by Donna Benden & Terry Visner
Hello from the education team in Nicaragua. We have been having a fabulous time selecting 250 books to set up our third library. The new library is located in a rural community of 500 people in Piedra de Agua. We can all take a lesson from the members of this community. Everyone in this community respects each other, cares for each other, work unselfishly with each other, all for a common goal of improving their way of life. On our first day we were greeted with performances from the students. Then we went to work numbering, cataloguing and labeling books. Others painted the background for the murals used to divide the library from the preschool. When we returned the next day, we were busy guiding the students in developing the mural, building, sanding, and varnishing tables, bookshelves and benches for the library. In two days, we will finish our work in this community.
We also had the opportunity to teach a workshop for the teachers in Rayo de Sol, an organization that works with public schools. We shared ideas regarding literacy and working with special needs students. We learned as much from these teachers as they learned from us. We experienced a marvelous sharing of ideas. Tomorrow we will be meeting with Rainbow Network and teaching in La Grecia and Nueva Santa Celia.
Our small group of twelve educators and medical staff, are making a small but important impact on the communities we serve. We enjoy working together and sharing our days’ events.
By Mary Barrett
Whew! What a great day we had in Rayo de Sol, Nicaragua! First, we were treated like royalty because we came to open a library. We were welcomed by a community leader, blessed with a prayer, treated by a very well done role play by high school students, and entertained with poetry and dancers. Then we got to work getting the basics of the library started.
Some of us painted walls, some were building shelves and furniture, and some of us were cataloguing books. I was one of the lucky ones cataloguing the books. I got to peek inside the new books the children will have access to once the library opens at the end of the week. Although the books were all in Spanish, I recognized favorites of my own children, and ones I read to them so many years ago. I am so excited to provide the opportunity to children in Nicaragua who have no books in their homes. I am smiling as I am writing about this in my blog.
We had fun chatting with some high school students during a lull in the action, finding out their future career choices, and about how they walk a half hour to catch a bus to go to high school on Saturdays. They were all anxious to learn English, so we taught them how to sing the song.”Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”. They loved it! They fared much better than we did when they turned the tables and tried to teach it to us in Spanish!
Off to the sewing group this afternoon. Sheila Riley, Francie Johnson, and I worked with about 20 ladies who are trying to sell bags they are sewing as a way to make themselves some income and lift themselves out of poverty. We didn’t quite know what to expect, but our goals were to help them improve the stability of their product, as well as show them some new ideas they might be interested in.
I met many delightful women who were eager to show the bags they had made, share some of the problems they had making their bags, and were eager to learn the new bag that Sheila presented to the group today. Watching the pride in the eyes of the women as they were completing their projects helped me forget how tired I was. It has been a full day!