Hola from Nicaragua as we begin a new month! As of last evening we are in the national fiesta of St. Dominic. This celebration will go on through August 10th which is a national holiday. We seem to have a great number of “feriadas” translated, ‘free days, holidays’. A small statue (and I mean small!) of St. Dominic will be taken from one parish of St. Dominic to another (actually staffed by Jesuits)….an interesting contrast, as the first parish is in the upper rent district and the second is in one of the poorest sectors of Managua. Needless to say, there is a lot of music and firecrackers and festivities.
This past month, among many other activities, I accompanied a group of high school youth from Milwaukee for three days of their two week stay. We enjoyed each other and I know they returned with much to ponder as they enter their senior year. It’s been a long time (like 37 years!) since I worked with teens but it was a delight to be with them. Part of the experience was to travel without all the gadgets and technology to which they are accustomed. They enjoyed chatting with each other and playing Scrabble and other such games. It was a different experience in more than one way for them! I minded saying good bye to them and I think it was a bit difficult for some of them to say “adios” to Nicaragua.
It’s also time for two young women, Christine and Laura, to complete their two years of volunteering at a local center near our home. Dianne and I have had the privilege of accompanying them and I will miss them as they return to another life back in the U.S. Many are the graces for me as I walk with another. I learn more about myself and my God as we share experiences, joys and struggles.
This past week we had a three day workshop on “Spirituality”. It was indeed renewing with Tai Chi, dance, artistic expressions, sharing and just good space and time. We have this opportunity every year at this time and the same two women come to guide us. I actually enjoyed dabbling in water color which is not something I readily do. My other painting endeavor was yesterday when I touched up the inside of the undulating tin roof in my room. I managed to not fall off the ladder or cover myself, or other than the ceiling, with paint and am satisfied with the result!
We are still in the midst of reports and the writing of projects, as several of our projects are completed at the end of this year. One such is connected to Scotland and a fine young man who has the responsibility of the Latin American projects has been with us these past days. I have been translating and communicating with “Chris”. When I was introduced to Chris I just stood there and smiled….it never occurred to me that “Chris” might be Christopher and not Christine!!! We all had a good chuckle as I explained my reaction!
We’re in the rainy season and there’s no doubt why it’s referred to this way!! We’ve had tons of rain and much of it comes like prolonged cloud bursts with torrents falling very rapidly, so rapidly that streets become mid-calf deep with rushing water and the houses of the poor which are not sturdily built, to say the least, are damaged or destroyed.
I will finish with this morning’s attempt to get to the office. I stopped and paid the water and electricity bill without difficulty. Then I waited for a bus…normally, they run frequently, but my usual bus didn’t come readily so I did what I know I shouldn’t do….hopped on a #110 which has never been a good choice! Actually, it wasn’t crammed this a.m. BUT I was so absorbed in my Sudoku puzzle that when I looked up we had passed my stop! The driver had a death wish and was driving very fast … however, it was my fault that I missed the spot! When I got off, I started walking to the office, thinking how lovely to see the Rotunda of St. Dominic with all its fluttering, multi-colored pennants flying in every direction and then realized that the route didn’t look quite right. I’m known for not having a sense of direction!! I had taken the wrong “arm” of the rotunda and was NOT headed toward the office. I corrected the mistake (perhaps I need a GPS system, but on second thought it wouldn’t work here because there are no street names or numbers!!!) and proceeded to have a nice long, exercising walk which I needed. So the positives were… that I saw the decorated rotunda and I got exercise!
Take care, each of you. Know that I’m grateful for your love and support. I carry you with me here in Nica land.
Peace and gratitude,