Weekly Photo Challenge: Books as Symbols


The weekly photo challenge is symbol.

 

Symbols are stories. Symbols are pictures, or items, or ideas that represent something else. Human beings attach such importance and meaning to symbols that they can inspire hope. ~Lia Habel

 

I can think of no better symbol of hope than a book. When I opened the La Paloma Elementary School Library in my community, I had hopes of instilling a joy of reading in a culture that lacks understanding of books. It has grown beyond my expectations!

 

“There are many little ways to enlarge your world.  Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy
spanish books“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”
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A Tribute to Nicaraguan Mothers


In the 1940s, President General Anastasio Somoza Garcia declared Mother’s Day in honor of the birthday of his mother-in-law. Happy Mother’s Day to a few of my favorite Nicaraguan mothers.

“The only love that I really believe in is a mother’s love for her children.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
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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: Express Yourself


 

The weekly photo challenge is Express Yourself.

When Don Jose passed away, we had the job of entertaining his grandsons while everyone was making arrangements for the wake or vela. I love this photo because it really shows the expression of joy on the boys’ faces.

IMG_4999Then, we fed them chicken soup. I think they liked it! Entertaining four boys between the ages of 1 and 6 was exhausting, but it was a great opportunity to express our love and joy through the adventures of babysitting.

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The Grand Opening of the La Paloma Elementary School Library


“In a good book room you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”
― Mark Twain

 

The Grand Opening of the new La Paloma Elementary School Library was held the end of November, 2014. After months of remodeling, painting, categorizing, making book shelves, and organizing the books into simple genres, we held a book party with a piñata, food, a dance, and a ribbon cutting ceremony.  All 85 children enrolled in the elementary school received a new book to take home.

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Día de la Tierra Feliz


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


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More Earth Day coverage from Ometepe island. Don’t go yet!

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…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: My Hard-Working Community


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

Have oxen, will pick up and deliver

                                                 Have oxen, will pick up and deliver

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
― Beverly Sills

Have sugar cane, will travel.

                             Have sugar cane, will travel.

“Many who are self-taught far excel the doctors, masters, and bachelors of the most renowned universities.” ― Ludwig von Mises

Have boat, will fish.

                                                        Have boat, will fish.

“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

Have wood, will cook.

                                         Have wood, will cook.

“Sometimes there’s not a better way. Sometimes there’s only the hard way.”
― Mary E. Pearson, The Fox Inheritance

Have hands, will pick beans.

                                                    Have hands, will pick beans.

“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

Have goats, will raise.

                                     Have goats, will raise.

“All success comes down to this . . . action” ― Rob Liano

Have cart, will collect garbage.

                                          Have cart, will haul your stuff.

“As I tell my children, ‘If you are going to do something, do your best while you’re doing it.”
― Michelle Moore, Selling Simplified

Have puppies, will charm you into buying them.

               Have puppies, will charm you into buying them.

 

 

 

Timeout: Difficult Lessons


“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!

IMG_3425Though, 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.