Friday, July 4, 2008

Feliz Dia

Well, today is the Fourth of July and I can just imagine the celebrations of my ‘blog followers’ who are citizens of the United States of America. Hopefully, wherever you are, the weather is being gracious and you’re enjoying a relaxing long weekend.

Here in Nicaragua my colleagues are aware of the day and have been wishing me a “feliz dia”. The weather has been cooperative today so far. That means that so far it hasn’t rained. I managed to get my clothes washed and dried this morning which is a good thing and not always easy to accomplish during this season here.

This evening we will be celebrating at our conference center which is a short distance outside of Managua. It is a “despedida” (farewell) for a group of art therapists from the States who have been here for three weeks and have been working with our children, youth and teachers in the city and rural areas. They’ve been staying with families in the area where they are contributing their services. These folks – 14 artists and 2 leaders - are from all over the U.S. Everyone is so pleased with what they’ve been able to accomplish during their short time here. The children have produced wonderful paintings and most recently they have painted murals on the outside walls of the schools. I’ll try to send some photos of their work in the near future.

The coordinator of this endeavor, Lynn Kapitan, has been doing this for several years. She teaches art therapy at a college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She’s a great woman and it has been a joy to have her with us. She did a four day workshop on Spirituality and Leadership. It was super! Another woman has joined her, a former member of this endeavor, and will accompany the four artists who are remaining for one more week, as Lynn is also leaving tomorrow. Creusa is Brazilian who has lived in Montreal, Canada, for ten years. She speaks incredible Spanish, English, Portuguese and French!! She too, is a lovely woman and so easy to be with.

As we celebrate our Independence, Day I’m so aware of how ‘unfree’ some of us still are. In some ways my Nica friends, though they lack a great deal of what we consider important, have a freedom about themselves that I don’t always witness in myself and others who are of ‘the land of the free’. They dream of a better life and go about trying to accomplish this, albeit with the amount of poverty that exists, it’s very difficult. However, their hope won’t quit and their joy in the midst of the struggle is admirable. They encourage us and together we keep on walking toward a better future.

Most recently I received news of the death of an elderly friend who had struggled with many physical limitations all of her life. Lois’ spirit was incredible and she joyfully made her way through life with the help of crutches, leg braces and a white cane to indicate her very limited eyesight.

When she died she had $1,000.00 in her bank account which she wanted to go to ‘the hungry’. This money will be used for purchasing: a pregnant cow - a set of 5 chickens, 1 rooster, fencing and screen – 100 pounds of bean seeds and 100 pounds of corn seeds! Yes, the hungry will be fed and poor farmers and their families will share what they have and also move into the future with a bit more hope, because seeds multiply, pregnant cows give birth to calves, calves grow up and produce more calves and chickens produce eggs, meat and more chickens etc. etc. etc. And so life gets a little bit better!

Adios for now!

Your sister,


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