As I report once again from the land of the Nicas, I am aware that several more folks have been checking this blog periodically. That feels good and it helps me be more aware of our connectedness no matter where we are geographically. It also reminds me of how small our beautiful Earth has become because of our relationships. I’m grateful for each of you as we journey together.
We continue to experience LOTS of rain and because of that, greenery abounds. We have very fertile land here and are more than able to feed ourselves AND many others, but agricultural products are being exported for a higher price in order to produce biofuels in other countries. That does nothing to adequately feed our own people. And for sure, the people who labor to produce the corn and soya don’t gain anything more for their hard work.
Most recently I spent a Sunday with our folks in Los Planes de Cujachillo as they celebrated their religious feast of Our Lady of Nancite. I had experienced quite similar celebrations in Peru but of course, each country has its own history and traditions. I started out very early so as to arrive on time at the bus terminal in order to hop on a bus that ALWAYS leaves at 7:30 a.m. – but it became evident that this is not the case on Sundays! There are always alternatives and so I caught another bus that took me part way and then jumped into a ‘mototaxi’ (motorcycle with space attached for anywhere from 1 to 6 people depending on how crowded the driver considers safe!) These three aspects of the journey cost me a total of 10.5 cordobas (about 60 cents). A couple of taxi drivers offered to take me “the distance” for 100 cordobas! I laughingly told them I wasn’t a tourist and would decline their offer! They were good natured and laughed along with me. Light skin is worth the effort!
I was early of course, and so I waited and eventually the makings of the motorized shrine came along. Final preparations were made and we started our procession which was probably six kilometers long from the beginning point to the chapel. My friend, Jose, suggested that when we came to the end of the paved road I get into the truck cabin with him. That was especially appreciated because by the time we arrived at that point it was pouring. I had my umbrella which I was trying to share with an older woman who kept getting out the “range” of said umbrella, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get pretty wet! The nice thing is that one dries out rather quickly - and so it was.
For those of you who are wondering about “the hair”, I did manage to keep it dry! We were accompanied by a sousaphone, trumpet and drum and we sang and prayed and shouted and other appropriate things. The people were delightful and were pleased that I made the effort to accompany them. It was not important to them that they were drenched to the skin. Young and old alike were enjoying this special event so dear to them.
As we drew closer to the chapel there were three places where a rope had been tied at some height above the road. There were plastic bags hung along the rope and each contained some food item like a banana, a pineapple, beans, chips, candy etc. and when the truck bearing the picture of La Virgen de Nancite was underneath it, there occurred loud playing of instruments, shouting and joyful ‘noises’ as the rope was loosened and it was a ‘free for all’ with everyone scrambling to get something! Mass, complete with six baptisms - including precious, identical infant twin girls - followed the procession. After Mass we enjoyed a kermes, a variety of many wonderfully prepared typical foods. All in all it was a wonderful time to celebrate with the people.
Thanks for “tuning in”. I appreciate each of you and your interest and support of me and this Nicaraguan venture. Hopefully, you’re learning something about our people and the lives they lead albeit, very different lives than most of us are accustomed to. May we be instrumental in whatever way we’re called to do so, in making life more equitable and just for our sisters and brothers wherever we are. Thanks for whatever you do in this regard.
Love and Gratitude, Your sister, Jeanne