Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Greetings once again from hot, steamy, teeming rain, tropical Managua. The good news is that the rains have been coming more frequently so our farming folks can have hopes for a productive harvest. Without this there is no recourse for the folks of the rural areas, so I gladly raise my umbrella and try to stay somewhat dry…usually not successfully. However, there is no evidence of a ‘rain hat’!!

Speaking of the rural territories, I spent yesterday in La Ceiba. This is the furthest and highest area we visit. The day was designed for a workshop on Natural Medicine. The women and a couple of fellows had been collecting, pressing and drying various leaves that have medicinal value as homework following the previous workshop. Yesterday was devoted to attaching them to tag board by means of glue or sewing, naming them, describing what they were used to cure or prevent and instructions on how to prepare them. After this was completed….some had as many as 23 specimens!….each sheet was placed in a plastic sheath together with a title page,, holes punched in each and then tied with yarn. The project took time but was most successful and gratifying. The participants now have a compendium of useful information with which to meet the medical needs of their families and neighbors. Medicine is expensive and there are many natural items that have curative effects, cost nothing and also do not introduce chemicals into the body.

On the way to La Ceiba, we dropped of poles and tarps at the well at Las Yucas that will be needed for Monday’s receiption of the Prime Minister of Luxumbourg. She will be visiting to see first hand how the well which Caritas Luxumbourg/Switzerland and Cantera helped finance, is functioning. As we were jouncing along, I mentioned that I was hungry because I had forgotten to eat breakfast beingin a hurry to get to the office at 8:00…the prescribed time to leave. Of course, we didn’t leave until 9:40. So Claudio offered me a HUGE mango he’d acquired and handed me his Swiss Army knife! This was a VERY RIPE mango…I leave the rest up to your imagination - jolting truck, VERY JUICY mango, sharp knife, small plastic bag, originally clean shirt and pants…..!!! The mango was delicious!!

More people than anticipated arrived, including some who arrived just at dinner time. Strange that they should arrived just in time for food! Hm-m-m. My concern was for the meal we’d brought already prepared, but Regina and Victoria managed very well, making sure everyone had something to eat….even dividing up the cookies and wrapping them in a napkin…one for children, two for adults!

O course, getting there and returning always has its adventures, not the least of which is the return by the ‘bajada de San Andres’ which my colleague, Claudio, insists is much faster! I have my doubts about this. I’m going to prove scientifically that it’s not any faster. It may be shorter, but not faster because it must be traveled VERY, VERY CAREFULLY! He delights in exposing folks to this trail, especially if it’s a ‘first time’ which it was for two of the passengers one of which was riding in the bed of the pickup along with the empty cooking pots which kept sliding around and falling over!! We arrived safely and in good condition, if not a little muscle sore from the jolting and jostling! I arrived home sweaty, rain soaked, mango stained and dirty but content, since a profitable day was had by all … Nicaraguan campo fashion!

So much for another day in the life of a gringa in the Nicaraguan ‘highlands’.

Thanks for following these adventures and this adventuress. Gratitude for all you do to make this world and life a little easier for another/others.

Peace and Love,


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Home Again

The translation for the hanging, which is a representation of the previous gatherings in 1991, 1995, 2000, and 2005 (northern Brazil , Mexico, southern Brazil, Peru) starting from our roots in LePuy, France, in 1650. "Extending our Nets We Weave Unity".

Greetings from the land where six months of totally dry weather has given way to very, very wet weather! You can’t imagine how much rain can fall all at the same time!! For sure, the land needs the rain but my very wet clothes (especially the heavy ones I wore in Argentina!) don’t seem to be on the same wave length. Oh well, sooner or later they will dry…probably later!

"I'm the easiest to spot..'happy jacket' standing on extreme left...Marie Hogan, topmost 'head only' in back row...Dianne Fanguy, sitting a little left of center with bright pink shirt....Kathy McCluskey, to my left. Jan must have been elsewhere at the time of the photo. The two Haitian sisters seem to have 'not received the translation' and three others had betaken themselves to Toronto, Rome and Philadelphia! So much for large group photos!!"

We returned from the two week gathering of 101 CSJs who minister in Latin America and the Caribbean, on Thursday evening after nine hours of flight time and a there hour time difference. Arriving at 7:30pm (really 10:30pm in Buenos Aires) gave us some extra time to sleep, eventually. It was good to be home but the gathering, sharing and enjoying of so many of our sisters – fifteen different countries represented and nineteen different congregations of CSJs – were indeed gifts and very enriching. We ranged in age from the ‘early 30’s’ to the ‘over 80’s’. Youth and energy, mixed with wisdom and experience, was a wonderful blend! Spanish (at least two versions), Portuguese, Creole (spoken in Haiti), French and English were the languages you could hear at any one moment. Translators were kept ‘on their toes’ to keep everyone understanding. One connection was translating from Spanish or Portuguese to English and then into Creole!

We were blessed to have four of our sisters – two Haitians, one Canadian (English speaker), one Canadian (French speaker) - present so that we could enter somewhat into their experience of the earthquake and this time of reconstruction and healing. We also had among us, three from Chile who had experienced the earthquake there. These natural disasters take on a different feel when you hear first hand of the trauma and suffering along with the resilience of the people. Needless to say, we now feel much more connected and interconnected.

We had two days when we visited some of the ministry sites of our Argentinian sisters. They are connected with so many wonderful ministries with the very poor….yes, there is poverty in Argentina in spite of the fact that it more resembles a European country rather than a typical South American one. We also had some time to see parts of Buenos Aires and to spend time on their rivers that lead into their capital and then flow into the Atlantic Ocean.

Our time with our own congregation prior to the international experience was also very enjoyable. There were about four hundred of us gathered in Chicago right after Easter….so resurrection joy continued on as we met and shared and planned for our future together. There were opportunities to see some family members during this time and that’s always a joy.

Now, it’s back to ministry in Nica land. It will be good to see co-workers once again and get caught up on Nicaraguan life during the past month. I’ll check in again in a couple of weeks. Thanks for following the journey of this itinerant woman!

Peace within and without, at home and abroad and throughout our universe….that’s a big order but attainable if we each do our piece of peace-making.

Love, Jeanne