Sunday, February 24, 2008
By Bonnie Black
Our day on “our own!” So to speak – we had no work assignments today, except for taking care of our own kitchen and bathroom needs and there was no morning meeting as 37 of us headed to Mombacho Cloudforest at 6:15am this morning in order to get there in time for our 8:30am reservation. The other 9 headed into Managua for the historic city tour. Both groups had lunch out and then met at the Roberto Huembes Market – Yami, Sr. Debbie and Sr. Steph had meetings to attend with Mauricio.
For those of us who have been to the downtown market many times, it was disappointing. A majority of the shops were closed and the lack of electricity didn’t make sense. As I wrote to you yesterday, we haven’t been without this time and it is do to the arrangements the government made last month to prevent the rationing of electricity. A vendor told us that on Sundays they have no electricity after Noon and on Saturdays non until 1pm. Perhaps many of the interior vendors who were totally closed and locked today have just given up.
There was a lot of fun with a competitive soccer game in the courtyard this evening. The children of the village also know that our time is short and were waiting outside of the gate for our buses to return home.
Tonight was our semi-annual Pizza Party with invited guests – a tradition which began after Shawn Watson, Sister Stephanie’s nephew, came on mission (in the ‘early’ days). Last March, he died unexpectedly, but the company for which he worked, Whirley Industries, has pledged to continue the tradition which Shawn had personally paid for twice a year. This special evening meal brings a little of ‘home’ back to our palates (although we love the Nica food!). It tells us that our days are winding down quickly.
Our Leadership Team had a meeting with the Local Council tonight and we discovered that there are two very poor barrios around here which the nuns and the priest also serve. We know that the socio-economic situation here is disintegrating with inflation (exchange is now 19%) and increasing unemployment rate. So many Nicaraguans have emigrated to Costa Rica that the border is now closed for that purpose. So, even though Chiquilistagua seems to be holding its own based on the foundation we have been privileged to have a hand in, and we have begun focusing more on Nejapa, tonight we heard what the priest had told us yesterday: things are in dire shape in the other 2 adjacent barrios that they serve. So, tomorrow afternoon around 1pm, the Leadership Team will drive with Sister Rosa to these areas to assess the situation in order to bring the information back to the full Council in Plattsburgh.
While Leadership was at their meeting, the rest of the group (specifically the young people) began planning their portion of the Despedida which will be at 9:30am on Tuesday.
Tomorrow is our last full group/full day here with much still to do. It seems that so much has been accomplished – and it has – but there always is a sense that much is left undone, too.