Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Hola from Central America where the heat in its fury has returned. Until now we had experienced rather pleasant weather with breezes and warmth…but all good things must come to an end so that we realize what a gift we had!! Just kidding…I really don´t believe that!

We will soon enter into Semana Santa (Holy Week) which in Nicaragua signals vacation. Everyone seems to take off for some “other¨place. Well, we are going to do so, also. It´s important to enter into the life of the people, no? We will be at the Laguna de Apoyo where there´s a rustic cabin we can claim for the first three days of the week. Then we´ll return to Managua for the final days and observances of the Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday. More about the experience after the fact.

Most lately, we´ve been involved in checking on infrastructure matters in the farmland. That is to say….cement/iron tanks for holding the rain water which should arrive in mid-May and latrines. Today we will deliver materials for the construction of the latter and check on the progress of previous constructions. I accompany Claudio who is in charge of such matters and chat with the folks and renew acquaintances and make new ones. It´s a full day with lunch in the road under the shadow of a tree, our form of picnic. Claudio and I share what we've brought and just enjoy the sheer peace and serenity of the moment. I´m including a photo of a two week old calf, the offspring of one of our previously pregnant cows! We met this cute little fellow when we stopped to chat with Alejandro and Marta the other day. ´Tis the season for new calves and colts and many other creatures. The other day I was delighted to see at least 100 (I do tend to exaggerate, but this is no exaggeration!) guardabarrancos. This absolutely beautiful, colorful bird with two long thin black tail pieces with small black feathers at the tip, is our national bird. When the sun strikes them, they are iridescent! I believe the mating season was in full tilt!!

On a more serious side, just as you are experiencing the restrictions and anxieties of an economy in a downturn, so it has its affects here in an already depressed economy. We spend time trying to come up with ideas of how to fund our work with our Nica sisters and brothers but end up cutting back and trying to be creative while we search for new sources of funding. Just yesterday we were told that the $$ for the partial scholarships we are able to give to some of the poorest promising youth will run out. We´ve decided to pull back on the $$ for the high school students and concentrate on the scholarships for those who are studying in the university. These youth live far from educational opportunities and have to travel distances usually studying on Saturdays. These youth are our hope for the future. Pray that we will encounter a project that will address this need.

Well, the mangos have stopped bombing the roof and falling in our back patio! I´ll miss the free fruit but not the startling pounding on the roof all hours of the day and night.

The ¨Hermitage¨ is moving along but of course, nothing happens easily or without problems. As they were working on the bathroom plumbing it was discovered that the previous plumbing is in shambles….so poor Diana is living with a torn up floor and no bathroom facility. She troops across the street to our house and we´ll both be ecstatic when the whole project has a ¨finished¨ sign on it! It will be nice when it completed so in the meantime we wait and endure.

I shall close for now and look forward to seeing some of you before long…in less than a month. Take good care. May the remaining days of Lent be blessed with peace and growth and insight. Thanking you once again for your generosity in support, prayer and donations,
Your sister, Jeanne