Monday, June 14, 2010

New Beginnings

(I’m sending some of the heat, humidity and rain along with this…just to share!)

Greetings from the land of multitudinous mangos, flowering malinche trees and lots of lemons! All three of these marvels of nature are in great abundance right now.

Today as I’m writing a grant proposal for a donation for small scholarships for some of our very poor, but very capable rural youth, I decided to do a ‘two-fer’. I’ll blog the application responses!! Aha! I’m getting smarter as I get older….or is it lazier??? I prefer to believe it’s the wisdom that comes with age.

Our Nazareth Association generously gives grants for worthy causes that advance learning and improvement. We consider our rural youth on both secondary and university levels to qualify as very worthy. Our country provides education up through the sixth grade. Many do not complete this requirement, but there are those who struggle to continue studying. For our rural youth, in order to complete junior and senior high, the majority must do so on Saturdays – cramming a week of work into one very long day. Their help is needed on the farm working along with their parents and there is no school anywhere near them. So off they trudge on foot, horse drawn cart or bike, and eventually buses, to get to their school. We help by alotting them money for transportation and food while away from home. However, recently the funds from various sources dried up and so I’m appealing to the Nazareth Association for $1,000.00 to support three university and eight secondary students for the next six months. We always dream of a better future but we also have to let folks know of the opportunity to assist with the dreams of our people. Our future lies in our more educated youth and so onward we trudge. Two of the university students are majoring in agronomy. We need youth to stay in the rural area, improving farming and animal husbandry methods. Hopefully, Daniel and Earling will eventually complete their studies and assist their communities as they move into a more productive future. Bayardo is a very gifted and wholesome young man who comes from great poverty but has had the opportunity to have a good basic education and has been awarded a scholarship to the UCA – University of Central America - founded and run by the Jesuits. These universities are top notch and provide excellent educational opportunities. It was at the UCA of El Salvador that the martyrdoms of the seven Jesuit priests, their cook and her daughter occurred.

We have great hopes for Daniel, Earling and Bayardo!

This past Wednesday, Kari Pohl, csj arrived in Nicaragua to bless us with her presence and ministry. Kari is a Michigan woman from Westphalia, but due to circumstances beyond our control, met up with the Baden CSJs at University of Detroit Mercy, where she studied nursing. She ultimately entered the Baden (Pittsburgh) branch of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She’s a mere youth of 35 and brings life and energy, as young folks are wont to have – and we’re delighted! I’m sure you’ll hear more about Kari as I blog on in the future. Bienvenida Kari!

Yesterday I went with Kari to the office of the Conference of Religious where we started the procedure for getting her residency papers processed. She’s off to a much better start than I was 2.5 years ago. Because of my lack of documentation and the ensuing stuggle which was absorbed by my Michigan based friends, Kari has come with almost everything in order. They did change a couple of requirements but they will be easily met. Anyway, by the time we disembarked from the bus, the ‘monsoon’ was just getting ‘het up’. We were thoroughly drenched, in spite of umbrellas (they really just serve as symbols!), and arrived at the house a mere two blocks from the bus stop TOTALLY DRENCHED – and I mean that literally. It’s the wind that makes the umbrellas ineffectual, since it drives the rain sideways! Anyway, she’s had her baptism and is now qualified to consider herself Nica!

I could prattle on, but will not. Thanks for each of you and your interest in our sisters and brothers who lack what is needed for a dignified and healthy life, wherever you are, doing whatever you do in this regard.

Love, your sister,

Photo: Malinche tree courtesy Google Images