Posted by: meaghaninwaslala | December 2, 2009

Communicating in Waslala

By Meaghan Gruber, Water for Waslala Field Manager in Waslala, Nicaragua

Raddddddio Waslala! Ciento-Seis punto cinco! (Waslala Radio. 106.5)

Rosibel, receptionist at the radio station 106.5

Every day at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., “The Voz de la Inmaculada” (The Voice of the Immaculate), an hour long program hosted by various ministry members within the parish, is broadcast throughout the municipality of Waslala. For over ten years Radio Waslala has been on-air entertaining thousands of Waslalan listeners.

The radio station is also an important information source and communication vehicle for the parish, as it disseminates important events and meetings as well as announcements about the needs and well-being of individual Waslalans.

The radio is one of the only communication mediums available in Waslala. A cell phone tower was built in Waslala a few years ago; however, those that are lucky enough to have cell phones live in the town center. The majority of the Waslalan population lives outside the city and does not benefit from cell phone service. For these residents, inbound communication occurs through the radio, and outbound communication occurs the old-fashioned way – walking or riding mules to the town center or other remote villages.

While the radio is an important communication vehicle, the signal is weak and doesn’t reach the entire municipality. In addition, many Waslalans have converted to evangelical sects and don’t listen to 106.5, but rather the evangelical radio stations.

Virginia and I have struggled to overcome these communication gaps. On multiple occasions we have traveled a full day to meet with a community, only to find out when we arrive that they had no knowledge of the meeting or were not prepared for our arrival. This has been very frustrating as is not only a meeting lost, but a significant waste of our time and resources.

To overcome these challenges, we have formed relationships with cell phone owners in each community so that we have at least one point person in each community we visit. In addition, we broadcast future meetings on 106.5 as well as on the evangelical radio stations to make sure as many people know about the meeting as possible. Lastly, we schedule future community meetings in person when possible instead of relying on cell phones and the radio stations to relay the information.

We continue to find new challenges, but we are excited to overcome them and make progress in each community. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Responses

  1. That’s awesome Meag! It’s fascinating to hear about the types of challenges you face and how you creatively overcome them. I’d love to see more posts like this 🙂

  2. puuchica! miss you rosibel & meag. . . keep up the great work over there in nica. love to all


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