May 21, 2015

By Fred Koenig

In early April, volunteers from Kansas City, Springfield, Fayette, and Columbia joined the Rainbow Network 20th Anniversary “Go and See” tour in Nicaragua. Megan Munzlinger, Rainbow Network Development Director, guided them to more than a dozen remote rural villages where they saw houses under construction and children enjoying nutritious food at Rainbow Network feeding centers. They met Rainbow Network staff and volunteers, doctors, nurses, teachers and students. More than 1,000 students receive scholarships for high school and college, and four Missouri travelers met their scholarship students.
    
In one community local folks had a special celebration of PETs (hand powered 3-wheel vehicles that provide mobility for leg handicapped persons). In another, micro-loans were distributed to 24 applicants. 
    
Each applicant told how they planned to use the loan to increase family income. 
    
Their plans ranged from purchasing cattle for growth and resale, to buying large quantities of milk to make cheese; from buying pigs to butcher and sell the meat, to buying fabric to make clothing and household decorations. In three communities new houses were being built by the future home owners. Plans are in process to construct 95 new homes this year.
    
Handmade wooden desks constructed by a Columbia wood worker and shipped by Container Project were seen in use in several communities. Children and teachers are so grateful to have desks!             

Rainbow Network is requesting 200 more desks. Construction plans are available at the PET Warehouse, 1908 Heriford Rd., Columbia, MO 65202; 573-886-7877. 
    
In addition, there is a special request for good quality, sturdy children’s shoes, either new or used in good condition. Shoes make a big difference for children’s health and safety. Shoes and desks may be delivered to the PET Warehouse.         

Cash contributions for desks and shoes are also helpful. Make checks to: Container Project; and mail to 1908 Heriford Rd., Columbia, MO 65202. For more information about Rainbow Network, go to www.rainbownetwork.org.