Friday, March 20, 2009


I wanted to include the following in my last communication but for a variety of reasons, it didn´t happen!

So....I want to tell you of another project that´s taking place. The people of Las Parcelas, one of our rural communities, have dreamed of having a chapel in their area for MANY, MANY years. Well, they decided that if they never started...even though they didn´t have the resources and everyone put in their ¨grain of sand¨, as they say here, then maybe it would eventually happen. Well they did...and it is very slowly moving along but the people have great pride in their accomplishments, simple as they are. The photos show you what they´ve accomplished so far. The beautiful young woman in the photos is Karlita, the granddaughter of the matriarch of the community, Gertrudis. They have a framework up and a roof on. They´re trying to figure out how to pay for the cement for the floor. Anyone interested in putting in their ´grain of cement´??

Also, we don´t have Easter egg hunts down here....we have mango (mahn go....not mang o) hunts. Every morning and evening and in between, Julie and I check out our back ´forested´patio for the mangos that fall from the neighbors huge mango tree!! The law says, if it falls in your´s yours!! Well, we find them in plain view but also within plants, bushes, behind shrubs, inside´s fun and I love mangos!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Odds and Ends

Dear fellow journeyers!

An update or two on some of the matters that I’ve written about recently would be in order!

The “Share in the Repair (Well at Los Planes de Cuajachillo)” project is coming along very nicely. We met with the Water Committee on Wednesday of last week and were able to give them the $800 that resulted from the generosity of people of Gesu Parish, Detroit, during the Ethnic Meal event and also $250 from a friend who read about it in the blog. They were so very grateful!! Photos and thank you’s are in process. They will begin work tomorrow. They have accumulated their part of the expense from the small amount the people pay for each barrel of water they extract. Also, a generous person has offered the use of their crane. So, all in all…everything is moving along well…and we’re all grateful. Water is SIO ESSENTIAL and sometimes we take it for granted. It’s gift and needs to be appreciated and cared for.

Those of you who know about the ‘hermitage’ that is being constructed will be glad to know that it is moving along…not rapidly but moving!! This will give me a private space to sleep and reflect. It will be in half of Dianne’s patio. Photos will come later.

Pregnant cows have not been apportioned and will not be until the rainy season is upon us and the pasturage is green. The poor cannot afford to buy feed for their animals. They basically forage on the abundant foliage that is available only in the wet season. It would be risky and wasteful to try to nurture a pregnant cow until there’s sufficient for them to eat. More later as this project continues.

I thought I’d just share some random “learnings” with you … things that have occurred in the recent past that have helped develop my character! Renewing my residency status: each year for three years I must gather the papers necessary so that the Immigration Service can say, “Jeanne can stay here another year.” Now that sounds harmless, doesn’t it?? Uh uh!!

  1. One must go to the police station of your district and have them issue a paper with your photo and a statement that says, “Jeanne’s been good and hasn’t been in trouble with us during the past year.” However, one must go to a particular bank first and pay the equivalent of $1.50 and return to the police station with said form. I didn’t know that so it involved a quick trek to said bank before I could START the process. Actually, this process wasn’t all that difficult, just time consuming. I retrieved said document a few days later.
  2. Both Dianne and I had to write letters declaring my authenticity as a CSJ (not difficult).
  3. Two passport size photos must be acquired….they only come in sets of 8!
  4. Copies of current residency card and passport need to be furnished.
  5. Money must be paid….$27.
Now…this was the REAL HURDLE: A Certificate of Health must be obtained from the Public Health System. It is free and that’s a gift, especially for our poor people. One day you line up for a slip of paper telling you when you can return for the blood work, ‘other’ analysis and tetanus shot. The day assigned you return before 7:00a.m. and stand in another long line and receive a number and then wait to have said analysis and shot done. The tetanus person didn’t show that day so that necessitated another trek. Then the tetanus shot must be validated with a rubber stamp from the ‘administration’. Results are obtained another day. And on…and on…
I did get the require half sheet of paper and all is in the hands of the fellow who helps us with our documents. My status expires before I return from the States so must be done in a timely
manner. It will be easier next year!!! I’VE LEARNED!

Another “learning” has to do with mosquito netting: If ever you need to use such, be sure that you have not ‘trapped’ a poor mosquito inside of the netting. Neither mosquito nor human will be happy however, the mosquito will have a great feast! Also, do not wrap yourself in the netting…it will come loose from it’s moorings on high and will land on top of you!! This is not nice in the middle of the totally black night. Getting ‘out from under’ is a challenge!!

I will be in the States from April 25th until May 26th for congregational meetings and other matters of family and community. I hope to see some of you then!

Some of you have heard my voice LIVE or in a phone message lately! This is because a kind and generous "Fr. William" from San Francisco visited and left us a video phone and paid the monthly fee for the can call the States free! Blessings on Fr. William and all of you who are so thoughtful and walk with us.

It’s good chatting with you. Thanks for your love and support.
Juanita a.k.a. Jeanne