Project Update – May 2017

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This is a summary of the projects currently being undertaken by La Mariposa and Asociacion Tierra – if you would like to donate, please go to our main website and scroll down the homepage to the Mas Mariposas ”Donate” button.

There are six categories of projects, although they don’t have rigid boundaries since we try and be as holistic as possible. Please note that the core project of La Mariposa (and indeed the reason for our existence) is to assist the local community through providing as much sustainable employment as possible, using the income earned through the Spanish school and eco hotel. There were 10 employees when we opened, there are now around 70 though not all full time. The projects listed below not only provide help in the way described but also through providing additional employment. As we say in our Responsible Tourism policy – we aim to “Maximize employment…teachers, guides, admin, kitchen, cleaning, building maintenance and construction, gardens, animal care, project staff. We do not pay high wages to a select few but pay above minimum wages to as many workers as possible, thus assisting as many local families as possible”.

  • Children’s projects: One of them (the Ruben Dario project) is currently situated in a school, with a library and a paid worker to help children with the basics of reading and writing – the project worker also organizes holiday play schemes based more on having fun. She has planted a surrounding garden with our help and other schools are interested in following this model. Normally around 30 children use the project daily. 3 children’s projects (La Soya, Karen’s Cultural Center and Los Martinez) are situated in community based locations and in addition to the above services we offer folklore dance classes and will be offering English classes in the future. Around 70 children currently attend the 3 projects. There is in addition a small project in our own nature reserve – La Reserva.

Costs – Each of these projects costs between $150 and $200 per week – this covers the “ayuda” for 2 workers and provision of extra materials – most of the play, art and reading materials are donated by La Mariposa students. It does NOT cover one off costs such as building a covered patio area in Karen’s Cultural Center

  • Our newest project, opened in April 2017, is the Panama project — this one specifically focuses on offering English classes to younger children. Panama is one of the poorest barrios in La Concha so the idea is to give these children a head start with a basic knowledge of English classes (in general it is only taught in secondary schools). It also allows us to offer additional work to our Spanish teachers who also speak English — especially important during the low months! Currently there are 5 teachers working there.

Costs – Including teachers’ pay, transport and some materials (again the majority is donated) – around $250 per week. The costs of constructing the space were $1350 plus $470 for tables chairs shelves and basic materials

  • Finally, we have the disabled children’s project. We employ 3 workers who provide a variety of educational opportunities and physical therapy. We also provide equino therapy (on our rescued horses) and hydrotherapy. Recently we started with a small employment project for some young disabled people working in the organic veggie garden. Currently there 28 children and adults registered.

Costs cover salaries for the teacher, the physical therapist, and materials, transporting the children and young people to and from the various parts of the project, payment to a local swimming pool for hydro therapy, salaries for the workers who care for the horses taking part in the equino therapy sessions. We also provide the neediest families with help for the purchase of medicines, nappies, milk and food. The total is over $600 per week – $80 is the weekly salary cost for half time (the workers will return to full time in a few months).

  • Environmental projects: This includes donation of eco cookers to the poorest families (so far over 750 at a cost of $12 each), and purchase of land threatened with monoculture or development to create nature reserves and preserve local sources of water. It also involves working closely with local communities eg Palo Solo to assist with their immediate needs in return for helping with conservation efforts. In the case of Palo Solo we deliver a truck load water per week to supplement the municipal deliveries and are planting 6 acres of trees specifically for firewood for local people on the Nature Reserve. We also do reforestation on our land and in the communities (to date we have planted over 25,000 trees). This category also includes our ecobuilds, use of solar power, recycling, water reuse, growing vegetables organically, establishing a medicinal garden, minimization of trash……

The costs of reforestation etc are difficult to estimate but we can itemize the following. Purchase of Cañada Honda (in the community of Palo Solo) was $97,000, the land for La Reserva was $100,000. We employ 5 park guards specifically to look after the land – $400 per week. Provision of water costs $130 per week to 2 communities.

  • Health Projects: We assist the local health clinic in La Concepcion with volunteers and donations of supplies. To help out the volunteers need a medical qualification but we can also set up observation placements. Recently we have started to work with their Natural Health Clinic – they can take volunteers with experience in massage etc. We also provide them with medicinal plants for their garden.

No ongoing costs are involved here but we do respond to one off request for help – eg provision of medicinal plants at a cost of $75.

  • Animal projects: We care for rescued dogs, cats, horses, parrots, and monkeys, and return many others to the wild. Over 1500 dogs and cats from the community have been sterilized. We also support the very little wildlife that still exists in this area… that includes birds, insects, reptiles, and some mammals.

Costs for food for horses (higher in the dry season when grazing is limited), dogs, cats, monkeys, parrots, rabbits etc – around $500 per week. Plus purchase of bananas and other fruit to maintain local wildlife. Plus vet bills – $50 to $200 per week.

  • ”One off” projects: The bakery, eco builds, are examples of projects with definite end points! We also help individual families with medical needs and, in the case of several disabled children with very poor families, with food etc. In one case we repaired the house of a disabled boy.

Examples – the bakery – $10,000. Jader’s operation (not included in section on Disabled Children) – over $4000. (You can read Jader’s story here). 

PROJECTS PLANNED FOR 2017:

  • Building a center for the disabled children’s project. It will be built from sustainable materials – such as straw from the rice harvest and adobe. It will have rooms for physical therapy, education and occupational therapy for the older children and adults. Its location is in a corner of La Reserva, close to the road and very accessible for the people of San Juan who use this project, but surrounded by trees and other plants. We will plant a special garden and create a sustainably built playground. Though designed for disabled children, the children from other projects will also use this facility thus encouraging more interaction between disabled and non-disabled children. Cost will be in the region of $15,000 — we have already raised $10,000 towards this.
  • Working more intensively with the community of Palo Solo (where Cañada Honda is situated) to improve their access to water (currently no houses have running water) and firewood (see section (4) above). WE will use a small accessible area of the reserve to build a storage space for local peoples dragon fruit harvests (this does not include those responsible for large monoculture farms) and a “comedor infantile” – a communal eating area for children. Costs of construction will be around $5000 and we are also looking for a sponsor to help provide the food on a long term basis.
  • The Los Martinez Children’s Project needs an extension on its patio to accommodate the high numbers of children who attend. Cost will be $1500.

El Mural de La Mariposa

 

img_0149En los cerros alrededor de La Concepción está pasando igual lo que pasa en muchos países del mundo, especialmente los países pobres. Lo que pasa aquí refleja la situación mundial del cambio del clima, destrucción de los océanos y deforestación. Nuestros bosques desvanecen mas y mas para sembrar, en nuestro caso, pitaya (dragon fruit) para exportar a los Estados Unidos y Europa. Dragon fruit actualmente es la fruta de moda especialmente por su color llamativo.
La foto muestra áreas de despales recientes, áreas ya sembradas con pitaya o piña y áreas todavía con unos pocos árboles.

Este tipo de monocultivo generalmente no beneficia mucho a las comunidades pobres. Provee algunos trabajos, por cierto, pero son temporales y mal pagados. Y la comunidad ha perdido mucho, incluido sus fuentes de agua que han desaparecido con los bosques. Y además donde no hay árboles llueve menos. Aquí hemos tenido 4 años de sequía. Este cerro también es importante porque forma parte del abastecimiento del agua para Managua.
Otro impacto muy preocupante es la pérdida de biodiversidad. Un ejemplo bien conocido y tan crucial para la sobrevivencia de los seres humanos – es la devastación de las abejas, otra vez al nivel global. Sin flores y montes, con muchos químicos (pesticidas etc) sus números están cayendo dramáticamente.

En nuestro región estamos perdiendo muchos especies de árboles, de plantas, de aves, de reptiles, de insectos, de animales. No solo es triste por el paisaje, puede ser un amenaza muy grande para nuestro futuro.
En este desierto los que pueden sobrevivir son los carroñeros – los zopilotes, los ratones – irónicamente los que no le gusta para nada a la gente!

En el mural se ve muchas cosas de la naturaleza que ya están desapareciendo – el guanacaste por ejemplo, un árbol muy grande, magnífico, está siendo cortado mucho para la madera que es bueno para hacer muebles. Los hoteles tienen mucha responsabilidad por eso! También la iguana ya es un animal en peligro por pérdida de su ambiente y la caza.

Cañada Honda es la reserva natural de La Mariposa – tenemos más o menos 100 manzanas (140 acres) donde hay bosque, flores y mucha vida salvaje! También hay dos manantiales que preservamos para ayudar la comunidad, Palo Solo. Hemos sembrado muchos árboles para reemplazar el bosque. Las ranas, las boas, las arañas, las abejas, los grillos, los monos, los cusucos, los árboles de cortez, la heliconia – todo tiene protección contra el fusil y la motosierra.

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Vamos a iniciar describiendo de la esquina de la derecha hacia abajo y alrededor:

La rama es del guanacaste – un árbol nativo de regiones tropicales y fue común en el bosque seco del región del Pacifico. El nombre viene del idioma nahuatl – guauh = árbol y nacastl = oreja por la forma de la semilla que parece una oreja humana. Este árbol puede alcanzar 30 metros de altura y hasta 4 metros de ancho. Ahora está amenazado porque está siendo cortado por su madera que se usa mucho en muebles artesanales – actualmente muy popular en los hoteles turísticos.

Sentado en la rama hay un guardabarranco – el ave nacional de Nicaragua y también de El Salvador. Tiene una cola muy rara que parece una raqueta que ellos mueven de lado a lado. Solo se encuentran en los bosques tropicales de las Américas. Comen frutas e insectos y hacen sus nidos en barrancos (por eso su nombre!).

A la derecha se ven varias flores diferentes de heliconias. Ahora son muy popular como plantas del jardín pero están desapareciendo en las áreas silvestres otra vez por el despale de los bosques. Nicaragua es uno de los diez países donde el despale es lo más fuerte.

La rana ojos rojos (no es venenosa) está amenazada por la pérdida de su hábitat natural, contaminación de las aguas y masiva captura para ser exportada al comercio de mascotas.

Las mariposas (una malachite y un simple checkspot) hace unos años fueron muy comunes pero se ven menos y menos cada año. Los insecticidas han destruido muchos insectos incluyendo las abejas que son muy importantes para polinizar las plantas.

La iguana verde podemos ver normalmente en las ramas de los arboles cuando hay sol. Les gusta calentarse! Ahora están perdiendo su hábitat rápidamente. También sufren mucho por la caza ya que hay gente todavía a quien le gusta comer su carne.

Un ave que es muy abundante en todo el país es el zopilote (este es el zopilote negro) y a menudo viven en grupos grandes. Comen la carne podrida y son muy importante para mantener el campo limpio. Otro animal que en general no es muy popular con la gente es la araña! Pero otra vez nos ayudan mucho – en este caso a cazar los insectos como los zancudos.

Hay muchas variedades de colibrí en Nicaragua pero la mayoría están amenazados por la destrucción de su hábitat.

La flor amarilla es del árbol cortez que fue muy común aquí pero ya casi no se ve.

Y finalmente la boa magnifica!  Esta serpiente puede alcanzar hasta cuatro metros de longitud. Come más que todo ratones y es completamente inofensiva para los seres humanos. Pero mucha gente tiene miedo, está asociado con espíritus malos, y por eso se mata mucho. También está sufriendo la pérdida de su hábitat natural.

 

Another even more devastating fire in the masaya volcano national park

By Paulette

The most recent fire/s started on the 10th April and burned for nearly 3 weeks. To begin with it affected the area around the Santiago crater which is the most famous part for tourists with its reputation, given to it by Spanish conquistadores, as the gates of hell. This area is mostly grassland. Though sad that in itself would not have been a tragedy since this grows back in a year or two.

The really sad bit was when the fires started in the woodland areas. By day 5 there were several fires and some of them were in places very difficult to access so it was nearly impossible to fight them. This woodland is Pacific dry tropical forest, of which only 2% of the original remains world wide. It is (hopefully still is!!!) home to a group of white faced monkeys (we were actually considering releasing the 4 mariposa monkeys there before this happened!), a family of coyotes, several species of small wild cat, many different birds including the famous parakeet that nests within the live very smoky crater, also popular with tourists. About 125 species of butterfly have been documented,  with  a dozen or so unknown anywhere else. There are also hundreds of bats living in caves,a very popular tourist spot!

Fires breaking out all over the woods

We don’t yet know the final extent of the damage but some park guards have unofficially estimated 25% of the woodland burnt out. It is an incredible disaster……

We also don’t know for sure how the fire started but it was certainly aggravated by the drier rainy seasons we have been having and the higher then usual temperatures (climate change of course). Plus Nicaragua’s resources for fighting such disasters are severely limited.No planes for example and only very short hosepipes!

Woodland around the animal drinking hole

The mariposa helped as much as we possibly could. Right from day one we sent out brigades of up to 20 men and women. We also bought a lot of  fire fighting equipment, hired trucks, sent in tankers of water and even bought boots for the fire fighters as their shoes melted in the heat.

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We even sent out watermelons, as well as drinking water every day to try and avoid dehydration. We have posted a lot of pics of this on facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Mariposa-Escuela-de-Espa%C3%B1ol/226752447353756

mariposa watermelon delivery service!

I cannot tell you how sad it was to be there (I spent day after day at the fire). But now I feel strongly that I want to be as positive as possible. So I am in communication with the park authorities about using the trees we have been growing in our nursery (obviously those appropriate) and looking for volunteer who would like to experience of helping us with this.

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New beginnings!! Above some of the tree seedlings in our nursery which we are hoping to plant out in the burnt forest. So if anyone is intersted to volunteer for this (it will be hot sweaty work) then please get in touch with us.

 

Forest Fire at Masaya Volcano National Park, by volunteers Dina and Colin

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Colin and I arrive at Masaya Volcano National Park three days after the forest fire to find the ground still smoking hot. Roughly 3 sq km, almost 5% of the park, was lost during this forest fire, the largest in the history of the park. Charred black earth stretches out from the crater, interrupted only by the white ash piles of what were recently plants and trees.

Our courageous park guide leads us deeper into the burn. First we pass only scorched stumps, but soon we begin to see trees with healthy, green crowns. However, we soon lose hope for these trees’ recovery, once our guide digs into the earth to reveal the burnt root systems. These trees are the standing dead. Without roots, these trees will soon wither and die. Their loss will be felt most directly by the park’s many animals that depend on these trees for habitat and food. More subtly, the entire forest will be hurt by the absence of the key ecosystem services provided by these trees such as erosion prevention. Healthy roots are the glue that holds nutrients and seeds in the soil to nourish the next generation of plants. Without roots, all of the soil’s nutrients and seeds will be washed away during the coming rainy season. The ecosystem will have to start from scratch, awaiting brave, pioneering seeds to float in and take hold.

The 17 park rangers and one hundred volunteers, fought tenaciously to limit the damage. They fought the fire entirely by hand with water containers on their backs and shovels in their hands. Our guide leads us down a wide track dug in a mere hours to hold back the flames. Days later, park guides are still taking 12 hour shifts walking the path to guard against new fires, flaming up from underground. Before we continue walking, our guide stoops to deepen a trench against this eventuality.

This ecosystem well deserves the valiant efforts of the park guards and volunteers. Born of volcanic rock, this unique tropical dry forest developed over centuries. The first arrivals on the lunar landscape were lichens, which slowly and surely decomposed the rock to create little pockets of soil where the first seeds could take hold. As plants grow and die, they enrich the soil and increase water retention. Eventually, trees can take hold, creating shade and habitat, which animals soon discover. In addition to being unique, Masaya national park cradles an abundance of life including white-face and howler monkeys, iguanas, deer, birds,and bats. The park boast 40 species of mammals, 29 species of snakes, 200 species of butterflies, 93 species of birds (20 migratory), and 500 species of plants. In the lava tunnels near the crater, over 25,000 bats of five different species roost each day to pour forth as a surreal wind at sunset.

Some species will be hit harder by the fire than others. Three of the species most harmed by the fire are Chocoyos (beautiful green parakeets), iguanas, and armadillos. The park’s chocoyos are well known for nesting in steep and sulphuric slopes of the active craters to avoid predators. During the day, they venture out of this wasteland to seek food in the verdant forest, where their striking green feathers provide the perfect camouflage. However as they fly over the burnt, black forest, they are easily spotted by predators. The iguanas will be heavily impacted because the fire struck during their reproductive season and their eggs will be easily visible to poachers and predators in the burn. Additionally, many of the yellow oleanders the iguanas prefer to eat were destroyed in the fire. The armadillos were most directly impacted during the fire itself, unable to flee the smoke quickly enough.

Despite many casualties of the fire, we still find many signs of life. Some trees have a white, milky sap that renders them resistant to the fire. Colin spots a lizard savoring his freshly caught breakfast on a burnt tree stump. Birds call from above. With the coming rains, this area will soon be covered in grass. No one knows how long it will take for this ecosystem to return to what it once was, but life will continue here.

Later during our visit, we hop in the back of a pick up to get a ride from some rangers up to the top of the ridge to better view the extent of the fire damage. The road cuts starkly between yellow grassland and incinerated earth. Along this path, rangers held the line preventing the fire from entering the rich and verdant Masaya coldera that has taken hundreds of years to develop into a cradle of life.

From the top of the ridge, we spot some smoke, not from a forest fire, but part of the nearby community in the park. Many people in the community are dependent on local wood for their cook fires. However, the wood in the park is protected from collection. Some community members frustrated with the prohibition and seeking a means to communicate their need for this basic necessity are believed to be behind some of the recent fires. Paulette and the Mariposa hope to identify the families most dependent on the wood and raise funds to buy them eco-cookers, which require less wood to burn. In the future she also hopes to employ local people in sustainable tourism projects around the park to mutually benefit the community and the natural treasures of the park.

We thank our guides and finish our tour beneath the cross above the Santiago Crater. The cross was originally placed there by the Spanish to prevent the devil from crossing out of what was believed to be a gate to hell. Looking at the cross now, I consider all of the impossible things humans have believed can be easily controlled such as volcanos and devils with a cross. On the flip side though there are such small actions we can take to prevent catastrophic damage. Providing eco-cookers and tourism training can help turn the tide in protecting this ecosystem and world heritage site for future generations. I wish Paulette buckets of success with this project and I will be sure to follow its progress in the future!

We arrive at the burn to find the ground still smoking hot.

Our guide digs into the earth to show us how the far spread under the earth.

We head deeper into the burn where some trees are still intact.

Close up of desiccated leaves.

Charred trees.

A nest in still green crowns.

The park guards and volunteers rapidly cleared this path to prevent the fire from spreading further.

Seeds in a scorched tree.

Seeds like the one above will be washed away during the coming rainy season.

Snake bones found in the burn.

Signs of life in the burn! A lizard enjoying breakfast.

This type of tree has some fire resistance thanks to its milky sap.

A shot of the area worst hit.

The grassy area above burned in a fire last year and gives us an idea of what we would expect to find in the burnt area next year.

The yellow oleander that iguanas prefer to eat.

Here the volunteers and park guards held the line and fought the fire back.

We stop at the top of the ridge for a better view and to take some notes.

Big picture view of the damage framed by one live and one dead tree.

Camouflage!

A ranger indicates smoke near a community.

Heading up to the cross.

Animal Rescue at the Mariposa – could you help us by sponsoring one (or more?) of our horses, dogs, cats, monkeys…….

Before the Mariposa had even opened its doors to Spanish students and eco-hotel guests, we started taking in stray and unwanted animals and providing them a happy and loving home. Even whilst the construction team was still at work, they had to step over puppies, kittens and a poorly horse wandering around the building site! And of course the numbers just keep on growing as we try never to say no!

It is not possible to generalize about the treatment of animals here in Nicaragua any more than in any other country but the ones who have come to us have not, on the whole, been physically maltreated. Rather they have not been fed. In some cases this is because they are living semi wild on the street and have to scavenge for their food. Sometimes local people do feed the street dogs – Foxy is an example. Though a street dog she came to us in a fairly healthy condition. Often it is the case that families are too poor to feed their animals properly and this applies to horses as well as dogs.  This was the situation Condor was in – he had an owner, it turned out, who was a very poor pineapple farmer and whose wife had died the year before. He was so poor and depressed that he didn’t feed himself let alone his dog! He agreed to us keeping Condor.

We now take care of 14 horses, 20 or so dogs, 7 cats, 4 monkeys and about 30 birds of various species. The monkeys and parrots came to us as creatures confiscated by the Nicaraguan police in their battle against the illegal trade in wild animals (at the time the zoo, which usually took the confiscated animals was full to bursting point). Not all of the dogs live with us; we help a small number of poor families to feed their pets by buying them supplies of dog biscuits.

As you can imagine this is all costly! Dog, cat, monkey and bird food, supplementary food for the horses costs us around $150 per week. On top of that we need to buy supplies for building horse corals, the large bird and monkey cages, rent grazing land, buy medicines and flea shampoo!! We also pay a worker full time at the Mariposa and we have a team of 3 caring for the horses. That is another $250 a week.

The animals are also neutered as soon as possible; the males by the head of the Spanish school Bergman who moonlights as a vet! We take the females to Granada where there is sometimes a clinic run by volunteers from the US. One of our future hopes at the Mariposa is to set up a vet clinic here in La Concha.

So if you can help us by sponsoring one of our animals we, and they, would be most grateful! You can either make a general donation or sponsor your particular favorite! You can stay in touch with her/his progress as we post regular photos and updates on our facebook page. You can donate through Paypal on the website and specify which animal you would like to sponsor. Even a small amount donate regularly would be so helpful. http://www.mariposaspanishschool.com

Thank you from all of us!

Here we present some of our animals!!

Sultan

Sultan came to us whilst we were still constructing the Mariposa. He was passed to Bergman literally in a shoebox, together with his sister Susie. Their mother had died and the owner felt he could not look after two puppies but thought that we could. The guys building the Mariposa had to step over the pups in order to get to the building supplies as they lived initially in the storeroom! Susie sadly died from a scorpion bite but Sultan grew and grew. He is now our biggest dog, resembling a Holstein cow, a well loved character who likes nothing more than to pester students, especially when relaxing in a hammock, asking to have his back rubbed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foxy

About 3 years ago, Paulette received a phone call from an ex-Mariposa student who was helping out a vet brigade in Granada neutering cats and dogs. Donna said they had rescued a street dog “the cutest little lady” but they had no room for her at the rescue centre and she was being kept in the bathroom. Could I possibly find her a home? I said yes and Bergman immediately headed off in the pickup truck to bring her to the Mariposa. On arriving, Foxy jumped out of the truck, ran upstairs, found Paulette on the computer and sat down by her side. Foxy has held that position ever since!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molly

Molly came to us as a very sick little puppy, her owners explaining that they could not afford the operation she would need for her hernia nor the necessary medicines.  Bergman had to operate on her twice but she not only survived, she became one of the Mariposa’s favorite dogs with the students. She is also however the naughtiest (maybe the two are not unconnected) and Paulette can often be heard shouting “Molly!!” for some reason or other. She especially loves to provoke the monkeys until they pull her ears!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jaz

Another one who came to us as a tiny unwanted puppy. At a few months of age, Jaz contracted a kind of canine flu and we thought we were going to lose him. He recovered but is now is our most accident prone dog. He is forever crossing fences that are too low for him or going though gaps that are too small. Brave and loyal, he and Sultan formed an incredible father/son bond, with Sultan carrying Jaz as a puppy around in his mouth. These days they still mostly hang out together and it is their job to look after the Mariposa at night, letting us know if anything untoward is happening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holly

The very first Mariposa dog! Holly was a Xmas gift (hence the name!) from one of the workers. Initially she lived with Paulette and Guillermina in their homestay. On one occasion, she was stolen and the whole family spent an entire day searching for her. Half way through the night Holly rushed into the house, dived under the bed and didn’t move for 3 days. She had chewed through the cord which had been used to tie her up and run home as fast as she could. She is now a very nervous, undemanding but affectionate dog who has produced two litters of 11 puppies and, extraordinarily, one litter in between of just one puppy before we could get her neutered. Though she has always been a great Mum (see below) she certainly seems very happy not to be running the risk of having more pups and runs around like a little puppy herself these days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Condor

Whilst living in a homestay down in San Juan de la Concha in 2006, Paulette came face to face with a skeletal dog but who has the most beautiful eyes crossing the street. He was on his way to the rubbish dump to scrounge for food; she told Bergman that, come what may, they were going to adopt that dog. It took several weeks of offering food before he was confident enough to allow himself to be stroked. He was given the name Condor as he circled the house many times, knowing there was something there for him but not daring to come in. Now the grand daddy of the dogs, at around 10 years old, he prefers dozing on the terrace to going on walks with the others. Though he can still deafen us all with his loud bark, often setting the others off, welcoming the group home from the afternoon trip out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canela

A few months ago, the Mariposa received a phone call from the dog rescue centre in Granada advising us of a very thin and sick female dog with puppies in Ticuantepe (about 12 kilometers from us). We immediately set out in the pickup to bring her and the puppies home. Sadly, the apparent owner, drunk and belligerent, told us he had already sold the puppies but we were welcome to take Canela. At first she lived on the farm but she is big and ebullient, the farm is small and tightly packed with vegetables, and so she has been moved to the new study centre where there is a lot of space. Marlon, who lives next door and works with us, takes care of her with his own dog, Brandon. The two are now great friends. Plus a third, very timid and very thin, puppy visits and Marlon feeds her too. Eventually she will become part of the group.

The photos show Canela when she first arrived and now. You can even see the difference in the color of her fur and how it shines with health now! She still needs to put on a little more weight but we are getting there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosie

Rosie was picked up in the street, where she was lying in the gutter, by a group of volunteer Mariposa students on their way to work at the Santiago community garden project. She was horribly thin and covered in sarna, a skin disease which eventually kills. Bergman, who treated her, and is holding her in the second photo, was surprised that she survived. For the first few days with us she lay curled up in a ball, only waking to be fed a mixture of milk and soaked dog biscuits with a tiny amount of minced meat. She is a lively bundle now. Still tiny but very brava and defends Carlos and the farm against all intruders!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cappuccino

So named thanks to his coffee with cream coloring! He is our biggest horse and nearly always takes someone out for the Sunday ride. An ex- hippica horse means that Cappuccino was trained as a dancing horse (similar to dressage) and would have taken part in the celebratory parades that are part of every town’s yearly fiesta for the local patron saint. For some time after coming to us he would break into a little dance if the ride passed a house where loud music was playing. We don’t know his age exactly but think he is around 10 years and will retire completely from working within the next year. We will find him a green field in which to live out the rest of his days in well earned retirement!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parajo

Meaning ‘bird’ Parajo lost an eye in an accident so his previous owner did not want him anymore. He can be a little nervous if something happens on his blind side, such as a dog running out of a house barking at him, but he goes out with the group riding on Sundays as he is happy to tuck himself behind another horse and follow along!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panuelo and Chepito

These two were the first horses to find a home at the Mariposa. Working all their lives as riding horses on the beach at La Boquita, their owners were looking to replace them because of their age. Chepe was actually very ill and almost died from a form of arthritis which can affect horses very badly. Rather than give him lots of injections and medicines (horses are very delicate) Paulette decided the best treatment would be keeping him warm and giving him regular massage. It worked and Chepe now gives horse rides once a week with the rest of the group.

The photo first shows Chepe when he first arrived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karencita

Sadly this foals mother, Coralea, died after stepping on a rattlesnake (the horses have since been moved to a much safer grazing area) and she was left orphaned. We did not know whether she could survive as she was very young but, with the help of a volunteer called Karen (after whom she is named) and a lot of bottle feeding she pulled through and is a now a lively teenager.

Karencita now likes nothing better than to hang out with her papa, Panuelo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ceniza

Born 2 months ago this little baby is proving to be a big hit! He is already very tame and likes to be petted between the ears. He is still supplementing Mum’s milk with the bottle!! That’s Mum in the background, she is in extremely good health which is great. His name Ceniza means ‘ash’ as he was born on the side of the Volcan Masaya.