News Blog

Close to the finish line

I know, I know… it’s been way too long since I wrote the last update. But here it is finally, covering everything that has happened between July and October:

 

A BEACH FULL OF TURTLES, AND EVEN FULLER OF PEOPLE

I don’t like to refer to those people as poachers, because poaching sounds like something really bad. And of course, those guys who take the nests from the beach are doing something bad – they are basically killing wildlife. But for most of them it is their only way to survive, the only source of income.
Familys here tend to have up to eight children. Mothers are busy with household chores while the men are trying to feed them all. But how do you manage to do that when there’s no work? We’re in a very remote place where cattle grazing, fishing and growing crops are the only opportunities. But not everyone has enough land, or a boat, to do so – and let’s just remember that these activities also create environmental problems.
So all they can do is take advantage of the natural resources that are readily available.
Of course the local families also eat some eggs themselves, but mostly they sell them to middlemen who then sell the eggs to the markets in the bigger cities. It’s a huge business.

One nest can be worth 20 US-Dollars. That’s a big amount of money in a country where people earn 10 Dollars for a whole day of hard work. So it’s quite tempting to go and look for turtle nests.

Continue reading “Close to the finish line”

Getting in shape

Another four months have passed since we gave an update on our wonderful beachfront property and the start of the development efforts. We’re still kind of far from opening, but we’re slowly getting there….
You might wonder: “What’s taking so long?” until you understand the difficulties that come with our remote location and the advantages that come with a thoughtful approach. How many times have we changed and improved our designs until we found the perfect one? How many times have we discussed the same matter over and over again until we found an adequate solution? How many times did we have to accept failures, and take a new direction? How many times have we been waiting for information being passed on and materials being delivered? How many times did tools break down? How many times did we have to take an hour-long journey in order to buy one last missing piece?

 

Living in Venecia and being in a hurry are just two things that don’t match up. And that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Because sooner or later, people will come here in order to slow down, take a deep breath, reflect and revive. Continue reading “Getting in shape”

Living in a lonesome paradise

Since our move to Venecia in December 2018, there has been a lot of stuff happening. We have been preparing for the construction of the project infrastructure, adapting to our new life in remoteness, planting a lot of trees, discovering some native animals during the dry season and saving our very first turtle nests. But just see for yourself!

 

New challenges

Following the big move to our house, there was still a lot of work to be done. We planted a good amount of fruit trees, set up some small irrigation systems, further deepened our well, built an artisanal biofilter to treat our sewage water, improved the fence all around the property and found a nice spot up on the trees where there’s some good internet connection 😉

Continue reading “Living in a lonesome paradise”

A new chapter begins

It’s been five months since we introduced the world to our unique location on the Peninsula of Venecia (in this blogpost). Meanwhile, the rainy season has come and gone again and our beautiful off-the-grid brick house has been built. This is the story of what has been happening during all that time!

the beach in front of our property
the beach in front of our property

 

The house was fully designed by us, so we just needed someone to put the plans into reality. Fortunately, we had the right man living across the street from us in Chinandega, and he was happily willing to gather his team and build the house according to our specifications.

We wanted our small brick house to be nestled in between the trees, hidden in the rear corner of our property, about 200 metres away from the oceanfront. So NO, we don’t see the ocean from our terrace. But we will hear the waves crashing against the shore for the rest of our lives and are more than happy to undertake beautiful strolls through our enchanted forest in order to get to the beach.

Continue reading “A new chapter begins”

May I introduce… the future MEMANTA site!

Our beautiful piece of land is situated on one of the northernmost beaches on the Nicaraguan Pacific Coast called “Playa Venecia“. This beach stretches from the Padre Ramos estuary, a protected zone with lots of mangroves and critically endangered Hawksbill turtles, aaaaaalllllllll the way to the fishing village of Mechapa.
Despite some local houses, small fincas and a few expat homes, it is still considered a virgin beach with lots of native vegetation. This kilometer-long and conveniently wide stretch of sand is an important nesting ground for Olive Ridley sea turtles and maybe also for other types of sea turtles… the thing is: we don’t really know the details yet.

Location
the MEMANTA site from above

Venecia is one of the last spots on the Nicaraguan Pacific Coast which you would call “untouched”. It is at least untouched from tourism, but there have always been people from the local fishing communities living here. As one of the first businesses bringing tourism to this zone, we want to demonstrate that development per se isn’t bad for the environment, and that it can fit into highly sensitive coastal ecosystems if it is done right. Hopefully, we can act as a role model for any future building projects taking place on this very special peninsula, being an example for best practices when it comes to the coexistence of tourism development, community welfare and conservation efforts.

Continue reading “May I introduce… the future MEMANTA site!”