Field Study and Service-Learning MediaBlog

28 March, 2014

La Granadilla: Impacts on Society and Tourists

La Granadilla is a rural community where a cooperation of farmers offers tourists the opportunity to learn about their way of living in a rural community where your normal items are not easy to access. Here in La Granadilla people can walk down trails that lead to different farms and houses of the farmers within the community running La Granadilla. Tourists can also rent bikes and horses for the day as well. La Granadilla offers tours in oxcarts as well and different choices of lodging options. The main spot where tourists stay is in the communal house of La Grandilla, which is the main site. This building provides bedrooms, dining tables, showers, bathrooms, and a communal library. All the farmers running La Granadilla are all part of UCA Tierra y Agua. This organization offers other activities like more trails and visiting the local community of La Granadilla. UCA Tierra y Agua is a great organization that offers social projects to the community as well. It is a great way to get the community involved in different things. The community farmers of La Granadilla take part in helping out with the social projects as well. The projects help inform other people about the environment and other things.  

Since 1999 UCA Tierra y Agua and the farmers of La Granadilla got the help of teachers from different areas of Nicaragua. They have a program of scholarships that are offered to sons and daughters of partners within the community. The kids receiving the scholarship are studying secondary and college degrees. The scholarships cover about 80% of the educational expenses like books and other materials needed for school. The people that get offered the scholarships meet in their own community. They study subjects of their interest and at the start and end of the year they first plan and look ahead at the activities they want to achieve during the year.  UCA Tierra y Agua also has several social projects that try to fit the needs of every community in the surrounding area. One of the projects was the construction of the communal houses in different areas that did not have a place to meet, for example the communal house in La Granadilla. The houses have been able to turn into multipurpose places. They are used for meetings, studying, and other uses of the community. Besides the communal houses, UCA also meets the social needs of housing facilities. They have built houses in the communities of Miguel Castro Siles and Rommel Carrasquilla in the region of Aguas Agrias.

Tourism is very important to the community center. It is needed for them to generate a source of income. In La Granadilla, they designated a specific building right in the middle of the place to have meetings for tourists. In the next year Granadilla wants to get tourists approval in order to take tourists different places. In the early 90’s meetings with tourists happened under the big tree near the entrance of the place. This spot was not good for holding meetings. Although it provided shade, it did not provide any cover when it rained. That is when they needed to build the big building in the middle of the place to hold meetings. The same Spanish organization UCA Agua provided La Granadilla with funding. They received money from the organization, but it was the people in the community that did the labor. It was finally built in 2000 with the help of 25 members. Five members each day rotated to finish the construction of the building. By 2002 the building was finally set up for tourists. The first tourist group that came to La Granadilla was going to stay at another place, but there was room provided there for them. It was a group of 16 people, which was the first and largest group they have ever had.

La Granadilla is a small community center for tourists. It is located in Granadilla, Nicaragua. It started in 1981 and has been growing ever since. It consists of 17 different families in the surrounding area. Out of the original 12 members that founded La Grandilla, only one is alive today. The 12 original members had to work together in order to gain land in the first place. The land would have not been given to them if they were not working together. The government distributed land to them to get the project started. The main objective in the beginning of the community center was to use the land that was provided to them by the government. They used it for beans, rice, corn, and cattle ranching. With the amount of tourists coming in each year, La Granadilla has gained more money. With the money they have gained, they have been able to afford new things and expand their community center. The social aspect of this community center is very important. Without the help of the other people running this, the land may have never been given to them in the first place.  Them working together is key to their success in this business.

In the years of 1988-89 La Granadilla received no funding for micro financing. When the funds stopped from the local government, the only funding that remained for them was from Spain. Before the funding started, a single Non Government Organization foreigner came from Spain to visit the community center. He liked what he saw and made sure the NGO would finance and support them. By the end of 1994, the Spanish NGO got less motivated in supporting La Granadilla. The NGO was not supplying as much funding as it started. In 1994-97 only 7 people out of the 17 had support from the NGO. While this was all happening with the Spanish NGO, between the years of 1990-94 each family was given a cow and farming machinery. This helped the families a lot because it provided them with a source of food and milk. Making sure to work together was very important for the groups of people. This is how they were able to find another NGO that helped finance them. The name of the NGO was UCA Agua. With the help of this other organization, La Granadilla was able to benefit from it. It helped finance them for several years.

                                                                                                               Author: Jordan Kalebaugh