The conference created an opportunity to hear how other people are approaching their work with communities similar to ours. We heard about families, young people and children who have experienced trauma in various countries including Chile, Jamaica, Nigeria and Canada and the work of various agencies dealing with and addressing the mental health issues. We heard of some great interventions and we left feeling enthused to continue our work in Nica.
The conference also gave us a chance to rest. It was timely, as Mart had been struggling with a virus for about 6 weeks, but we for some time we had felt a bit flat and tired. We enjoyed rugging up in ALL our clothes to walk in crisp and cold weather; we were struck with how clean the streets were and the city parks; and felt so fortunate to receive warm hospitality in Calgary. We returned home via Connecticut for a few days where we caught up with Mart’s nephew and family. It was wonderful to relax and catch up with family news: you just can’t beat the family tie.
We returned a little tired, as is the thing with long distant travel, much more refreshed, and were greeted by our very excited dog!
Things are hotting up politically in Nicaragua with an election taking place next month. The result is pretty much assured, but we are noticing heightened security measures, particularly for foreign church and development workers. There are various rumours that schools will finish a month early because of the election … others say it will be closed for a week. We never know for sure here! And the last thing our kids need is more reason not to attend school. Since June, I don’t think the children have had classes for a full five-day week because of all the various annual celebrations requiring the children to practise well in advance, and of course during school time. This chaotic routine and the demands of these extra curricula things in our view adds to the perceived low priority of schooling by the government and by many of the families and children. Si A La Vida opens daily but our program is impacted by the school routine: kids often say they can’t come because they have band practice or maps to prepare or dances to perform. Or that they are just too tired from it all! Asi es Nicaragua - that’s how it is in Nicaragua.
The work at the farm continues slowly. The chicken micro enterprise is going well, we still have our cow and have been madly planting food in our ‘corral’ so that we can buy more. And our first live-in volunteers have just left with some promises that they will be back next June! We are very thankful for their help and contributions, not just in the Finca, but also with the kids in the Casa. They were Park Rangers from the US and they took sessions with the kids on the environment and the lure was, especially with the secondary school kids, that maybe there could be an employment option in the future as a Nica Park Ranger or as they call them here tourist guides. They helped explain environmental issues and ecosystems to the kids, and they brought several binoculars for them to use to spot and name all kinds of birds on little hikes in the bush. Thanks to them we can now name most of the birds we see. Well nearly.
We are now more actively advertising for volunteers to work with us because we have plenty of work and a decent place for them to stay. For a fee of course! So, if any of you would like to spend a month or so in a tropical paradise … we can line you up with a great Nicaraguan Spanish teacher, provide amazing accommodation with a lake view on one side and a volcano on the other. You can work with us at Casa Si A La Vida with the kids, or work on the farm. Or, you can just come and stay and chill out.
Well, enough from me. I am off to see the kids at the Casa and hear what has been happening while we were away.
Take care and trust you too can enjoy a rest from all you do.
Well done to the Bulldogs: dreams can come true.
PS Don’t forget the Christmas Gift Cards. www.bcasnicaragua.com