“Agnes Jean Brugger, mother of five children, was a Parish Nurse Coordinator in St. Louis Missouri when she began attending events that touched on Central America in the 1980s. She subsequently joined the Interfaith Coalition on Latin America led by Sister Maggie Fisher and went on trips to El Salvador with the group.
Jean recalled, “From the time I set foot in Central America, I felt the call to do something here, and it couldn’t be denied. Everything just moved in that direction.”
When she retired in 1995 she and Maggie traveled to Nicaragua and stayed with Grant Gallup, a retired Episcopal priest who was running a guest home in Managua. They happened to take a weekend trip to San Juan del Sur and Jean fell in love with “this picturesque place and its people.”
Jean delivering uniforms in 2004
In 1998 Jean Brugger made San Juan del Sur her home and began looking for ways to achieve her goal of assisting the people of Nicaragua through education and opportunity.
Jean began a program in 1999 she called “The Uniform Project.” At that time if a family couldn’t afford a uniform for their child, the child couldn’t attend school, a policy that perpetuated poverty. Jean partnered with a San Juan del Sur resident named Lillian Reyes to hire women to sew the uniforms. Jean raised funds from her friends to purchase the materials needed and pay the women. In this way she achieved both her goals: providing employment and encouraging educational opportunities. The delivery of uniforms to schools was always a joyous occasion, celebrated by the entire community.
Jean has written a book about her adventures. Sunset on the Pacific is available on Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle (paperback $7.99, Kindle $1.99, Kindle free with purchase of paperback.)