Nicaragua: Food Distribution to the Miskito Communities

by World Food Programme | World Food Programme
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 08:20 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

WFP ensures that those in need do not go hungry. This month food was distributed to one of the most remote areas of Nicaragua, the Miskito communities. It is a region that few have visited. Its people are natives to the Caribbean coast, retain their own language, ancestral traditions, and communal organization. 

The first distribution was to the municipality Rosita, located inland. However the distribution of food to the 9 communities located on the shores of Prinzapolka was a logistical challenge for WFP. Food was delivered via barges. In total 353.4 metric tons of food were distributed.

This operation was coordinated by The National System for Prevention, Mitigation and Attention to Disasters (SINAPRED) and the North Atlantic Regional Government (el Gobierno Regional del Atlántico Norte in Spanish), both of whom presided over the distribution and were a major influence in the organization of the distribution to the Miskita communities.

The coastal communities of Puerto Cabezas to Prinzapolka were a task to be reached. By land a mere 70 kilometers apart but by sea it is a 6 hour journey. This journey began in the capital of Managua to Puerto Cabezas. Trucks carried 290 metric tons of rice, fortified cereal, micronutrient powder, vegetable oil, beans, salt, and dates, a 375 kilometer stretch on dirt roads in disrepair.  From Puerto Cabezas the sea adventure began. 

The barges unable to dock at the communal piers, anchored themselves as close as possible to shore. Motor boats were then utilized to transport the food to the communities, this in itself a tolling task. Before transported to shore, the food had to be prepped, each crate and bag covered in plastic to prevent them from getting wet. Once on shore the food had to be unloaded again, counted, and then distributed. The process required a lot of energy from the sailors, community, WFP staff and Government officials. 

Working intensely day and night for 8 days was strenuous. But the whole team fueled themselves off the enthusiasm of the community. "The people have suffered through many difficult times. Heavy rains threatened the food security. I know that that the food brought here with the help of donors will put smiles on the faces of many children and families", said Judge Marvin Green Morales, of the community of Prinzapolka.   

From the Eyes of the Author

The sun beats down intensely on the men of the community as they unload the food from the barges. In the town the palm trees provide shade. The houses like the people are simple. They are made of wood and have large windows; they are raised on pillars as a precautionary measure for flooding.

The crates of food call the attention of the children as they flock around the men. Women also gather around the distribution site anxiously waiting the moment the food is distributed to the families.

The community organizes themselves for the distribution of the food. Suddenly the community figures, men and women, begin to talk in their native Miskito. "The first who should receive food are women," say some. "First the elderly," say others. "The food should be for the whole community, not just a part," shout a few.

With a small grin and light chuckle I lean on a palm tree. And take it all in. We did it. There is food for the whole community