International Work

Post-Hurricane and Climate Support for the Elderly in Nicaragua

Post-Hurricane and Climate Support for the Elderly in Nicaragua
AMC staff Ervin Jiron and Claribel Wilson pose with Denecia Lopez and her granddaughter while distributing the UMW-sponsored aid packet.

Denecia Lopez Salgado treasures her aid packet sponsored by the United Methodist Women emergency fund. Lopez Salgado, 72, comes from the community of Naranjal in the indigenous territory of Tasba Pri in the North Autonomous Caribbean Region of Nicaragua, exactly where back-to-back Hurricanes Eta and Iota passed through in November of 2020.

Of the 35,000 people living there, the storms impacted and damaged the homes, crops, basic household items and livelihoods of more than half of the population. The Tasba Pri people are not strangers to climate phenomena having lived through the devastation of Hurricane Felix in 2007.

Lopez Salgado lives with her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. There are few if any social safety nets for the elderly in Nicaragua. Lopez Salgado earns a little money to cover her basic needs by growing and selling goat chili peppers. For anyone familiar with these chilis, these are especially hot ones! But because her chili bushes were damaged by the storms, she has to replant them.

Through the United Methodist Women emergency fund, Lopez Salgado was one of 30 elderly men and women in three communities who received an aid packet with food, a hygiene kit containing soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, household cleaning supplies, a foldable cane, bedding and a mosquito net, as well as protective equipment to prevent COVID-19.

Lopez Salgado says, “I am very grateful for this package of help from God and AMC (Acción Médica Cristiana) and the United Methodist Women who always remember us. May God continue to bless you so that you continue to support us.”

More Gratitude

Another recipient, Cristina Watler McCoy, 70, says, “The food packet is a help but what will help me more is the cane. See, I was using this stick and have fallen twice. Now, thanks to God and you, I have this cane which will serve me for many years, and I won’t have to go around holding on to someone or worrying about a fall.”

Presentacion Gudiel, 85, lives in San Pablo, where he suffers from a chronic disease and is dependent on family members for his food and other needs. The aid packet provided by the United Methodist Women emergency fund helped him for a month. He shares, “I am very grateful to everyone who remembered me and those who gave the money for this donation. Now I am warm when it is cold, and I have my milk to drink with coffee. I'm really very happy.”

History of United Methodist Women in Nicaragua

Acción Médica Cristiana (Christian Medical Action) is a Nicaraguan, faith-based nonprofit organization that has partnered with United Methodist Women since 2005 to improve the livelihoods of women and their families in remote parts of the country.

The United Methodist Women grants have supported sustainable agriculture, microlending groups, child protection, clean water and health care. Through these initiatives, women become strong leaders with wider participation in decision-making and community relationships. The support helps to build the capacity of local women to discern and follow God’s call for their lives and be protagonists of their own futures.


Dr. Belinda Forbes is a Global Missionary from the United States to Nicaragua.

Posted or updated: 5/14/2021 12:00:00 AM

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United Methodist Women Economic Development Initiative (EDI) creates economic opportunities even in the most vulnerable rural communities. The seed grants support women entrepreneurs to start and run viable small enterprises, agribusinesses and income-generating activities. The opportunities that these small grants create for women, their families and communities are powerful catalysts, especially during COVID-19 when the economic situation is becoming more and more insecure.