Building Goodness Foundation Expands Mission to Nicaragua

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Managua, Nicaragua Managua, Nicaragua
Aerial photo of trip to Siuna, Nicaragua. Aerial photo of trip to Siuna, Nicaragua.

A team from Charlottesville's Building Goodness Foundation is on the ground in Nicaragua. The group, dedicated to helping those who need it the most, is expanding into Central America for the first time. NBC29's Henry Graff is traveling with them and will be reporting on the trip all week.

After the 2010 earthquake, BGF worked in Haiti to construct a primary school, a trade school and at least 50 houses. While BGF remains committed to rebuilding safe buildings in Haiti, it does see a new need  in the world.

Kelly Eplee, the executive director of the Building Goodness Foundation said, "So we now want to turn some of our focus away from Haiti, just some of it, to other countries in need."

Building Goodness Foundation has now set its eyes on the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere - Nicaragua. Nicaragua, located in Central America between Honduras and Costa Rica, is rich in culture but lacking in most other places, especially in the rural portions of the country outside the capital of Managua.

Managua is equipped with most modern infrastructure including constant power and water. Roads are drivable and cellular communication towers are everywhere. It's outside the capital where things dramatically change.

The town of Siuna is an 11-hour drive from Managua, 45 minutes by small plane. Siuna is a rural town with some water and electricity. You see donkeys and horses walking up the street, and there are pigs and chickens in just about every yard. The old gold mining town is home to some 100,000 people.

Siuna is the epicenter of BGF's work and part of a strategic plan change. Unlike in Haiti, BGF does not have a network of support in place in Nicaragua, which is a challenge for the group now trying to expand its working footprint into Central America.

"It is a little bit more challenging because every project is based on relationships. We build community and we find out that those needs are," Eplee said.

BGF is working to bring clean water to a hospital in Siuna that has been without it. On Tuesday's NBC29 HD News at 5 and 6, we will show you how luck played a big role in the project.

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