Meet Maxwell

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
― Charles William Eliot


In 2004, Maxwell was one of my English students. He is on the left in the front row of this photo. Throughout the years, I have continued to watch these young men grow and thrive.
Sergio, ( the one with the devil horns) is the manager of the Corner House Cafe. Smiling Luis, behind Sergio, is a very talented classical guitarist. Luis, ( front right) speaks very good English, works in our local grocery store and leads tours.

I am so proud of all of my students for they have beat the odds and are very successful in their chosen careers. When I was looking for a librarian to teach in our new La Paloma Elementary School, I encountered a serendipitous moment. Maxwell had returned to Ometepe Island to finish his degree in English. He spent three years in Managua on a full scholarship, but had to return to the island for medical reasons.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Come Together Right Now

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Converge. The Nicaraguan people have converged or assembled for many things recently. Using some of John Lennon’s lyrics for “Come Together”,this is a visual story of the ways in which the Nicaraguans converge.

                     Here come old flattop he come grooving up slowly
                     He got joo-joo eyeball he one holy roller
Nicaraguans converge at the cemetery to celebrate the life of my neighbor, Don Jose.
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Los Ramos Says Many Thanks!

The Help Los Ramos Rebuild donation website has been extremely successful. Thanks to YOUR support for this lovely indigenous community, you have given them hope and encouragement to rebuild their community of 125 families who were affected by the October 8th landslides on Ometepe Island.


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Goodie Bags for Los Ramos

It’s not often that one gets to see immediate results of their donations or knows that all of the money received goes directly to those who need it the most. For $800 we bought over 1,000 pounds of food for 125 families. That averages out to be $6 for each goodie bag.  Thanks, Kris, for figuring that one out for me. :-) No overhead costs, no administrative costs…all the money goes directly to these lovely families of Los Ramos.

On Saturday, Ron and I walked…and sometimes climbed, scooted, and tramped over boulders to get into Los Ramos to help distribute the food bags to each family. See my earlier post.

When we arrived, Ever’s family was busy scooping rice, pouring cooking oil into small plastic bags, and packing the bags for 125 families living in Los Ramos. Landslides destroyed their community.

"Say Pizza," I say as I snap a photo. "Pizza? Where's the pizza?" they all laugh.

“Say Pizza,” I say as I snap a photo. “Pizza? Where’s the pizza?” they all laugh.

Ever's uncle has the slippery job of scooping the cooking oil and pouring it into plastic bags.

Ever’s uncle has the slippery job of scooping the cooking oil and pouring it into plastic bags.

Ever's mother organizes all the bags, and says "Hello world. Thank you for everything."

Ever’s mother organizes all the bags, and says “Hello world. Thank you for everything.”

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Travel Theme: Broken Lives

“This planet is a broken bone that didn’t set right, a hundred pieces of crystal glued together. We’ve been shattered and reconstructed.” ~ Tahereh Mafi

Broken lives…125 families forced to reconstruct their lives from the devastating rock and mudslides on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. Yesterday, Ron and I tramped over boulders and through mud to reach the Los Ramos community to deliver supplies to the families. Take a walk with us so you can see for yourselves Mother Nature’s powerful and destructive forces.

Supplies were delivered at the top of the hill. “So far, this doesn’t look too bad,” I said encouragingly to Ron.

Keep reading. You can’t believe the destruction ahead.

A Lesson in Real Humility

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”
― J.M. Barrie


I was raised in the belief that one should always be humble, which I interpreted as being meek, never accepting a compliment, and certainly never acknowledging a gift or a talent one might have. But, this week, I learned that I have completely misunderstood this virtue.
Instead of an eyes cast down, submissive, weak, breast-beating virtue; I discovered within me an ability to take an honest appraisal of my abilities, and accept responsibility for the good and not-so-good things that I have done.

After the horrifying mud and rock slides that consumed the indigenous community of Los Ramos, I took a hard look at what I could do to help this community. What was I good at doing? What was I ridiculously silly at attempting to do?

I’m too old to be digging boulders out of their road. My Spanish isn’t good enough to go door to door and collect money for the community. I can’t drive a straight nail. Truth be told, I hate driving at all. I don’t have a green thumb. I’m embarrassingly clumsy.

Yet, all false modesty aside, I am a great organizer. I can write well, and my computer skills are excellent. I have a large network of family, friends, and bloggers all over the world. It dawned on me that I could confidently use these skills to help Los Ramos rebuild.
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Help Los Ramos Rebuild

I talked with Ever Potoy today about his lovely community of Los Ramos on Ometepe Island. Because of 5-6 landslides, their community was destroyed. I am sick with worry for this community and I want to help them rebuild.

“Ever, what can we do to help?” I asked.

“We need candles and food,” he responded while on his motorcycle going to get some supplies.

That’s just like these humble, hardworking people to respond with such simple needs.

So, if you can find it within your loving hearts…let’s buy these people lots of candles and food within the next two weeks. Thanks for your help!

Help Los Ramos Rebuild

If you would like to learn more about this amazing community, here is their website.
Los Ramos

Let the Good Times Roll?

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
― Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank


let the good times rollRecently, I’ve been bombarded on my Facebook news feed with videos of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. The ALS marketing strategy is brilliant and has raised over $30 million dollars for ALS research and created an awareness of ALS throughout the world. Letting the good times roll by donating to a reputable charity AND having fun while doing it is exhilarating.
Keep rolling. More good times ahead.

Part One: The Culture of Reading in Nicaragua, or Not

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
― Mark Twain

IMG_5762Imagine a world where books are rare… where children are never read bedtime stories… where there are no libraries…no understanding of reading for pleasure…Oh the Places You Won’t Go without Dr. Seuss…no teacher literacy training…nothing to help advance literacy in children. If you can’t imagine this world, all you have to do is come to Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.
Definitely keep reading.Reading is so very important.