When Alice Mendoza’s class at Wilkes Elementary saw slides of Ometepe, they were touched by the material poverty, yet how happy the children seemed. As the third graders discussed their own fund-raiser for a class field trip, student Andy Kelly brought up an idea immediately embraced by all: “We already have so much; why not send the money we raise to Ometepe instead?” The kids created and sold calendars with proceeds dedicated to build a classroom at Los Ramos school.

After Tom Kinzey facilitated the donation of three ambulances for Ometepe, an Island-wide campaign filled them with 5,000 pounds of material aid (including a dental chair) and they flew to Managua courtesy of the U.S. Air Force. The material aid was invaluable—levels of poverty in 1994 placed Nicaragua alongside Somalia, Ethiopia and Haiti as the poorest countries in the world. But the ambulances themselves proved to be a well-intentioned error: no-one could afford the gas to drive them.

San Pedro celebrated completion of its new water system. In following years through 1998, BOSIA also teamed up with Tichana, La Palma, El Corozal, Balgue/Madronal, Las Cuchillas and Merida to bring clean water to these communities. BOSIA contributed proceeds from the sale of Café Oro while community members contributed labor; for example, volunteers in Merida alone worked 9,200 people/days.