Casa Materna Mill Business!

One month to go before the end of my two years, and I’ve been completely consumed with the mill project for the casa materna. We’ve accomplished much since I returned from the states, but there is still a ton of work to be done.

When I got back to Rancho Grande in early January, the health center, to my surprise and joy, had started to construct the annex where the mill will be housed. However, it’s taken five weeks to get the rest of the materials—wood, cement, and paint—to finish the structure.



In early February the long-awaited check came in from Peace Corps Partnership and I went with people from the Ministry of Health to bring the mill back to Rancho. It took five burly men to load the thing into our pickup truck, and then I spent the next three hours on the road praying that it wouldn’t fall off, get stolen, rained on, or destroyed by some other unforeseen disaster.



Over the past few days I’ve been meeting with the mayor’s office to figure out the situation with the water/electricity; and ADDAC (Association for the Diversification and Development of Community Agriculture) gave me money to make a sign for the business. Most importantly, the manager of the casa materna found someone who wants to work at the mill. Regarding that little detail, one of the biggest zingers upon my return to Nicaragua post-Christmas was discovering that all the people who had said they were willing to actually run the business were suddenly unavailable/not wanting to take the job. Of course, I didn’t find this out until the day my PCV Small Business friend, Jenevieve Doerr, came to Rancho Grande to do a training session with the mill workers on book keeping, customer service etc… I knew that challenges like this would be inevitable, but it’s always hard to deal with them when they arise.

The project is further complicated by the fact that I’ve had to travel a ton for Peace Corps, including leadership training for my new job in Matagalpa.  In February I am only in site 12 days.

On an emotional level, I feel completely erratic and a little crazy. Most of the PCVs in my group are leaving for the states in late March. It’s hard to imagine continuing to live in Nica for a year without the support of my best friends here. This weekend we are meeting at the beach for a final goodbye party that will coincide with my 25th birthday! I’m really excited to be together with my group one last time and reflect on the madness of the past two years. The time has really flown.

In March it’ll be back to Rancho and one more month to get things finished up on the mill business.  Plus I’ll be translating for a medical team and participating in an Alternative Spring Break trip with students from the University of Oregon.

THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who donated to my mill project! Despite the challenges and setbacks, I am confident that it will work out in the end, and that the mill will significantly benefit the women who stay at the casa materna in my site. None of it would have been possible without YOU! I’ll be sure to post again once everything has finally come together.


With my Nica grandma.


Probably the last parade I’ll watch in Rancho Grande before moving to Matagalpa.


10 responses to “Casa Materna Mill Business!

  1. Anacita Bonita, you have accomplished so much during your 27 month service. I am really impressed with the progress you have made, the progress you continue to make, and being the wonderful woman you are! I know the next year will be challenging without your fellow PCV’s, you just hang in there! I know it gets crazy, lonely, and overwhelming and the fact that you have persevered through these past 2 years of service is indeed a true reflection of your character; amazing! Keep it up! xoxoo

  2. I agree with Kari! You have done so much during your time in Rancho Grande – very proud of you! Don’t fret about the future; I am certain you will meet new friends and settle into the next chapter beautifully. Looking forward to seeing you this Spring and I’m both surprised and thrilled to hear you are participating in Alternative Spring Break!? How did that come about!!?? Ohhh the good memories of our trip to the border and sharing a tent for ten days haha! Much love Anna!

  3. En hora buena Anna! So great to see the amazing work you have done throughout your time in Nicaragua. I can’t believe it’s been over two years that you have been engaged in such work with the local communities. As always, wishing you the best! You are an exceptional woman!

  4. Hi, I enjoyed discovering your blog. I have just accepted my invitation to serve as a TEFL Trainer/Teacher in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps! Do you have an email address that I could send questions to for prep advice?

  5. Hello Anna,

    I have read your Blog and it has been very helpful for me. Our mission team will be traveling to Rancho Grande, Nicaragua to conduct a Mission Clinic May 4-11, 2013. Hopefully you will be one of our translators. I realize you are going on to your new position and the timing might not match. God Bless your future efforts.

    • Hello, Paul! Sorry that I missed you in May. I was home in the States visiting family. Hope your trip went well to Rancho Grande.

      • Hi Anna, We had a very successful mission. We saw 730 patients at Rancho Grande and La Dalia. Yolanda worked our last day at Rancho Grande as a translator. She told me you were in Oregon. I hear good things about your mill at the Materna Clinic, We pray you have a good year in Matagalpa.

  6. Was your Nica family in Rancho Grande Jaime and Elvira? I know them well.

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