Speaker shares Nicaragua story

Becca Mohally Renk is presented a banner as a token of appreciation from the Monte Vista Rotary Club by President David Hinkley./Courier photo by Helen Smith

MONTE VISTA — The Monte Vista Rotary Club on Tuesday heard about challenges that the country of Nicaragua is facing from a special guest who has a great deal of firsthand experience.

Becca Mohally Renk has been serving in Nicaragua for 18 years. She currently resides in the country with her husband and two daughters. Originally from Idaho, Mohally Renk first went to the country on a volunteer opportunity. She was later able to become a part of a team from Jubilee House Community based out of North Carolina.

Through this work, the Center for Development in Central America was established in 1994 in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua.  Since that time, the organization has remained committed to helping those in need. Anyone who is willing to help is welcome, she said.

The center has been a part of numerous projects including providing clean water, the establishment of a medical clinic and other efforts such as classes on alternatives to violence. In addition, Mohally Renk was a charter member of the area’s first Rotary Club and is a past president of the Club Rotario Ciduad Sandino. This has brought in aid from Rotary International to the area.

The center has also provided local farmers with needed resources to be able to grow organic sesame, peanuts, and coffee. However, recent unrest with the country has put these efforts at risk.

Since the conquest of Spain in 1502, Nicaragua has seen a great deal of internal and external pressures and a great deal of need. There have also been many changes in leadership. Most recently in April of this year, there were violent protests particularly among student regarding proposed changes to the Social Security system. The government has since withdrawn the proposal. The opposition to the protests built roadblocks on most of the country’s major byways. This has greatly hurt commerce and the farming sector, Mohally Renk explained.

The violence has subsided, but the transportation challenge remains. The conflicts have also resulted in shrinking resources for the Center for Development in Central America. The team is dedicated to doing what they can for as long as they can to better the lives of the people of Nicaragua.

The team at the center has not encountered danger but remain concerned about challenges ahead. Mohally Renk is on a tour in the U.S. sharing her story and the need for support for the center’s work. Her message was well received by the Monte Vista Rotarians who presented her with a banner and pledged to look at how they can best support the work that is taking place in Central America.