LETTER FROM NICARAGUA: SUCCESS AND PROMISE OF ABUNDANCE AMIDST CHALLENGES

Sandra PriceSister Sandra Price writes from Mulukukú: May is the month when the rains start in Nicaragua, eagerly awaited by farmers. It is the time to plant again. After months without rain and without crops it is a season of hope, that life will be renewed again. The grain stored from the last harvest has been consumed and over the next few months there will be hunger if the last harvest was poor, which is the case for the poorest families, who have no cattle to support their families. The next three months are often ones of anxiety: Will the rains come? Will they be sufficient? Or will there be too much rain? But there is also the hope and promise of abundance if all goes well.

We are living in Mulukukú in a time of new plantings in our ministries. After twenty years of intensive primary courses, the program has fulfilled its function. Now, in contrast to the reality of the 80s and 90s, there are primary schools in every community in the mountains. Now illiteracy has been reduced from over 75% to about 10% percent or less in some places. Now young people study in high school classes near their homes and there are Saturday programs for those who cannot study every day because they must work in the fields during the week. So we are looking for new ways to accompany communities and especially women. One project is the organization of a farmers’ market specifically targeted to help women who come to town to sell their products, bananas, cassava, quiquisque, cheese, chicken eggs, and even firewood, everything they produce on their farms. The market was a “small success” on the first day, May 27th. We had only four sellers but everything was sold and buyers were asking for more products. Next week promises to bring in more producers and more produce.

In the parish, the Missionary Sisters of Christ with whom I live and work are collaborating more closely with the parish priest, assuming the management of catechesis, the Holy Childhood program, youth groups and choir. At the same time we question the direction we want for the next 20 years, especially to meet the challenges presented by the reality in which we live. Our participation in the United Nations conference on “Empowerment of Rural Women for the Reduction of Poverty and Hunger” in February confirmed for us three of the most urgent challenges in Nicaragua and throughout Latin America:

  • Violence against women
  • Poverty and instability
  • Women as victims and not instances of change.

We also confirmed our belief in the future we work for:

  • Believing in the bases
  • Working in groups and in collaboration with others
  • Creating structures to eliminate poverty and inequality
  • Working for gender equality at all levels and in all structures
  • Knowing Education is key.
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