Visit the small community of El Limonal , just outside of Chinandega, Nicaragua, and you’ll notice that it’s not like most. The 4,000 residents of El Limonal rely on a garbage dump for sustenance, selling what they find in order to get by, yet they are happy, friendly and thankful for what they have. Through a partnership with the Kamloops Fire Fighters Charitable Society (KFFCS), Bob, Diane, and our Executive Director Sanja recently visited the community for a week in November to bring the residents much needed supplies and identify additional areas of need.


Gerry Caceres and RLCF team at El Limonal Community Centre grounds

As an active donor in the Kamloops community for years, the Robert L. Conconi Foundation (RLCF) saw a unique opportunity to make a difference internationally by partnering with a local organization.  The KFFCS started Operation Nicaragua in 2009, striking a partnership with the Fire Fighters Association of Nicaragua.  In the 5 years since, they have sent over 12 fire trucks and 12 containers of supplies to the community, including everything from wheelchairs, hospital beds, clothing, and equipment to whatever materials were needed at the time.


David Sakaki of Kamloops Fire Department trains Chinandega Bomberos on a newly delivered fire-truck


Chinandega Bomberos (firefighters) and RLCF team

Everything from these shipments is used by the residents down to the very containers used to ship goods – which are now repurposed and turned into community centres, vocational schools, secure storage for the community, and donation caches for disaster relief. The KFFCS also helps train Nicaraguan firefighters and has helped establish a fire department on the Corn Islands just off the east coast of Nicaragua. They have recently gone through a grueling task of delivering a very fist fire truck to the Big Corn Island. The trip involved a 12 hour drive from the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua to the River Port of El Rama on the east coast of the country, followed by a 6 hour sail down the Escondido River into the Caribbean Sea and a 6 hour boat ride to Big Corn Island! RLCF has been involved with Operation Nicaragua for several years, as a donor and a big cheerleader for all the amazing individuals and organizations who contribute their time and funds to this project.

How can you help?

The Kamloops Fire Department continually accepts donations to their warehouse, where they store any items that might be of use to communities in Nicaragua and beyond.  Shipments are made on an as-needed basis, and individuals and organizations are encouraged to drop off donations on Monday nights at 800 Mission Flats Road.  If you’re not a Kamloops resident but still want to help, you can reach out through a Facebook group, Kamloops Fire Fighters Charitable Society.

As part of our 3 part Nicaragua series, next week, we’ll take a closer look at our trip to Nicaragua and the difference Operation Nicaragua is making in the communities across the country.

Robert L. Conconi Foundation

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