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If you’re not on facebook, you can still see the Nicaragua photos:


WORKTEAM REPORT

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This is part of the report I gave this morning.  The other five workteam members reported too, so mine doesn’t cover the whole experience.



We are “home” but part of me is still in Diriamba, at CINAG, because those girls stole our hearts.
It is kind of hard to be here, simply because we can’t really be part of their lives from this far away.

It has now been five days since I’ve been kissed by Kimberly, or hugged by Reina, or had one of Leyla’s brilliant smiles aimed at me, or heard Elisa’s squealing or singing.  I miss Jhara’s beautiful, expressive eyes and Norma’s impish grins.  I wasn’t there to congratulate Andrea and Ingrid as they brought home the rest of their exam results this week.

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During our time in Nicaragua, there were municipal elections.  There were concerns about fraud involved in the elections, and so there was turmoil:  protests, demonstrations, and some violence.  We watched some of these events on TV, and knew that our families back home might be worried.  The upheaval did not affect us much, but it did cause us to be concerned about peace and justice in Nicaragua.

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One big difference for this workteam as compared to previous workteams is that we took the girls along on most of our ‘tourist’ outings.  This was great because many of the girls have not been to these places in their own country.  They came with us to the volcano, to Granada and the islands of Lake Nicaragua, to the ocean, and to the river and waterfall at La Maquina.

A NEW NORMAL

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Our time here is over half finished.  It is hard to think that in six days our lives will no longer be overlapping with these girls.
They are sweet and fun and annoying and lovable.
They are kids.

Lunches together at that long table feel so right.
It seems normal to be kissed and hugged by girls that I didn´t know at the beginning of the week.
Their antics make us laugh together, and our hearts break at their pain.

WELCOME TO CINAG

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The fabulous weather, palm trees, delicious food, and all such initial joys of being here became so insignificant when we met the girls who live at CINAG.

Their initial shyness soon faded (for most) and they were keen to interact with us.  Their eyes are bright and their faces are radiant when they smile.

My hair was well examined and envied, and a flower tucked behind my ear.   This first afternoon onsite, I could go nowhere without a lovely young Nicaraguan teen´s arm linked in mine (and usually one on each arm).

The resident girls are between 11 and 16 years old. Only two attend school right now; the others arrived in the middle of the school year and without transcripts or records, so they study at CINAG for the time being.

 

 

WHICH DO YOU WANT FIRST – THE GOOD NEWS OR THE BAD NEWS?

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The
good news is that we exceeded our fundraising goal for the workteam to Nicaragua!!  It was blown out of the water, actually.  Very exciting and encouraging.

The bad news is that the poor exchange rate gives us less purchasing power.  It also has meant that CINAG has been working with less money since the Canadian dollar lost strength; their sponsorships are from Canadian people so when our currency weakens they get less bang for our buck.

The weather has been good news lately, both here and where we’re headed! I am happy to still be wearing my flipflops on November 3rd, and happier still that I can keep wearing them until November 18th.

Unfortunately, I’m not able to really enjoy this heat wave, because I’m low with a stomach flu, which is more bad news.  I’m really hoping my body will get to a healthy state before we leave.

 

 

EDUCATION – WHY?

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A quote from Henri Nouwen’s Creative Ministry:

If teaching means providing man with enough academic weapons to outdo his fellow man, to make more money, to have a better career, and more esteem in his neighborhood, we had better start asking ourselves if there is any word from God that supports this approach.

I think that education has become too stratified.  It is hard to justify studying something that you don’t intend to make money from… people wonder why you’d bother.  It is hard to get into many areas of study because there are barriers set up to make it available to only a few.  And it is difficult to find someone who wants to teach in the old-fashioned apprentice-mentor relationship, which can be more hands-on and effective.  (Plus both people benefit from that arrangement.)