Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dear Friends,

I haven’t forgotten you!! By no means!! However, for the past two weeks I’ve had a gift in the visit of my dear friend, Marie Benzing, c.s.j . Needless to say, I didn’t do things like post blog info! The parent’s of one of Marie’s 1st graders gifted her (us) with frequent flyer miles so she could come to Nicaragua during the summer school break! Are we both grateful?? Response: a definite SI!!

Marie has arrived in Managua

While Marie was here we visited areas where I spend my time with the people – the rural hill country. We also had time in a retreat house which is the home of the St. Agnes Sisters of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. We did a bit of sightseeing and riding of buses (an event!!), attended a birthday party - Nicaraguan style, and experienced the Nica culture in many ways and met lots of my new friends and colleagues. Marie confirmed the fact that I am indeed at home here and am happy in the midst of much newness and challenge.

This is me with Evangelina, a wise woman of the pueblo

While here, Marie, with her gifts of artistic creativity and photography, put together a power point presentation, “Discovering Nicaragua”, which you can enjoy if you encounter Marie or when I’m home in December-January. All in all it was a blessed time and we are most grateful to the Fishers who made the trip possible!!

Meet my wonderful friend, Marie

Now life is back to a more ‘normal’ pace and I’m catching up on work in the campo and office matters. Sunday I plan to attend the fiesta of the folks in Los Planes as they celebrate their local patron, Our Lady of Nancite! More about this after the event! I’ll take my camera so you can visualize some of the experience.

This is me, Jeanne, a.k.a. Juanita, with friends of all ages - Los Planes de Cuajachillo

What has touched me over and over and was confirmed by Marie’s experience here, is the warmth, beauty and generous sharing nature of our people. They are simply open, responsive and loving. In the midst of very little of this world’s goods, they find beauty and joy and celebrate that. They work hard, trying to eke out a living and they continue to grow in the awareness of their individual goodness. They are aware of the effect that their collective planning, energy and determination can have in bringing about change, albeit in small matters, in an oppressive system that keeps them in poverty and inequality.

Thanks to the generosity of a number of you we are able to provide four women with the cow they so desire so that they can earn additional money from the milk, cheese and future calves. The people pay back, over a period of time, 30% of the cost and that money goes to their local community for needs and improvements that they collectively decide are priorities.

Well, enough for now. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I ask the same of each of you. Thanks for ‘tuning in’ and keeping up on life here in Nicaragua as experienced by your sister, Jeanne!