When you meet someone special…

One of the hardest parts about living in Nicaragua is the amount of suffering happening all around you, everyday. It’s hard to accept that you can’t help everyone, even though your heart tells you that it is the right thing to do. This means setting limits and investing your resources in projects that will make a sustainable difference. However sometimes you meet someone who breaks your heart wide open and you would give anything in the world to help them.

Meet 5 year old Nayansi and her mother Francisca.

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Nayansi was born with spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and is paralyzed from the waist down. She has already had 7 surgeries and will need at least 5 more.

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She lives in a very poor rural neighborhood, far removed from any non-profits or organizations that could potentially help her, and the only landmark is the landfill full of burning garbage.


Her father abandoned them after finding out about her birth defects, when her mother was 4 months pregnant. Life for Francisca has been beyond difficult as the sole caretaker of Nayansi AND of her father, an amputee, who suffers from diabetes. The three of them live together in this windowless shack made entirely of corrugated metal. Making ends meet has been impossible, given the situation, and as a result they live a life of abject poverty.


Francisca did not ask for money, but instead for a wheelchair for her daughter that she has carried everywhere for the past 5 years. Thanks to generosity of Darrell Ward, a Rotarian from Oklahoma, her wish was granted.

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Despite Nayansi’s physical disabilities, she is a happy little girl who makes jokes, smiles and laughs. She was thrilled to receive the assortment of art supplies and books we were able to give her.

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This little girl has touched our hearts in a way that words can’t describe. We are committed to doing everything possible to continue to help her family. We are beginning to gather resources and if you have any connections or suggestions of people/organizations who may be able to help, please contact us at: futurerootsproject@gmail.com

Stay tuned for updates and sign up for our newsletter if you’d like to receive a monthly summary of our projects!

3 Weeks, 300 Filters

The past three weeks has been full of water filter trainings and distributions in collaboration with Darrell Ward, a member of the Rotary Club of Muskogee, OK.  People in these communities who collect rainwater, from the ground and any other place they may be able to find it, use these bucket filters to provide purified water to their families.  In a country where clean water is hard to find for drinking or cooking, these Sawyer filters are a blessing and we have been repeatedly thanked or gifted mangoes in appreciation.

100_2165300 filters have reached 1349 people in a total of 8 communities.  This is not the beginning or the end of this amazing project, to date 650 filters have been distributed throughout Nicaragua and next year, Darrell will return for another distribution.

100_2110It is almost impossible to describe the conditions that some of these families live in; some live a few meters from the landfill and deal with a terrible infestation of flies.  Others find themselves and their children sick from waterborne illnesses because they have to scoop water from a hand dug ditch for their drinking water.  And others deal with mosquitoes that carry diseases like Dengue Fever and Chikungunya, both causing dangerously high fevers that can be fatal.  Others have no option but to buy water from a tanker trunk that may or may not pass by their homes every 8-15 days.

It has been a pleasure to assist in the distribution process, which includes interviews, assembling bucket filters, and post-surveys.   We have met many new people who have helped us organize these community gatherings, such as Leonel, who is a member of the El Tunel, an barrio located outside of Masaya.  He has become our newest contact person for this group of people and has extra parts to repair any bucket filter that many have an issue.  We cannot thank him enough for his help and look forward to seeing him in the new future.

100_2173As educators we are always pleased to meet the children of these communities.  These kids live rough, rural lives and may have to walk miles to get to school, but we are thankful that they at least have the opportunity to drink clean water that will keep them healthy and happy.  Of the 1349 people reached these past three weeks , 536 have been children.

Again, we have to thank Darrell for his dedication to provide clean water to the people of Nicaragua.  We look forward to working with him long into the future.



Rotary Water Filter Distribution-Week One

Jaime, Marta Castilo (President of the Masaya Rotary Club), Darrell Ward, Liz, & Pochote community members with their new bucket filters.
Bucket Filter Assembly Training

We are happy to have Darrell Ward here with us again in Nicaragua.  He is here with us for a month distributing bucket filters to hundreds of people in the rural areas of Masaya.  Darrell is a member of the Muskogee OK Rotary Club and has been working in Nicaragua for years distributing water filters and working on other water projects that aim to provide potable water and improving quality of life.  This is our first time helping with the distribution process. We started in Pochote, where 50 families went home with new filters that will provide clean drinking water for 30 year or up to one million gallons.

These Sawyer filters will remove all bacteria, viruses and parasites that live in the water found in these communities.  Our day began with Darrell giving a training on how to assemble the unit before each person received their own to assemble and show that they knew how to clean the filter before they could take it home with them.  Below is a video of one man assembling his bucket filter.

Darrell Ward with community members of Nandayure with their new bucket filters.

Day two was spent in Nandayure, another community outside of the city of Masaya where another 50 families received filters.  We drove to a small church down a dirt pig trail until we came to group of people waiting for our arrival.

Again Darrell gave an assembly training and after we stepped outside and began the distribution.  The video is of a women who we visited in her home showing us that she knew how to clean her filter.

Another important piece of this project is to visit homes that already have filters to check in to see how the filter is working, to ask any questions, and to do any repairs that may need to be done to filters.  We visited 10 families this past week, here are a few pictures of the home visits.

We want to thank Darrell for allowing us to help him on this amazing project, we are only one week in, stay tuned for updates about what else we will be busy with this month!




September 15th a Day of Independence

“The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821. Since its independence, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest, dictatorship, and fiscal crisis—the most notable causes that led to the Nicaraguan Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.”



Tuesday we celebrated with the community of the Laguna de Apoyo with a parade, gathering in the school, and a marching band.

Watercolors & Wheat Paste

100_1649 We have been working on another art project in our preK classroom here in la Laguna de Apoyo.  Working with watercolors and wheat paste we created a no-waste hand tree mural on our wall.  Yesterday we traced and painted our hands and cut them out, the scrap paper from our hands turned into the trunk of the tree.

Last night while making dinner I cooked up a batch of wheat paste to use as an adhesive that would hold up on the concrete walls of the room.  Wheat paste is widely used by street artists around the world to leave their piece of inspiration in public spaces.  It is relatively easy to make and keeps for a long period of time in stored in a sealed container,  which is a cheap alternative to glue.

wheat paste poster



August 2015 Teacher Training Granada, Nicaragua

For the past year Future Roots Project has been working with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education and have secured a monthly training with 1st Grade teachers from the State of Granada.  Last Friday we had our first training since our return from the United States.
Focusing on dynamic activities such as organizational tools, literacy, recycled art activities, music & more lets us share things we have seen work in our classrooms with teachers who need help the most.  We believe that it doesn’t take an iPad in every child’s lap to create a positive change in current classrooms, it takes teachers equipped with a set of useful tools that they have access to.
There is a true push for reform in the education system here in Nicaragua which means a time for growth & inspiration in classrooms. The reality is that these teachers have very little in their tool box right now, but we are working on changing that.


We want to send a shout out to our friend Kevan Sano O’Brien for stopping by school today with bubbles and outfits for all of the kids.  We always love seeing Kevan when she is in town and look forward to her visit again next year!

If you would like to make a donation please visit


Any support is very appreciated! Every dollar is used to sustain our project in Nicaragua, not to administrative costs.


Rotary Trip to Muskogee, Oklahoma

Flying into Tulsa, OK

DSC_0599We want to thank Darrell Ward and the Muskogee Rotary Club for being such amazing hosts these past few days.  It was wonderful to present to your club about the collaborative work we are doing in Nicaragua.  This water filter project is one of the most amazing projects we have witnessed in our time in Central America.  These small, affordable, and easy to clean devices have changed the lives of hundreds of people already.

DSC_0368me and familyWe were thrilled to finally meet the club behind this project and did we ever have a wonderful time.  The Rotary Club of Muskogee offered the coolest venue we have presented at yet, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

Thank you again for having us and we look forward to seeing you again next year, but now…it’s time to get back to Nicaragua!

After six trips, I think this will be this will be the last for this suite case.

100_1137We are so excited to get back to our project and friends in the Land of Volcanoes.  Thank you to everyone who makes our work possible and be sure to keep an eye on our website as we update you on this next adventure.

header realTo make a donation please visit


You can also contact us at futurerootsproject@gmail.com for more details about sending a donation via mail.

~Liz & Jaime


Fundraiser FinalWe would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to our annual fundraiser.  We will be back from Nicaragua to visit all of you & share about the work we have been doing for the past year. This benefit will help to raise money for us to continue working with the children in both urban and rural communities in Nicaragua.

We are excited to boogie with some of the greatest bands in the Twin Cities, seriously guys, THANK YOU!

Rich Lewis

The Rich Lewis Band plays a soulful mix of R&B, New Orleans and Motown. This blend of musical styles creates an infectious sound that makes you want to stomp your feet or shed a tear.


Take a sneak peak at what you are in for listening to this awesome group! In the words of Earl King,

“Society has no priority, were all one part of a whole.
When people scream and shout, you hafta hear em out. Everybody is a beautiful soul.
You gotta pull together, go hand in hand. You really got to do your best.
Wouldn’t it be a perfect sight to see: the whole world filled with happiness.”

Back for their second year, we are more than excited to welcome this four piece, bluesabilly band, The Abiders!

The Abiders

The band members are equally entertaining as they are talented. They have great chemistry both on and off stage and play lively originals and covers. Julie Weisenhorn writes the original songs full of relatable lyrics and adds a driving rhythm acoustic and vocals that can be sweet-as-pie one minute, and soulfully bluesy the next. From Liverpool, England, Doug Molland plays the perfect gritty vintage bluesman, pulling off licks and lyrics that harken back to Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf. In the true blues harp tradition, Karl Weisenhorn presents his own style making you think of such heros as Junior Wells, Norton Buffalo and Paul Butterfield. Rick Anderson keeps the groove going on stand up bass, and his vocals have that great rockabilly twang that makes the crowd go wild.


 Last year was a blast, we had a full day of dancing and fun with our family, friends, and community!  We want to thank you all for of the wonderful memories.  Here are a few photos…

Clean Water Project

This past month Darrel Ward, the President of the Muskogee, OK Rotary Club, visited Nicaragua to continue working on a clean water project in the area.  We had the opportunity to work with Darrel in Pantanal last year where he gifted a Sawyer water filter to a local community center.


These filters use the same technology that is used for kidney dialysis. The tiny micro tubes in the filters are so small that 99.999% of bacteria cannot pass through them. This means that the bacteria that cause cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and e. coli-related disease cannot be transmitted in the clean, filtered water to those who drink it or cook with it.

The filters can produce one gallon of safe water in 10 minutes and can be backwashed to continue to provide virtually bacteria-free, drinkable water for decades or up to 1,000,000 gallons. Because the water flows through the filter by gravity, no electricity is needed.
Through its annual wine tasting event, the Rotary Club of Muskogee has been involved in providing clean water to developing countries, first in Tanzania and now in Masaya, Nicaragua.We are doing this for two primary reasons:

1. Lack of safe drinking water is the primary cause of disease in the world today. Two million people (many of them children) die each year due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene and more than 50 countries still report cholera. Almost 5% of the world’s disease could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

2. There are now better tools and procedures to improve drinking-water quality and there are simple and inexpensive ways to treat and safely store water in homes. Muskogee Rotary is concentrating its effort in Masaya, Nicaragua.

•Less than 60% of people in rural Nicaraguan communities have access to clean, safe drinking water.
•Though an international community, Masaya is close by and accessible.
•Masaya Rotary Club members, including the minister of health and a physician, are working with us to bring clean water to Masaya. (http://www.muskogeerotary.org/)

Pantanal, Nicaragua

When you eliminate waterborne disease from a village you empower that village in more ways than you can imagine.

•Recent studies have shown Sawyer filters eliminate up to 85% of all diarrhea disease within the community just weeks after implementation.

•The filter pays for itself within a year with money that would have been spent on medical bills or fuel/wood to boil water.

•Income that was spent on medical bills for preventable diseases is now spent on food and other essential items.

•Men and women are healthy enough to work and earn a living.

•Parents don’t have to stay home from work and tend to their sick children.

•Children can attend school and get an education

~Darrell Ward

Darrell and his club are currently working on disturbuting 300 plus bucket filters to rural communities that remove bacteria and viruses from existing water.

IMG_2568  IMG_2569Pre-studies on this project showed that on average households were using one third of the family income on clean water, these filters now provide clean water at no cost to residents.  In a country where the majority of people live on $2 a day, a third of your income can be life changing, allowing for a recognizable increase in quality of life.

These are the types of projects we are grateful to be a part of, they provide a necessity that we as teachers cannot provide, however, we are able to help facilitate the implementation of project in communities who need them the most.

waterClean water projects here in Nicaragua provide an essential basic need to people whom live in extreme conditions. One huge issue we hear about all the time is lack of water and we look forward to continue working with Darrell upon his return in September.

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