This is Lew writing. I believe that I speak for most of the delegation when I say that one of our greatest concerns when it comes to supporting the Jubilee House Community is the Genesis Spinning Cooperative. We sat under the big shade tree with them and listened to several of the 18 co-op members talk about working for the last 4 years without pay and the disappointment they felt when they were cheated and given junk machinery that could not be used. The lawsuit continues and provides hope, but they need to see some success in their business soon. If you wish to help you may start by following the instructions on this link to send an email to those responsible for the problems.
Also, if you have some financial means, the VIDA fund created by Jubilee House will be an important source of support until a legal solution is achieved. Note that the VIDA fund accepts either donations or loans. The loans can be set up to pay back up to 5% annual interest over 5 years. JHC manages this fund. The VIDA fund and its predecessor funds have a perfect 15-year track record of paying back investors. Here is a direct link to information about the VIDA fund. At the bottom it says how to loan or donate to it.
While in Nicaragua, I spoke at length with Becca Mohally-Renk about the needs of the Genesis Cooperative and what their options are (or were at that time; end of August 2011). Of course receiving a proper settlement for the lawsuit would be ideal, but what we can help with most effectively now is getting the needed $125,000 into the VIDA fund. With that funding the Genesis Co-op could purchase used but functional spinning equipment in Costa Rica, disassemble it, ship it to the Genesis Co-op, reassemble it, and get it operating. This would take about 3 months from the time those funds are available.
While this is not the complete set of machinery needed to produce the final cotton thread, it would make a huge difference for them in several ways.
1.) The cotton "rope" they could then produce would not have to be fumigated to enter the US (as the baled cotton is now). Thus, it would become possible to export true organic cotton to the US and obtain a significantly higher price that they can now get from the baled cotton.
2.) This would boost both their income and their spirits.
3.) It would begin to prove to their families and the community that "the gringos" (Jubilee House) are not trying to cheat them.
4.) It would also help make funds from the Nicaraguan government more available; funds that are needed to further expand production to the final cotton thread.
If you doubt the importance of using organic cotton, please visit this link.
If you can read Spanish you may wish to read directly what the Genesis Co-operative members have to say on their website; www.genesis.jhc-cdca.org
I find the "profiles de socios" (member profiles) the most interesting part of their website. You may get something out of it even without reading fluently in Spanish.
I would appreciate any comments you may wish to add to this blog entry or any of the previous entries.
PS Anything you wish to say to the Genesis Cooperative members offering your support or prayers, can be passed on by emailing the Jubilee House Community at:
firstname.lastname@example.org This could mean a lot to them - just knowing we are doing what we can for them.