Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Updates on life, small business and the Luz Marina case

Dear family and friends,
I apologize that it's been so long since I've written, although I know Laura has been doing a great job sharing much of the community news from Batahola Norte. We certainly have been keeping busy! Our English class is well in to it's Second Level, and staying strong with 22 students. They are a wonderful group of dedicated learners. Its been fun to get to know each of them better. The class has started to take on a personality of its own now that the students know each other better and feel more comfortable playing games and sharing. I'm also settling comfortably into my role as a teacher, getting better at explaining vocabulary and grammar concepts in creative ways depending on the needs of the students. Thanks again to all of our donors who helped to fund the English class with books, cds, dictionaries, etc. We have definitely been taking advantage of your generosity!!
Aside from English, a lot of my time has been going towards the development of a course is small business start-up and administration. Many of the Center's classes, such as Cooking, Sewing, Craft Making and Natural Medicine, are geared towards helping men and women learn to produce products which they can sell. The next step is in providing information and support to those graduates who want to use their new skills as a source of income. I've spent the last months interviewing small business owners, researching various micro-enterprise curriculums, and organizing my findings in order to aid in the development of a unique curriculum the Center will use to help train many of their graduates in starting their own businesses. The course started this past Saturday, an accomplishment the Center is very proud of!
The women's quilting group I have been accompanying is currently in the process of investigating their potential markets in Nicaragua as well as in the U.S. Their products are getting more creative and more beautiful by the week. The women are enjoying making small quilts, quilted cosmetic bags, quilted backpacks, pillow cases, etc. Recently they have been teaching themselves, using donated books, to appliqué unique designs on their projects, which is a way they hope to incorporate Nicaraguan culture into their work. Soon we will be seeing bags and quilts covered in designs of flowers, volcanoes, fish, etc.!
For those who have been following the case of Luz Marina, the woman from Batahola who was brutally murdered by her husband, we wanted to share the latest news. As noted previously in the blog, Juan Bautista Silva, was found guilty for "frustrated homicide", which holds a sentence of 4 to 7 years. The family of Luz Marina was disappointed and angered by this sentence, given the premeditation that went into the murder, the brutality of the act, and the fact that Silvo's crime ended in the death of their loved one. Recently the court announced that Silva will be serving 6 years and 6 months in jail for his crime. On today's front page of one of the two main newspapers in Nicaragua, there was an article calling for justice for the many perpetrators of domestic violence and femicide in Nicaragua. The Red de Mujeres Contra la Violencia held a press conference to discuss the increasing rates of violence against women in the country and the court system's tendency to let many male perpetrators off with lenient sentences. With violence against women increasing, it is necessary to hold perpetrators responsible for their actions and do something to stop the circle of violence and abuse. We will keep updating the blog with any new developments.
Thank you for reading! As always, we love hearing from you with any questions, reflections or comments.
En paz,

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