In 1999, following Hurricane Mitch, Maui residents Dan and Charlotte Flavin, now President and Vice-President of Somos Ohana Nicaragua, volunteered to help with reconstruction and medical care in Nicaragua. Since then, they have continued to address urgent needs identified by local partners in the area.
“In 2006 we registered Somos Ohana Nicaragua as a nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) status to help continue and expand our work,” Charlotte explained. “Our name, Somos Ohana Nicaragua, translated means ‘We are family with Nicaragua’.”
Charlotte continued, “For over 15 years, with our Nicaraguan participants and our generous donors, we have renovated and built schools, and volunteered in the re-construction of homes and medical care. Examples of our work include water systems, physical therapy services, bicycle grants to students with long commutes to high school, transportation for cancer patients to therapy venues, granting of college scholarships to students majoring in education and health services, and holding a summer day camp for special needs youth. We are deeply grateful for all the interest, and kindness of Maui residents who have volunteered and supported our mission. In any country, a good education prepares children for broader choices of employment.”
Somos Ohana Nicaragua board members added their thoughts, “It is important to witness the lives of others less fortunate and to help improve their lives,” said Edith Don. John Powley said, “I volunteer what I learned working with rural communities while in the Peace Corps. This includes providing clean water, healthy animals and drought-resistant crops.”
James Kahler, board secretary and retired physical therapist, continued, “I feel that I have gained more than I’ve given.” Judith Buettner, substitute teacher and board member, agreed, “I see us as planting a seed for change, for the good.”
Board member Mele Stokesberry concluded, “It’s really amazing that we get so much done with each dollar donated. We serve to fulfill basic human rights, in a spirit of compassion and service to humanity. In turn, we receive friendship, and learn from their shared wisdom.”
We are also working with the local Nicaraguan communities by educating for survival during severe drought that is changing lives in rural areas.
Dan and Charlotte Flavin, President & Vice President, Somos Ohana Nicaragua