San Francisco Libre is a small rural town, surrounded by small outlying villages, with a population of about 13,000 people. It lies next to the huge Lake Managua (Lago Xolotlán) close to the magnificent Momotombo Volcano. Although the town is only 50 miles from the capital of Nicaragua, communications are difficult and the road is often impassable in the rainy season. A new highway is approaching the town, however.
The pace of life is certainly slower than in Reading, but the people of San Francisco have to overcome many daily problems: in relation to drinking water, firewood, food crops, employment, transport and education.
Although the tropical rains are unreliable, the economy is based on agriculture. Maize is grown to make ‘tortillas’, and beans and rice are staple foods. There is a small fishing industry and cattle are maintained for sale, meat, milk, ploughing and transport. These activities provide people with enough to subsist when the weather is favourable, however some recent years have been disastrous.
Recent years have seen restoration and development in San Francisco Libre, as our August 2012 Newsletter reports. A major redevelopment project is to move the town onto higher ground, safe from flooding. This will restore a true centre to the town.