Laura: Gathered around the table the other night, ten members of the newly-formed youth movement sat with ears alert as they listened to Mary Luz describe the rural community of Waslala they would be visiting in a few short weeks. “This is not just a field trip,” she said, “this is an opportunity to learn about the reality of our brothers and sisters living in extreme poverty.” During Holy Week, I will be accompanying the youth movement and Mary Luz, to Waslala, an isolated community located within a natural reserve in the center of the country. Mary Luz, a doctor from Batahola and longtime friend of the Center, first got to know the Waslala through her work in public health. Moved by the hope and initiative of local people to improve their standards of living, she proposed the idea for a trip with the youth group as a way to promote solidarity among Nicaraguan youth. The youth movement, composed of the Center’s scholarship students and others from the local community, is excited to put into action the formation they received from the Center in group leadership, violence prevention, and the values of “sharing all that we are and all that we have” with others.
I am excited for this adventure with the youth movement. It is an opportunity to focus on values of solidarity and simple living, of connecting with other young people across cultural boundaries and sharing hopes for the future!
As the date of my parents’ arrival to Managua got closer and closer, I wasn’t the only one getting excited. My mother, who is an excellent quilter, had agreed to give the CCBN’s Quilting Group a two-day workshop in the art of quilting round edges and appliqué work, much to the excitement of everyone. For the past year and a half I’ve enjoyed accompanying the Quilting Group in their process of group formation and trust building, in market research, and in the development of accounting procedures. Throughout the past year the women have made quilts, table runner, bags, cosmetic cases, and many other products that they have designed themselves. One of the group’s goals has been to incorporate Nicaraguan culture into their quilting, by the use of color and design. The workshop given by my mom, Barbara, helped the women investigate different color combinations and demonstrated how to quilt butterflies, birds, flowers, etc. Twelve women took part in the workshop, three of whom were new members to the group, who for the past weeks have been learning the basics of quilting from the group’s senior members. I was able to translate for my mom, and the workshop was a huge success. One member, Rosalina Herrera reflected on the workshop, “I loved learning the new techniques. My favorite things to make are bags, so I’m excited to incorporate what we learned into my bags. Learning how to quilt curves and make our own designs increases what we are able to quilt.” By the end of the two days the Quilting Group (and my mom and I!) felt very accomplished and with a new sense of energy to bring to our work.
Aside from working with the Quilting group, Laura and I have been working hard on the English Program, which has now begun its second year at the CCBN. We have 15 incredible students who arrive to class at 9 in the morning with energy, great senses of humor and a real desire to learn. It is our second year teaching, so the both of us feel even more comfortable, confident, and able to enjoy the class. Our students are very diverse, anywhere from 16 years old to in their late 60s. Most of them hope that English will help in their ability to find good employment. We are looking forward to sharing the following months with them!