Monday, May 30, 2011

On Nature and Nurture

Hi there you blog followers!

I am remembering the Burma Shave jingles that appeared along the highways when I was a child. If you’re not at least 55 years old, you won’t know what I’m referring to! My original one is: “The rains have come…the heat is great… the mud and insects don’t abate!” Yes, we have now entered into the six months of rain which is our alternate season to six months of total dryness. In a strange twist, this time is referred to as WINTER. Now it has nothing to do with winter as you’ve probably gathered from my previous comments about the heat! Everything greens up immediately and that’s a good thing. Now if we just don’t have TOO much rain the farmers will be able to plant their beans and corn. We pray for a good planting and harvest. Pray with us, please.

"Ancient image of 'god' of cacao and information about cacao"

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel north of Managua about 3 hours to the department of Matagalpa. I went with a friend and her fiancé and we had a delightful time. We checked out the Castillo de Cacao….The Chocolate Castle! It is designed like a small Middle Ages castle and the entire process of turning raw cacao beans into rich, delicious chocolate is carried out there. It’s in a lovely setting amidst the hills of this area and includes a museum of everything chocolate…candy bar wrappers, varieties from many countries and of course there are samples!

"Mural in Casa Materna with Foundresses in the Foreground"

The real reason to for the trip was to become more acquainted with the Casa Materna which for 20 years has been receiving pregnant women from the surrounding rural area, especially those who are ‘at risk’ be it because of age, difficult pregnancy or just because they are far away from a medical setting or midwife who will help with the delivery of their baby. They come in the final week or two of their pregnancy. Casa Materna was built to accommodate 20 women but there are currently 27, so some beds have to serve for two very pregnant women. The staff and volunteers do a great deal of teaching and preparation for birthing and also teach and help in the surrounding rural areas.

"Cloth Banner in Casa Materna"

We were able to stay in their B and B for the night and it was delightful to be in a smaller, quieter pueblo and hear church bells ringing on Sunday morning and enjoy the view of mountains and hills. The people were delightful and we spent Sunday morning enjoying a typical Nica breakfast followed by a tour of the setting. Doña Chila who is a woman my age and is a partera (midwife) was our breakfast provider and tour guide. The women deliver in the hospital of Matagalpa so only in an extreme emergency would she actually deliver and baby, but she teaches and cooks and does a myriad of things. The project is an NGO and they struggle to have nourishing food each day for the women, but they manage somehow. An interesting fact is that a Michigan woman, Kitty Madden, is the director and has been for many years. Unfortunately, she was in Michigan when we visited!!

"Christy, Dona Chila (midwife), Jeanne in front of banner"

Some of the board members for Casa Materna are folks I know from Gesu Parish in Detroit and another is a cousin of a friend. I just ‘happened’ to encounter David, the cousin of friends I’ve met here, in the airport last November. He was returning after a board meeting and was behind me in line. He noted on my backpack ID that I had initials after my name. “Are you a Sister?” he asked. And so the conversation started and I Iearned that we had another connection. The world is so very, very small and we are all sisters and brothers in the midst of it. What a grace to live in this reality!

I shall bring this sharing to an end for this time. Until the next blog, thanks again for being interested and following my journey here in Nica land.

Love and gratitude,