Friday, August 28, 2009

Nothing and Everything

translating for our Canadian visitors at the inauguration of a new, small rural library

I thought it about time for me to be dropping by and letting you know I haven´t been washed away with the rain nor melted by the sun. Actually, we´re having less rain this year than usual and that´s a difficult matter for our campesinos and campesinas. The crops of red beans and corn and vegetables need rain during the ´rainy´ season in order to have enough to eat during the six dry months. Hopefully, the rains will become more frequent and penetrating. Well….would you believe, in spite of the sun that was present 10 seconds ago, it´s started to rain!!


Our poverty situation seems to worsen daily and one wonders how and when that will turn around, but we keep on walking with the people as they discover avenues for having a better, more just life.


moving along with the pregnant cow project

There aren´t many amazing things to report, but then life in Nicaragua, like life in the States has its very ordinary times and I think that´s a good thing. Otherwise, what would be √©xtraordinary´???? I have been doing my usual activities…visits to the farm lands, meetings with folks, visits to two different hospitals on the weekends, entertaining our neighborhood children with my accent, spoiling the area dogs, etc. etc. I will be going to the annual fiesta in Los Planes de Cuajachillo 2 of the Virgin of Nancite. I wrote about this last year in a posting and it´s hard to believe that it´s a year already since that first experience. The people are waiting to see if I´m responsible for the rain during the procession last year! It seems the tradition is that it ALWAYS rains before and after the several kilometer procession but never DURING it. Well….last year it POURED all during the procession! If that happens again this year, I may be considered the cause….such power! Anyway, it makes for good laughter!



We now have new volunteers working with us and the Cultural Center in our neighborhood. These are all young women from the States….Amanda from Fargo, ND, Greta from Jefferson, WV, and three whom I´ve yet to meet who are part of the group sponsored by the Capuchins. I had supper with Greta and Amanda a couple of nights ago and they are absolutely amazing. They have finished college and want to do something to make a difference and so they´re volunteering two years of their young adulthood here in Nicaragua. And….they´re good cooks to boot!! We had great conversation getting to know each other and I´m so impressed with their open and dedicated spirit. The three ¨Capuchinas¨ are in language school in Granada south of Managua and will be back here in two more weeks. I find the young folks a source of encouragement and life for me and I´m grateful for the privilege of being connected to them and their journey.


Julie has returned from her CSJ meetings in Los Angeles and Dianne has been in Louisiana for a week now and will return on the 14th of September. So….I´m in charge of the casa and though I miss Dianne, the space is good too. Dianne will come back with ´goodies´ and that´s always fun…a bit of Christmas in the middle of September!!


Last night I was in contact via SKYPE with my Renewed Local Community of CSJs and it is such a joy to be able to see and hear my close friends. I don´t get to share the meal….however, you can´t have everything! Technology is such a gift and I marvel at what one is able to do these days.


Tonight we will go to our main theater and hear our very own Batahola Norte Chorale as they sing various arias from some operas. It´s truly amazing what they can do. These are kids from the barrio who have been taught to read and understand music and have incredible talent! I will attend with a friend who came here as a Peace Corps. worker and never left. She´s from ??? (actually, I don´t know where she was born and raised!) and is so relaxed and enjoyable to be with. She is a very important figure in the health sector working with the poor in Central America and beyond.


Having nothing more exciting to report, I´ll close, being grateful for each of you and all you do to make this world a better place. Thanks for your prayerful and monetary support.


May all be well with you and your families and friends.


Your sister,


Jeanne


Monday, August 3, 2009

Reflections

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,
Jeanne