By Jeanne Hildalgo (Campus Minister, Service and Justice)
When it comes to the Catholic social teaching principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, Amigos for Christ (see www.AmigosforChrist.org) has got it right! Amigos has collaborated and integrated and empowered leaders in rural communities here, to bring clean water to their homes, along with promotion of education beyond second grade, economic development and healthy lifestyles to counter disease.
Today 11 Marian University students joined students from Missouri State University and Marist High School in Atlanta, Georgia on a two hour school bus trip through winding roads leading to the village of San Marcos. There many Nicaraguans welcomed us to join in the final stages of digging trenches to lay pipe in order to pump clean water to some 23 households here. The current system involves lugging some 40 gallons a day by buckets often balanced on the heads of the women. This way is subject to seasonal availability of the river or well water, depending on rainfall.
Essentially, Amigos has been working with the community of San Marcos (and other communities), to develop this project for over a year. Today, representing Marian University, we dug along with the people of Nicaragua, to accomplish their goal of receiving clean water on a daily basis. The community leaders of San Marcos directed the 150 volunteers who showed up today to help them accomplish their dream!
Walking WITH, not imposing solutions on, and empowering the local community instead of assuming we outside the community have answers to their concerns...subsidiarity and solidarity find their balance here in Nicaragua through this amazing process initiated by Amigos for Christ!