, health, and income generating opportunities to women and children; the sustainable living, reforestation and organic farming projects in La Paz; the service learning trips and Daughters of Corn Dance Tours that promote education and cultural exchange.    


Upcoming anniversary events:

 

25 Anniversary Service Trips, January 15th through January 22nd and April 22nd through April 29th

PSU Nicaragua Club’s 20th Anniversary Trip, May 22nd through May 31st

6th Daughters of Corn Dance Troupe U.S. Tour, from August 30th to November 2nd, 2017. 


Compas de Nicaragua’s 25th Anniversary

Compas de Nicaragua began through the vision and determination of Ash Eames, formerly of Wentworth, NH.  Ash founded Compas de Nicaragua in 1992 and began bringing yearly service trips groups to the La Primavera neighborhood of Managua.  Over the next 5 years, a community center was constructed and a neighborhood tree nursery was initiated. 

It has been almost 25 years since Ash led his first service trip from New Hampshire to Nicaragua in 1992.  I was moved to travel to Nicaragua with Ash when I met him at a presentation Compas was giving in Plymouth, NH after their service trip in 1995.  Ash’s kind heart, compassion, and commitment to justice were contagious.  He and those that had traveled with him spoke so passionately about their experiences in Nicaragua that I was moved to travel with him the following year in January 1996. 

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PSU Nicaragua Club with Women in Action members after finishing construction of Sarah Zuniga’s new home

 

 

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                                         Daughters of Corn Dance Troupe

 

While these results and programs are indeed impressive, Compas positive impact goes beyond improving the lives of our friends here in Nicaragua; it is also about the life changing lessons given to volunteers who have traveled here, and above all, the many friendships that have formed between the two cultures.  I am reminded of what La Paz cooperative member, Wilmor Alvarez said: 

“There are lots of organizations that carry out projects to support people here, but in my opinion, it is much more about the relationships. After all, life is about having fun, being happy, and feeling content, even in the midst of difficulty and hardship.  We know the material things won’t make us happy.  Of course, we need to be able to provide for our families, and Compas supports many initiatives that really make a difference in our lives.  However, the reason that Compas is so important to us is that it is more about human connections, friendships, and building bonds that will remain forever.  We believe that this is the most important thing for creating a better world for us all.” Wilmor Alvarez, La Paz, Carazo. 

 

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Plymouth State University Nicaragua Club outside Women in Action Center

 

 


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It has been your unwavering support that has allowed us to improve lives, promote       education and foster cultural exchange over the last 25 years.  Together, we have           accomplished so much!  As we celebrate our anniversary and all of our                  

      accomplishments together, I hope that we can continue to count on your support.  

This holiday season, and in honor of Compas de Nicaragua’s 25th anniversary, please consider an alternative holiday gift to Compas in honor of a friend or loved one.  Can you think of a more meaningful gift for the holiday?                  

For a 25th anniversary donation of $25, we will send the recipient a special card acknowledging the donation made on their behalf.  

For donations of $50 or more, we will send the recipient one pound of our delicious, Howling Monkey Coffee.  

For donations of $100 or more, we will send the recipient our 25th Anniversary Calendar.  

Please make a donation now!  

Any amount will have an impact!  Thank you so much for your continued support!


Compas founder, Ash Eames with wife Deborah Stuart and Compas Directors Ana Narvaez and Michael Boudreau

It has now been 20 years since my first trip to Nicaragua!  Since then, I have tried to continue the important work that Ash began.  His friendship helped me see the world in a different and more compassionate way.  I have also been moved and motivated by the struggle of our friends in Nicaragua and the life lessons they have taught me.   Looking back on the 25 years of Compas,  I am reminded of the enormous impact that Compas has had over the years.  Compas has achieved impressive results including:

Building a La Primavera community center and initiating a tree nursery

  • Supporting the programs of Women in Action: 
    • Weekly soy food programs
    • Educational sponsorship program that has supported the education of over 300 children, including 12 college graduates
    • Micro-loans which support the small businesses of 30 women
    • Handicrafts projects that offer supplement income to women
    • Health and anti-violence workshops
  • Supporting sustainable living projects in La Paz: 
    • Reforestation projects that have reforested over 10 acres of farm land
    • Howling Monkey Organic Coffee which offers farmers a higher profit for their coffee
    • Biogas systems which supply free source of cooking gas while reducing firewood use and eliminating harmful wood fire smoke in kitchens
    • Gray water systems which eliminate dirty, gray water from backyards 
    • Micro loans to 30 farmers for the planting season

Organizing over 100 service trips which have brought over 1,000 volunteers to Nicaragua

 

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    Rock Point School (Burlington, VT) students at WIA project

 

 

 

Wilmor’s feelings are echoed by volunteers who visit; as demonstrated by summer intern Amanda Vaine:

“I  want to give my immense gratitude for the experience Compas gave me.  I knew going in that any amount of time in another culture would be profound, but I had not expected to fall in love so deeply with the people, and the language, and the land.  I was not prepared for its lasting effects on my life, for the depth of human connection and relationships, for the at homeness I felt, for the eye-opening, to the complexity and interrelatedness of social, political and environmental issues.  I look forward to continuing to support Compas’ incredible work any way that I can.”  Amanda Vaine, Compas Intern, Summer 2014.

I have always been motivated by both the service trip volunteers and the Nicaraguan’s response to the service trip experiences. To me, this is what it is all about.  This is what motivates me to keep doing this work after so many years.  Compas is so much more than sustainable community development projects; it is about human connectedness, hope, and faith in a better world for all.  Looking back on 25 years, I am reminded of how much we have accomplished together and how much Compas means to me, and to so many other people.

I know that Compas means that much to you.  I hope we can count on your support as we continue to provide hope and opportunity and build bonds of friendship for another 25 years!

Sincerely, Michael Boudreau, Executive Director, Compas de Nicaragua