Blog

Nicaragua 2011

November 7, 2011

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

William Carlos William

It’s been less than a week since the eight of us returned from Nicaragua and we are already missing Doña Nellie’s delicious lunches, long van rides over bumpy dirt roads with gorgeous vistas, and the beautiful welcoming faces of the childen of the Sixto Sanchez community where we helped to put the finishing touches on their new school. Our hosts, Mina and Chamba gave us the lay of the land and Cruz and Danilo kept us in line as we learned to navigate wheelbarrows laden with gravel and cement blocks, mix concrete, lay bricks, and move rocks.  Lots of rocks.  We were welcomed with open arms by Blanca, Esperanza,  and the other community leaders and we were invited in to their homes.  One mom showed us how to make tortillas (we weren’t very good).

For a wider perspective on the Nicaraguan culture and commerce, we were able to tour a coffee plantation where we were given an interesting presentation on coffee co-ops, fair trade, and shade grown coffee. OK, maybe some of us snoozed but Web kept the questions going until we were all awake and alert again.  We visited my personal nirvana, a chocolate factory (nothing like Willy Wonka’s, and that’s okay),  and we tried our hands at weaving at the women’s weaving co-op (David looked like a natural sitting at the loom).

We honored Scott, Annabel, Millie, Kelcey, Christopher, James, Sean Michael, and Grace Magill and we did them proud.  We will cherish our memories of Web surprising us and entertaining the kids with his juggling  talent (he did not mention it in his application!); Kristin delighting the kids by giving out cake, and each child waiting patiently until everyone had been served; Todd showing the kids how to jump rope and later building them a swing; Eileen the Pied Piper teaching the kids clapping games in the back of the truck; Kristi in the zone as she conceived, sketched, and created a sitting wall; and David working with the boys to lift huge cement blocks into the wheelbarrow. We’ll remember the cold showers, beautiful but incredibly uncomfortable wooden swings, plantains at every meal, and Victoria cerveza at the end of the day.

We are grateful to all of our participants, as well as Cara, Bow, and Jo from Storytellers for good who joined us toward the end of the week. We can’t wait to see the video! We thank Todd Evans, all the folks at Seeds of Learning, and the community of Sixto Sanchez for a week we will always remember.

A poem by Carole:

So much depends

upon

the humility

of a small group

in a strange

land

open to receive

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