Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Safe and Sound in Batahola Norte!

Laura and I arrived safe and sound in Managua, Nicaragua on September 26th. We were met with many warm hugs from the Centerś staff and a beautiful basket full of fruit and bread in our new home. Here will will be staying for the next two years, collaborating with the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte. Ironically, Laura had to leave as soon as she got to Nicaragua. She is taking part in a conference about globalization and community development in Sydney, Australia! So far she has told me she is learning a lot and making plenty of contacts all over the world... I'm sure we will be hearing from her soon! But for now, that means that I have two weeks by myself to begin familiarizing myself with Batahola Norte, the Center and the Centerś staff, scholarship students etc. I am living literally ten steps away from the Center, renting a house that the Center owns. We will be quite comfortable there as we have a living room-kitchen, bathroom and each have our own bedrooms.

In my first week, most of my time and energy has gone into meeting people from the Center, and finding out about what they do. The Center is run primarily by women, who seem to have an endless source of energy. It is apparent how much they, and so many people in the community, love the Center. Most of the administrators are prior students, many of them having been at the Center more than 20 years. I have also started meeting with a group of women who are interested in exploring the possibility of organizing themselves into a sewing cooperative. Many of these women have participated in the craft class (known as manualidades at the Center), and know how to knit, embroider, make objects out of plantain leaves, and sew. I will be accompanying them in their efforts to organize themselves, define their goals, and come up with possible solutions to the challenges they face.

All in all, my first week in Batahola Norte has been very fruitful. I'm still working hard to get peopleś names down, and am getting back into the swing of speaking Spanish all day. There is no doubt much work to be done in investigating all the possibilities for a volunteer program, as well as working on organizing the English program. But for the next week or so, Iĺl be concentrating on orienting myself to the community and neighborhood - learning as much as i can. More updates to come later!

Much love,


Larry Martin said...

Good luck in your work, Christine!

Anonymous said...

Christine: Sounds like you've arrived "at home" already! I know you'll (and Laura, of course) will be a great asset to the community! Tim is flying in from Orlando Thurs. evening. My family (on my father's side) is having a reunion this coming weekend. We're all getting together to make ravioli. Tim knows all about the Hauts, but nil about the Distretti family. Is he in for a surprise. I have 23 cousins, plus a lot of their children and some of theirs! My father was from a family of 12, but there is only one sibling (My Uncle Ray who is 85) left, but he'll be there in full form. Take care. We'll miss you at Camp SJ, but will be with you in spirit. You and your efforts will be in our prayers.

Aunt Mary Ann

Anonymous said...

I love this blog! I love your energy, your sense of justice, your ideas and your commitment. May all your days in Batahola go well. Mary Aileen