Thursday, December 24, 2020

Still going!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! We may have put some new ideas on hold due to the global pandemic, but our fantastic crew in Nicaragua is continuing the good work thanks to your support! Here's the latest scoop: 

Although social distancing and mask wearing are especially difficult in Nicaragua, where many families don't have the means to buy special equipment or the choice to work from home, we tried to encourage mask wearing and hand washing at Centro PUMA

We tried to outdo ourselves with tree plantings for the wet season (June-October), and with the help of our kids, our staff raised and planted about 2000 native trees, starting from seed: 

The kids got some tree-planting excursions around Ometepe

And everybody got to enjoy the happiness of starting new life in the ground. 

Kids are always a big part of Centro PUMA!

Our weekly English classes and daily tutoring continues, and although the classes are designed for kids, all ages can and do attend. An older lady wanted to learn English because she sells goods to tourists from her house: 

We continued our family garden project with 2 new family gardens. One of our challenges this year was the lack of viable seeds for many of the plants we wanted, so we are partnering with another local group to develop a seed bank for family gardens. 

And although we haven't been making a lot of noise on the fundraising side, we continue to apply for grants and seek donations. The latter half of this year has been almost entirely supported by private donations from people like you. We took advantage of our "viral" comet photo to start a photo gallery, and you can still purchase photos with a donation to Guias Unidos. Visit our gallery at

Thank you again for your support, and we look forward to seeing you in 2021! If you are a donor, we will be sending out our end-of-the-year card and newsletter in the early new year. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Whirlwind of a new year!

It has been a whirlwind of a new year so far. Between a family death that took us back home and the coronavirus now threatening to shut down the world, it all seems like a blur. But thorough it all we have been busy developing Centro PUMA to take advantage of Nicaragua's uptick in tourism. 

In addition to continuing our regular community programs, we are developing a tourist information and service center to help support and grow alongside our education components. Let's take a look!

Kids still come in droves for educational activities including lots of games and drawing. We recently put up some chalk boards to doodle on:

After Ramon finishes his English tutoring with kids, they always find a way of having fun:

Our last regular meeting with last year's Junior Rangers included comparing our compost pile  to a trash pile that we made a year ago. Guess which one biodegraded and turned into soil for the garden?

We ended the meeting with a beautiful graduation ceremony where the kids walked a passage of candles where Arlin gives them their patch:

Doña Gladys's garden that we helped build is looking fantastic! She says that now her family is producing much more healthy vegetables at home, which has helped them financially as well as health-wise.

And now that tourism is returning (or at least it was until the coronavirus started), we are offering new services at Centro PUMA. It has taken all of our time over the last couple months to get these services going, but we are so proud of the successes!

We are partnering with Altagracia Spanish School where you can see Elieth teaching lessons in our beautiful garden:

We are exploring new, off-the-beaten-path tours, such as the "Cueva del Duende" lake shore cave:

Our garden has been producing daily bounties of fresh fruits and veggies

which our guides such as Serafin are now serving as incredible salads:

In addition to serving many types of coffee and smoothies in our "coffee garden," we offer traditional fire roasting of locally grown coffee. Here, Edgard leads a toasting session,

followed by tasting, of course!

We offer chocolate making, from fresh cacao beans--toasting, grinding...

to forming into bite-sized pieces:

 Finally, we have developed a small visitor center with maps, brochures, naturalist books, tour info, a coffee and refreshment menu, and even a small sales area where you can buy locally produced goods such as spices and fruit wines.

There is still a lot left to do, but we wanted all of our supporters to know that we are working hard and we will keep you updated. If you have visited us and want to help, please make a donation at and put in a good word for Centro PUMA on Tripadvisor, Facebook, or Google Maps!

Stay safe and healthy!