Here is an update from Marian that went to Nicaragua again this Spring:
First of all I am working here with Nancy and 2 other women Hannah and Jalna who have been here several times on different sorts of teams (medical, building etc). So they are familiar with the way things work and are done. Our first 2 days Nancy took us to all the places that there is fabric available - quilt type fabrics are next to none, but they do have beautiful broad cloth for only a few dollars. Fabric for clothing is available everywhere.
We have been visiting 6 different sewing co-ops for either 1 or 2 days (one left to go) After visiting with 5 of them already including Iglesias Hermosa where we were - I have to tell you we were spoiled in a number of ways. Yes the community was poor - but we had some very talented sewers already in the group and they were and are still very keen. I think we were very good teachers also - leaving them with the skills to continue. They have a Pastor who is so supportive and very much hands on. Not saying that some of the other communities don't have the support - some do but not in the same way. They had a beautiful church and sewing facillity - and it is kept very clean (the dust in some of the locations is tremendous and impossible to keep clean - I was so glad to take a shower most evenings). The little warehouse that they built is awesome - no other church has such a place to store their things. The shelves were well stocked and Nancy thought that they must have bought more things lately because it was fuller than the last time she was there. On Monday when I was there I met with Lucia and Azecena and 3 girls who were not with us last year but they were very talented - Jalna taught one girl a welt pocket and she even made a teaching kit with all the steps so she can teach it to the others. Hannah taught crocheting and I showed the rest how to make mini stocking ornaments and wallhangings using quilt by numbers. They should have a host of Christmas items for the traveling store in the fall. Nancy showed Lucy how to make a wine bag.
Pastor Julio also took us to his farm (a project for the men with PAN's help) The grenidines are a very interesting crop and they are very sucessful. It was wonderful to see. The farm is on land between the church and school - probably just past where that tree fell down.
Other things - the warehouse - If you remember we though that things had been in the warehouse for a long time and weren't getting out. Things are going out of that place everyday. It is just really dusty down here. They are organizing it better then last year and things are being better labled in the warehouse in Guelph so that it is easier when it arrives here. It is a process. The PAN land is changing too. They have started to build dorms there and there is a pavillion for teams to relax and socialize. From the talk that I have heard the plan is to move everything from Jenny's to there int the next 2 years.
The other thing that I have learned is that PAN is trying to help the people to look after themselves with these co-ops. Some of the teams that come down want to just give and give - but the people down here are taking advantage of that. We need to try to help them to get work to make money and then they can look after themselves. So Nancy is leaving contract jobs with all the co-ops. Similar to the bed sheets we left for our co-op to make for Berta Caledron. One co-op is making diapers for the hospital, another is making crib sheets for the NICU...and so on. PAN supplies the materials and pays them so much a piece for the work and they are very appreciative for the work. I think this is a good thing