I did wonder how I would fill my time during this holiday, but this turned out not to be a problem. Visits from three of our children, a short holiday at the beach, chicken killing and responding the demands that seem to appear in this life has me contemplating where the time went. We spent time finding rock carvings in the bush and sharing our island and friends with our kids. For some ridiculous reason we decided to join our daughter in climbing the volcano Concepcion. Many many hours afters our early morning start we stumbled sore and exhausted through the dark by the light of our phones to where we left our car. I have to say my relationship with Concepcion has changed. I can also vow that I will not climb any other volcanos in the near future.
Over the break I also lead a two-day workshop with the teaching staff of Si A La Vida. Here we explored the significance of the word "respect" and the implications for our work. The motto of Si A La Vida is "From a world of the streets to a world of respect". In the workshop we reflected on the fact that the changes in the last 6 months mean we are no longer working with children living on the streets, however, creating an environment of respect where the children and young people feel safe and supported as they grow and learn is still central to our work. In the workshops we discussed what an environment of respect would look and sound like. We used this time to plan for the beginning of the year. The feed back from the workshops was really positive and I am going to do a follow up in a couple of months. It was a good two days and I was really pleased my Spanish was ok.
Today we implemented many of the suggestions that came out of the workshop. Our first day went really well! I know its early days, but as any teacher will say, it is better to come home from the first day feeling excited rather than overwhelmed and down hearted.
Marty continues assisting in the Casa and with the work developing the farm. He is quickly becoming known as the "chicken man" on the island and has developed a market with a number of the hotels. This has its perks as they often ask him to stay for lunch or a drink as he is doing his rounds. Work has started for the small run of cattle with fencing being put into place. Unfortunately the person Mart is coordinating with is ill so there has been a little hold up. But it will happen. He is also continually working at developing networks with people who can assist, donate or advise. You never know who you may meet when you are lunching at hotels as you distribute chicken!
The country is in a protection mode in response to the zika virus. For us it is not a problem as neither of us are planning to be pregnant. But it is posing a big risk in the region, with some countries advising woman to postpone pregnancy. There are big campaigns to spray all the houses and provide a powder that we put in our water to prevent mosquitos breeding.
We are also having problems with the boats leaving and arriving on the island. Unfortunately there was an accident where 14 people died in a small boat on the other coast of Nicaragua. This has encouraged the government to take all boats out of commission until they are all checked for seaworthiness and the implementation of a new law that sees life jackets being worn, not just stored on the boat. Added to this we have had very high winds on the island and this has prevented the boats that are still running from leaving port. We heard that some tourists paid for a private speed boat to take them off the island. It cost them U.S. $150 each. The trip usually costs $2!!
I hope your celebrations/ holidays/ change of pace over the past month have been restorative and that you have started the year will new energy and hope. Thank you for your continued interest in the work we do and remember we always have a bed ready if you with to visit ( BYO repellant and life jacket!)