Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fourth day - Thursday

Photos were all taken on Wednesday August 24
Written Thursday Aug 25 
Schedule for this day:
7:15 AM Breakfast
8:30 AM or so Talk by Jennifer Atlee-Loudon about Liberation Theology
10:00 AM Some go to work at the clinic
12:00 PM Lunch
1:30 PM Work time - some go to work on excavating the driveway - some to the clinic.
4:30 PM Work time complete
6:00 PM Dinner

Betsey: First night musings
Sounds of chirring, chirps, trills,
Noises foreign to me, how curious!
How long since I’ve been in a place at night where I couldn’t identify the sounds of the darkness?
A wailing siren, brushing teeth, distant drumming, muted voices,
These I know, and now a chance to learn new ones.

Now Thursday night and again a quiet time to listen to the sounds outside, standing by the pool. There it is, the sounds of a video arcade, but actually "boing-boing" frogs that live here, gathered where the water is.

The days have been full for all of us with various activities and speakers and the evenings varied as well. Tuesday night a group of 10 students from Earlham College were here as part of their orientation to a study semester in Nicaragua. Laura, Becca Maholly Renk and I joined them in a EC photo. We had a great time listening to Nicaraguan folk music of Guitarra de Madera Azul, and the guitar actually was a blue wooden one. The couple’s music and the dancing of their daughter were wonderful. They closed their program with a circle dance that included all of us. What a lively evening!

Last night there weren’t any particular plans and as we sat around after dinner in the bunkhouse meeting room, Judy, one of the Episcopalians, asked us how Quakers worship and what was it like. As you can imagine there were as many descriptions as there were Quakers in the room, but we found a richness sharing our experiences and ended up getting our Faith and Practice out. The Episcopalians explained their organization and also shared from their spiritual journeys. Somehow sharings like this that just evolve have a special richness.

Josh von Kustger here. What has struck me on this trip again and again is that people are people. The same silly jokes that get a laugh for me in the States get the same laugh and rolling of the eyes in Nicaragua; even in broken Spanish. People have the same concerns and the same motivations and the same hopes here as anywhere else.

As for how I’ve been passing my time, I am now a bit of a concrete worker. Our non-medical party has been exploring the upper limits of human perspiration capacity since Monday. Today we were excavating the foundation for a paved drive way to the Genesis spinning cooperative to accommodate the trucks bearing cotton later this year. This involves picks and shovels and I keep getting flashbacks of the opening scene from BLAZING SADDLES so while my electrolyte levels are a bit off, my spirits remain intact (thank you very much Mel Brooks).

I have most enjoyed the conversations I’ve had with the folks here. Padre Pedro Bautista, Giovani and Rosa and Sarah who are all connected to Genesis, Josue who has been helping us with the paving. There was even a guy selling Eskimo (ice cream) from his pushcart who stopped by today and I had an opportunity to chat with him for a bit. The conversations have been highly rewarding, memorable and entertaining.

It is rewarding to see that the recipe for acceptance is possibly universal. All that is required is an open mind, a bit of humility, willingness to work (hard) and a smile and there is nowhere in my experience that you will not be welcome.

It has also been very helpful to be accompanied in spirit by friends not able for one reason or other to make it here. There are hammocks all over the place here. The clinic has an herb garden. They have a rescue-monkey out back and a couple of cats and dogs. There are lots of birds I’ve never seen before. I was welcomed to the country by an advertisement for Flor de Cana rum. They have a limon tree (think key lime) and served plantanos maduros (ripe plantains) for lunch today. All of these have been more-or-less unexpected reminders of people who put a smile on my face.

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