Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Celebrate Life

Greetings from picturesque Nicaragua! As I write to you today, I’m aware of so much rich life contained within this area of our planet Earth. And all of this richness amidst so much poverty. For example, as I sit in my office here at Cantera I can see gorgeous and abundant plants, trees and flowers. But even more importantly, just outside the office and ‘over the wall’ there are presently, eleven beautiful and gifted youth working away at painting the front wall of Cantera’s offices in honor of our 20th anniversary. I will send photos soon and you’ll see the beauty and creativity of this project.

All sectors of Cantera’s involvement, both urban and rural, came up with the ideas and the artist directing this activity wove them together into this beautiful manifestation of hope and life. All the figures and symbolism intricately woven into this work of art represent the wide variety of Cantera’s works and activities. We are very proud of what has been accomplished and are hopeful for the future of this Center of Communication and Popular Education.

Three Sisters of St. Joseph work here in the midst of many committed Nicaraguans, attempting to influence the future of this beautiful but very, very poor section of Central America. Today, the youth promoters from the rural areas, where I am present in the areas of spirituality and community health, are putting some final touches to this impressive work. They take great delight in working painstakingly on each section. Daniel, Sulma, Maria Elena, Belkys, Alba, Norelis, Nadesda, Jessica, Brenda, Fernando and Dominga are wonderful examples of our hope for the Nica future. They are leaders in their rural areas and share and live the leadership training and enrichment they have received. Needless to say, we’re very proud of each of them.

Yesterday I encountered two other particular examples of beauty and life as we visited families in the comarca, Los Filos. One stop was to greet our promoter, Johana, who had given birth to a beautiful little girl, Sabrina. I was delighted to hold her and gaze on this newly arrived gift of God, a miracle of life, a new dawn, a new expression of hope for the future. Did I care that my khakis were wet from her diapers? Not at all! We then went to visit a widow and her two adult children, Blas and Patricia. Dona Benita is a wonderful example of the valiant woman who tends her large farm built on a hillside at the ‘end of the road’ and does so with joy, gratitude and an energy that is remarkable. I kid you not; hers is the LAST dwelling greatly separated from any other neighbor at the end of a LONG, VERY NARROW set of tire tracks that is pure MUD. We went up hills and down hills and slid and ‘danced’ in the pickup. But our very capable driver and friend, Pedro, did an excellent job of keeping us upright and moving forward! I had visions of spending the night with Benita and family as it began to rain, but we hopped into the truck and off we went, back over the terrain we’d traversed a couple of hours before. The Senora was so delighted to see us and had prepared lots of boiled corn for us to munch and some special tortillas to take home with us. Of course, there was fruit from her trees, as is always the case when we visit our campesinos/campesinas.

All of the above is to say that I celebrate LIFE daily here in Nicaragua with and through our people who are such good role models for me. And at the same time I’m so aware of the injustice that permits such poverty within our family of sisters and brothers for the grand majority here and in so many parts of our global village. I’m grateful for the privilege of sharing life with my Nica family and at the same time give thanks for each of you who are supportive, interested, and share this mission with me.

Love and gratitude,
Your sister, Jeanne

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