Part Two: The Gift of Reading


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

 

C. S. Lewis said, “We read to know that we are not alone.”  Red Oak Elementary School students in Shakopee, Minnesota understand this need, and are graciously sharing their lives and their joy of reading with my tiny La Paloma Elementary School on Ometepe Island.

Keep reading. There’s more.

Two Kids from La Chureca Looking For Sponsors


Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua:

Jefferson is a Weekend Philanthropist and he is looking for sponsors for two children in Nicaragua. If you are interested in sponsoring one or both of these children, please contact him.

Originally posted on The Weekend Philanthropist:

For the past year, my mom and I have sponsored two children from La Chureca, paying so they could go to a private school outside of the landfill.

The kids worked hard, but private school is difficult and there has been a lot of change going on around them, including the community being moved to concrete homes together with people from other extremely poor areas of Managua.

This year, our scholarship director in Nicaragua, a nurse who has been serving the people of La Chureca for over a decade and who volunteers her time to help administer these scholarships, has two more children who she thinks are up for the challenge of private school – all they need is the funding.

Benefits of private school over public school:

  1. Smaller class sizes.
  2. Higher discipline.
  3. Access to a psychologist, a library, and a computer lab.
  4. Incentives to be the best…

View original 226 more words

Weekly Photo Challenge: What is This Object?


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Object.  Our photographs tell stories, big and small.”
My mother often made things for our Nicaraguan neighborhood. She made beautiful aprons embroidered with roosters, embroidered dish towels, and quilted purses for my local friends. Each time I delivered my gifts, my gracious local friends would give my mother a handmade gift in return. This crocheted gift had us puzzled, until we figured out its use. We laughed until we cried. Do you know what this object is?

For this weekly photo challenge, it’s not the photography that counts, but the story behind it. :-)

                                Pay it forward! It’s the thought that counts.

Guess what this is

Women’s Soccer in Nicaragua


“Soccer isn’t the same as Bach or Buddhism. But it is often more deeply felt than religion, and just as much a part of the community’s fabric, a repository of traditions.”
― Franklin Foer, How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization

Las Divinas de Los Ramos

Las Divinas de Los Ramos

This year, the indigenous community of Los Ramos on Ometepe Island started a women’s soccer team. Twenty-two young women ages 12-31 joined Las Divinas. And, oh how divine this team is! Their lack of uniforms, soccer shoes, and proper equipment didn’t hold them back. They ran in bare feet and practiced with a homemade goal constructed with a large PVC pipe, while onlookers held their babies and cheered for this determined group of women.

Sports, in general, are great motivators to help people around the world to connect with one another and become united. The community of Los Ramos recognizes the potential for soccer to help improve their young women’s lives through fostering teamwork, teaching the importance of hard work, dedication, and cooperation with others. They believe that the humble beginnings of The Divine Women’s Soccer team can effect positive social change in their community, as well as play an important role in the fight for gender equality in Nicaragua.

I would like to help this team buy uniforms and equipment for their next soccer season. With your donations, we can help them fulfill their dreams of a brighter and divine future for women in the Los Ramos community.  They have compiled a list of needed items, the costs, and where they will buy their uniforms. Any extra money received, once the goal is met, will go to purchase soccer balls, nets, and other equipment these deserving young women will need.

Here is the YouCaring donation page: The Divine Women’s Soccer Team

All donations will go directly to The Divine Women’s Soccer team. I’ll be sure to update you with pictures, team scores, and profiles of some of the women that you have supported. Thank you so much in advance for your generosity.

A little information about Nicaraguans and the internet:
The soccer coach visited my home several times, and gave me a carefully compiled list of what they need, the costs, and the places where they will buy the soccer uniforms and equipment. He also compiled a list of all the women, their ages, and showed me all of their identification cards. Then he said, “Can you put this on the internet for us?” I silently chucked to myself because they don’t understand how the internet works. It’s a mysterious miracle to them. In exchange for a bag of beans, two watermelons, and lots of hugs and thank yous, I said, “I will be glad to put your soccer team on the internet for you.”

Women’s Soccer Exchange
Our Women’s Soccer Team
Soccer Without Borders in Nicaragua

The Sky’s the Limit


“Do mistakes and you become a good learner.
Welcome ordeals and you become a good problem solver.”~ Riddhi Sharma

Our SKY satellite TV has been on the blink for a month. Poor Ron! He can’t watch the football games on Sunday and I really miss CNN. Playing detective is a necessary part of life on Ometepe Island. We cut branches of trees close to the satellite dish, checked the cable for tears or scrapes, jiggled the dish, wiggled the wires, and rewired the service box…all to no avail.
The only service technicians in the entire country are from Managua, so we called and put in a work order for them to come to Ometepe to fix our TV. Yesterday, they arrived with the SKY truck.
IMG_0611For two hours they jiggled the cable, repositioned the satellite dish, and checked the service box, while the annoying beeping from the TV indicated that there was no signal.
IMG_0612They moved the satellite dish to a wiggly garden post in the hopes of solving the mystery about why there was no signal.
IMG_0619Hmmm…suddenly the signal was strong and clear. It must be the Neem tree blocking the signal. Three years ago, when we installed the satellite dish, our Neem trees were only a foot tall. Now, they are 25 feet tall. I guess we have to take down the Neem tree. Ron to the rescue with his machete.
IMG_0616Meanwhile, as the sun was setting, Black Jack investigated the SKY truck.
IMG_0622With the tree down, the technicians put the dish back in its original location.
IMG_0623No worries. We still have five more Neem trees on our property.
IMG_0624He repositioned the dish for a strong, steady signal.
IMG_0625And voilà! A strong, steady signal…football games and CNN!
IMG_0627By this time, it was dark and the last ferry had already left for the mainland. “Where are you staying tonight?” I asked. “Can we stay here?” the boss asked. “No problemo!” I responded. I was a little embarrassed because the only problem with our satellite signal was the Neem tree. I felt bad that they had to travel a whole day from Managua, across on the ferry, to solve our problem. The boss wanted to know if there were other people on the island that would like SKY TV, since they were here. I quickly sent a notice to all the expats on the island and received 2 responses by the next morning.
IMG_0628What a great crew! They even offered me a job as the SKY representative for Ometepe Island. It was their first time on Ometepe Island. They slept in our casita, took a quick dip in the lake in the morning, and I gave them the phone numbers of the two expats that were interested in installing SKY in their homes.

The SKY’s the limit, as far as our satellite reception goes. Only in Nicaragua! Have I told you how much I love this country?

Daily Prompt: Trick or Treat


The Daily Prompt says, “If bloggers had their own Halloween and could go from blog to blog collecting “treats,” what would your blog hand out?”

Happy Halloween bloggers. Enjoy my treats.

1. A good backup and restoration for your blog
All bloggers need to backup their blogs, right? You never know when you’ll need it.
Updraft Plus
2. An offline storage for interesting articles you find for your blog
I use Evernote constantly and I can store interesting websites to research articles for my blog.
Evernote
3. 30 of the best online dictionaries and thesauri
We can all use this, right?
The Best Online Dictionaries
4. A secure anonymous VPN
I use Strong VPN. If you want to sign up, ask me for a referral.
Strong VPN
5. Free storage place for all your online things
I use Dropbox. If I lose everything on my phone or my laptop, it is safely stored and waiting for me.
Dropbox

Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated People of Nicaragua


The Weekly Photo Challenge said to make sure the photos are saturated. Nicaragua has many colorful and saturated people.

Saturated with Music
IMG_4595Saturated with Fun
IMG_4596Saturated with Creativity
IMG_4604Saturated with Patriotism? ( Even my camera got saturated)
IMG_4588The Shoe Shine Boy is Saturated with Exhaustion
IMG_5490Saturated with Homelessness
DSCN0671Saturated with Poverty and Old Age
IMG_4625Nicaragua is the land of extremes of saturation… from the fullness of joy, music, and liveliness….to those inundated with poverty, loneliness, and despair. Be grateful everyday and if you see a need…pay your gratefulness forward.

 

The Luxury of a Library


“What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it feels about education.” ― Harold Howe

I have great memories of our public and school libraries in the states. The smells of ink, musty paper, and glue conjure up nostalgic memories of sticking my nose in a book and virtually traveling to distant places through the miracle of words in print. Yet, I can’t explain the feeling I get when entering a library to any of our local islanders, simply because they have never experienced a library..the smells…the hushed whispers…snuggling in a bean bag chair… curling up with a good book. Those concepts are alien. They have no understanding of reading for pleasure because it is not a cultural pastime.

This morning, Ron and I delivered 100 books to a new-to-me school. Follow us on our trip, because we were pleasantly surprised at what we discovered.

On my walk to the bus stop, I was enthralled with the brilliant display of orange flowers on the malinche tree. The locals comically refer to the malinche tree as the matrimonial tree, because the vibrant flowers appear first, then they quickly fall off and the tree becomes a tangle of vines.
IMG_2843

I met Ron at the bus stop near the new airport. Soon, I’ll have to figure out a way to transport my books more efficiently. Ron straps them on our motorcycle, and I follow him on the bus.
IMG_2844

Two trabajadores were filling in a drainage ditch near the airport. “Take our photo,” they shouted.
IMG_2845“When will the new airport open for business?” I asked. “Mañana,” they replied in unison. Alrighty then, I thought, maybe in six more months.
IMG_2847The bus never came, so I flagged down a moto taxi…my favorite form of transportation on the island.
IMG_2849When we entered the school, the director told us to deliver my books to…THE LIBRARY!!! The first school I’ve seen on the island that has the luxury of a library.
Santiago, who attended this school from preschool through high school helped me translate to the LIBRARIAN. Santiago doesn’t speak any English, but he understands my Spanglish well. When the librarian had a question, she would direct the question to Santiago, and he would repeat it a little louder and a little slower to me in Spanish. Then, I would respond to Santiago, and he would fix all my verb errors. We work well together.
IMG_2851I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the librarian lived in La Paloma and I knew her son. We bonded instantly. She showed me around the library. It was decorated with lots of posters and cut-out hearts for Mother’s Day, which is celebrated on May 30th. Although the library lacks children’s books, which the kids can read for pleasure, it is well stocked with teacher’s materials and classroom textbooks. I have high hopes for this school because the school thinks highly of its library…a measure of what it feels about education.
IMG_2852We toured a first grade classroom. Aren’t they adorable? I offered to return to read to this class and do a fun book activity with them.
IMG_2854Then on to visit their outdoor classrooms. A perfect setting for a hot morning!
IMG_2855Bikes were haphazardly scattered…and what is this??? Looks like the teacher needs to keep an eye on the kid holding a desk over his head.
IMG_2856We left with a sense of community and a warm fuzzy feeling for the school that has the luxury of a library. Now, where did we park the motorcycle among the sea of bikes?
IMG_2857Thanks for the memories, Esquipulas Los Angeles School. There’s nothing like the smell of a library. I think I’ll look for some bean bags for the library. The kids would love them.
IMG_2859Many thanks to all the wonderful readers and network of librarians and teachers who have donated books to my mobile lending library. I can assure you, they are in loving hands. It is because of your love of reading that this is possible. I’m spreading the love one hundred books at a time throughout the elementary schools on the island.

Foreign Philanthropy


Inspired by Jefferson’s philosophy and practice as a Weekend Philanthropist and because we got paid for our gig on a TV show (well, not yet…but soon),  I decided to dabble in a little foreign philanthropy myself.

Although philanthropy isn’t foreign to me, the sense of caring for, nourishing, and enhancing a love of humanity, is fading quickly in our troubled world. Read some comments on a Yahoo article or Facebook and I’m sure you’ll agree. But, what exactly is philanthropy and how does it differ from charity?

When I was a working woman, I used to give to charities, mainly because I had more disposable income and less time. But, I found charities to be impersonal. Charities relieve the pains of social problems, such as food, clothing, etc. for natural disasters and other societal pains, but it is temporary relief. On the other hand, philanthropy attempts to get to the root of the problem. I like the thought of getting up close and personal to a problem and trying to solve it from the inside out.

I’ve heard people describe the differences between charity and philanthropy as: charity gives a man a fish and philanthropy teaches a man to fish. Or charity=giving and philanthropy=doing. Either way, charity’s Latin roots and philanthropy’s Greek roots are both based on meanings of loving kindness and generosity. Both are admirable and make a difference in our troubled world. Yet, I lean towards philanthropy because; I have less disposable income and more time, and philanthropy addresses the root causes of why people are vulnerable in the first place.

Although there is a blurred line in the distinctions between charity and philanthropy, the important thing is to do something, right? So in the interest of doing something, I’d like to share with you some of the organizations and people, to which I am paying forward loving kindness and generosity.

1. Johnson Cruz Races for Funds
I have written several posts about Johnson, and I will continue to support him in his quest of becoming a Nicaraguan Olympian.

2. El Carizo Sustainability Project
A friend of mine is empowering a small community in Nicaragua to break the cycle of poverty through organic agriculture, environmental protection, education, and intercultural exchange.

3. OutMore Adventures
My son and his business partners created cultural tourism programs for the indigenous community of Los Ramos, which I will always support. In fact, the TV show filmed them, which was lots of fun. We made nacatamales in their cultural cooking class and filmed the process. The TV crew gorged themselves on the delicious nacatamales. :-)

Of course, I have more books to buy for my mobile lending library, my neighbor needs running shoes so he can compete in local races, and I’d sure like to help our local hospital with donations of latex gloves (I’m going to stock up on boxes of latex gloves when I go back to the states).

I’ve only begun on my philanthropic journey….with miles to go before I sleep. Yet, when I do sleep…it’s with peaceful, loving thoughts and dreams of what I can do tomorrow.