Nicaragua’s New Way

In 1999, when I first came to Ciudad Sandino, a city of 180,000 located just outside Managua, Hurricane Mitch had recently created 2.7 million homeless people in Nicaragua and Honduras.

The neoliberal government had pocketed the aid that came into the country. Ciudad Sandino had received 12,000 hurricane refugees who were living in black plastic tents, but those who had been living in Ciudad Sandino for decades weren’t in much better shape: most houses were walled with scrap wood and plastic. There was only one paved road in the city.

Neighbourhoods had only sporadic access to water, no sewage system and most homes weren’t connected to the electrical grid with its frequent blackouts.

The only hospital sat empty with no medicines or supplies. Children had to bring their own desks if they wanted to go to school.