The weekly photo challenge is containers. Here are a few of my favorite containers from our recent trip to Ecuador.
On Earth Day, we celebrate all the gifts the world and nature make available to us. We recognize our complete dependence on its bounty. And we acknowledge the need for good stewardship to preserve its fruits for future generations. ~ John Hoeven
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:
- Smaller class sizes.
- Higher discipline.
- Access to a psychologist, a library, and a computer lab.
- Incentives to be the best…
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This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, show us community, and interpret it any way you please! The Weekly Photo Challenge My Ometepe Island community is composed of hard-working people of all ages.
“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.” ― Thomas Jefferson
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
― Beverly Sills
“Many who are self-taught far excel the doctors, masters, and bachelors of the most renowned universities.” ― Ludwig von Mises
“No one understands and appreciates the American Dream of hard work leading to material rewards better than a non-American. ”
― Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
“Sometimes there’s not a better way. Sometimes there’s only the hard way.”
― Mary E. Pearson, The Fox Inheritance
“Children take joy in their work and sometimes as adults we forget that’s something we should continue doing.”
― Ashley Ormon, God in Your Morning
“All success comes down to this . . . action” ― Rob Liano
“As I tell my children, ‘If you are going to do something, do your best while you’re doing it.”
― Michelle Moore, Selling Simplified
“That’s the thing about lessons, you always learn them when you don’t expect them or want them.”
― Cecelia Ahern, If You Could See Me Now
Crimes of opportunity. We should have known better than to leave our Brazilian hammock swinging on the second story porch of our casita. Rain pounded on our tin roof muffling all sounds, our hammock swayed lazily in an unprotected and dark area, our dog too was sick to bark at intruders…all were signals for an opportunistic ladrón (thief).
We should have known better. In a three-year period, we’ve lost a bunch of bananas (over 50 pounds of bananas), a long hose snaking through Ron’s garden, a sharp machete, Ron’s new hiking boots, an iPhone, and now our Brazilian hammock. These petty crimes of opportunity make me want to cry!
Though, we should have known better. We installed a bright light on the casita porch, took down our rope swing hanging from a mango tree, rolled up the remaining hose, and stored assorted rakes and our kayak on the gated porch of our main house….a real fortress. “What about this old mop and the broken plastic bucket?” I asked Ron. “Debbie, if some thief wants that old mop and bucket..let them have it,” he laughed.
I’ve followed trails of bananas and washed out partial footprints in the sand…all leading to a dead-end. I’ve warned all the neighbors that a ladrón is in our neighborhood. They have all had experiences with petty crime, too. In a way, it reassures me that we aren’t targeted because we are foreigners. Yet, it infuriates me that a stranger invades our private property.
The advice from the locals is to: get a mean dog or two or three, lock everything up at night, and spotlight the property with bright lights. It won’t help to install a high razor topped fence around our property. First, it is too expensive, and second, if a thief wants something bad enough, they’ll find a way. If they can easily shimmy up a coconut tree, a fence will not deter them.
We should have known better. But, we got lazy and didn’t expect a ladrón. That’s when things happen…when you least expect them. Lesson learned…again and again. It could have been worse. I won’t live in fear, but I’ll sure keep everything locked up tightly in our house from now on.
I still want to cry. The hammock was given to us as a gift when we visited Brazil. In Zeebra Designs and Destinations this week, Lisa quoted Kahlil Gibran, “I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”
I’m working on learning to be grateful for these lessons…but, sometimes you just gotta cry.
A friend sent me a picture she took of her toddler when she laid her down for her nap. Her expression is priceless and demonstrates the feelings I had last week. I’m practicing sketching hair..I still have more practice to get it lifelike. YouTube had some excellent lessons on drawing hair.
A carefree child loves with reckless abandon, trusts completely, and is free from anxiety or responsibility. A carefree child is freedom from the ties that bind us to reality.
A carefree child runs, splashes, giggles, skips, builds forts, and finds delight in every moment of life.
A carefree child loves dressing up….
and getting down and dirty!
I used to be a carefree child once…easy going…happy-go-lucky…laid back…and radiantly free. What if I unleashed the carefree child within me…let her run free, love with reckless abandon, and throw caution to the wind? I’m going to ponder that for a while. What if?
I had just finished cleaning the second story guest house that we built for our son, when Marina crouched under the barbed wire fence with a glass of warm, delicious atol. (a strawberry flavored, sweet liquid pudding drink). “Marina.” I commented between sips, “I haven’t seen you for ages. Where have you been?” “I have been very busy,” she responded. “Jose’s girlfriend and their two babies are living with us.”
If there is one thing that I have learned while living in Nicaragua, it is that few Nicaraguan homes consist only of the parents and children. Typically, one finds the presence of grandparents, aunts, uncles, grandchildren, and a few friends thrown into the mess of people living under one hot tin roof…usually in one bedroom!
Economic factors play an important role in this phenomenon of the extended family; however, I like to think of it as a raucous episode of All in the Family, whose family members become an efficient nucleus, supporting one another, interdependent, and responsible for each others’ well-being. I wanted an extended family, too.
Draped over the barbed wire fence, snow-white diapers flapped in the wind like the Egrets’ nightly ritual at sunset. Marina stoked the cooking fire, while the chop, chop, chop of Don Jose’s ax whittled the mounds of sticks and logs to usable fuel for the fire. Jose’s girlfriend tenderly nursed four-month old Dustin in the backyard, while balancing on a broken plastic chair with only three strong legs. Meanwhile, two-year old Stephen chased the litter of puppies through the dirt-floored kitchen and into the backyard. He dragged one of the yelping puppies around the yard like Pigpen’s blanket. Julio swung a small plastic bucket, as he walked along the volcanic black sand ruts of the beach to the dairy farmer’s house to get milk for breakfast. And his brother, Jose, prepared for work at the water department. Jose’s job is to repair the water line breaks. He always notifies us when he is repairing a water line break because that means that we will be without water for the entire day. Today was one of those waterless days.
Don Jose, the 77-year-old patriarch of the family, waved goodbye to Luvis. She was taking their one shared bicycle into town to deliver breakfast to her sister, who had been sick. Don Jose’s presence emanates throughout the family, although the classical patriarch pattern of a macho man who beats his wife, is not reinforced in this family. Everyone knows that Marina, his wife, is the boss. She is the glue that holds this nucleus together. Every cell in her body oozes strength, fortitude, and persistence.
“Marina,” I asked between sips of the delicious atol, “Cory will be here in a few days. I’d like to find him a Nica girlfriend. Do you know of any good Nica girls?” She grabbed my arm, pushed me into the rocking chair on my porch and said, “Sit and listen to me carefully. We need to have a mother to mother talk.” In my idealistic fog, I expected to hear condolences and thoughts on how she cherishes her extended family and tends to all their needs.
Instead, she admonished, “I refuse to find Cory a Nica girlfriend. You have no idea what will happen, do you?” “No,” I replied naïvely. “But it sure would be great to have a cute Nica grand baby.”
She waved her arms like she was shooing the dogs, cats, chickens, and pigs out of her kitchen. “Fueda!” she shouted. (Out!) “You and Ron will be out! Out of your minds and your house because a Nica girlfriend will bring her entire extended family to live in your house.”
That thought never entered my mind. I shuddered with the thoughts of a Nicaraguan family blowing up my house because they wouldn’t know how to use a propane oven, or breaking all of my electronic equipment that I so carefully protect from the harsh tropical elements, or reprogramming my satellite TV, or burning plastic bags because they know nothing about recycling or protecting the environment. My beautifully trimmed grass would be littered with green and pink plastic bags, and poopey diapers..the national flowers of Nicaragua.The toilet would overflow constantly, with the novelty of a swirling flush…over and over…and over again.
“You are manna from heaven… rich gringos,” she stated like it was a common fact. “But, Marina,” I whined, “we are not rich. We worked very hard for what we have. I can’t help it. I am a gringa.” She laughed, not understanding our economic differences, but fully understanding the implications of a Nicaraguan girlfriend for Cory. “People have taken advantage of you because you are gringos,” she said. “I’ve seen how they charge you ‘gringo prices’ for your house. People, who do not know you, cannot look past the color of your skin. Listen to me, because I know. You are part of our family now. I am telling you the truth,” she whispered in a motherly voice.
Cory arrived the following Monday. He and his friend, Sam, moved into their new second story casita. They will be here for six months, taking Spanish lessons, exploring Nicaragua, and developing cultural programs. This morning, they walked past Marina’s house on their way to a weekend trip to San Juan del Sur, a touristy little fishing village on the Pacific coast. I overheard Marina shout to them, “Adios mi familia. There are a lot of beautiful gringas in San Juan del Sur. Have fun and good luck.”
I just had to laugh! For in my search for an extended family, and beautiful Nica grandchildren, Marina had given me a precious gift. We are part of her extended family. I can visit those beautiful grandchildren of hers any time and share our stories of love and compassion for our families, as only mothers know. I think I have the best of both worlds, now….I just have to keep it all in the family.