Friday, January 12, 2007

Saludos de Nicaragua

Right now I am in Nicaragua for a January Term travel seminar on Fair Trade coffee, thanks to a scholarship from Lutheran World Relief. This has been an amazing trip full of transformation and insight. Yesterday was a huge day in the history of Nicaragua, as Daniel Ortega was inaugurated president. We watched the ceremony and speech on TV, since it was in Managua and we´re in Matagalpa, but this city was sounding with fireworks. Most of the areas we´ve been visiting are of Ortega´s Sandanista party and have hope in the new government. It´s quite an exciting time to be in Nicaragua.

Today (Thursday) we were in the city of Matagalpa, and headed out to La Esperanza (Hope) Cooperative, which LWR supports. We heard various stories from the people that work at this coffee cooperative, and the benefits to the community. One is that because of the cooperative, their wages don´t go up and down because of the market, but are sustained. Another is many community projects such as road improvement and a car for emergencies. The community was very hopeful that we would share their stories with all of you, and keep promoting Fair Trade coffee. They send thanks to all of you who support their cooperative through LWR.

Then we visited a women´s collective supported by Project CIPRES and LWR who works on growing, processing and commercializing medicinal plants and conserved products. Two women shared their stories of how the medicinal plants not only help with income, but also with the health of the community. The other 24 women were invited to meet with president Ortega and president Chavez of Venezuela.We ended the day with reflection. Overall, I am struck by the vibrant spirit of Nicaragua, the deep beauty of it´s people and land. I have seen the Spirit of God shining in the resilience and hope in the people I have had the pleasure to meet here. I am learning a lot about the depth of solidarity, and this is equipping me for ministry.

I will be documenting the rest of the trip on my blogs to come (when I return to the US).

In Gods peace,

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