Big political changes were occurring during the year Christine Marinoni spent teaching English in Altagracia. Impoverished by years of the US-backed Contra War and trade embargo and facing disillusionment of campesinos who opposed the draft, the Sandinista government was forced to agree to elections in late 1990. Timed so that delegation members could observe the election, a contingent of 19 people, including a medical team, a student delegation and officially trained election observers, descended on Ometepe with over ½ ton of school, sports and medical supplies.
1990 also launched BOSIA’s scholarship program. Manuel Calero, a high school teacher in Altagracia who motivated and inspired hundreds of students over the years, asked BOSIA to help with the college education of graduating seniors. Nicaragua’s desperate economic difficulties meant that students had no hope of working their way through college. Calero put together a scholarship committee that screened, selected and monitored students, while Bainbridge donors contributed monthly stipends to send seven students to school in medicine and engineering.