September 2003

    The Women's Sewing Cooperative is working on a large order of over 5,000 t-shirts and 3,000 camisoles without Sarah and Becca, who are out of the country at this printing. This is a real test for the women.     
The women realized they have some problems so they hired a production manager, Raśl, whose workload with the agricultural co-op has dropped. His job is to be the "bad guy" and call them into accountability, which they cannot do to each other.

    The Concrete Construction Materials Cooperative received a large order for housing blocks. A recent challenge for them is reducing waste.

    The Clay Water Filter Cooperative is doing much better with two volunteers locating new markets for their filters. Marketing, management, and administration continue to be the issues for all these cooperatives.

    The Security Cooperative received a setback when they got lax and $150 worth of slate for the ITF flooring was stolen. It has come out of their cushion, so no profits. Good lesson.

    The Coffee Cooperative anticipates a crop of 50,000 pounds of coffee in early 2004. We need buyers. We think 10,000 is sold. It is good coffee - organic rustic shade grown coffee. Contact us if you are interested.
    Besides trying to find markets, we help the coffee co-op in other ways, too. We've sent a medical team up there every month this year except March and July. The dentist went in June and the hygienist gave out toothbrushes and taught them how to keep their teeth clean. Through a delegation from North Carolina Campus Ministries, they will be able to school their children through the ninth grade (instead of just the sixth).
    We and they are exploring ways to get them water. They survive on one gallon of water per person per day. We can use lots of ideas.

    The International Training Facility (ITF) has a slated floor thanks to a special donation and lots of volunteer help. The ITF looks great but is still in the hole financially (over $8,000). You can still contribute to this wonderful building, and for a contribution of $150 or more have a tile in someone's honor/memory (or your own honor!).

    Four delegations worked mid/May - June. The first was from North Carolina Campus Ministries. They worked, learned, and raised money (see above) for the coffee cooperative. The second, from St. John's United Methodist Church in Rock Hill, SC, came with a dentist, a dental hygienist, and other workers. They donated and shipped a dental chair station. We need a dentist now.
    The third group came from Parkway United Church of Christ in Winston-Salem, NC. They brought lots of medicines, a doctor, a Physician's Assistant, and five members from the Friends of CDCA board (we've now had seven of the twelve here this year).
    The fourth group was a small but hardworking group from Sanford High School in Hockessin, DE. Along with these groups we've had the help of nine other individual volunteers.
    We've hosted Tim Fogarty for seven months (in-and-out). Tim is researching delegations and their impact on small communities for his anthropology dissertation.
    We've had the help of Jessica Woodard and Mikel Waxler for seven months coordinating our volunteers and working with our computers respectively. Besides their wonderful help it was great having Jessica here for so long.

Needs:
  • Glucometer strips - if anyone has a source of inexpensive strips, please let us know.
  • microscope piece - Spencer (AO) 40-80 x obj. doesn't require oil
  • dental instruments
  • Thanks: Thanks to all the people...
  • Who have come to volunteer
  • Who support the work financially
  • Who send thoughts, notes, and prayers our way
  • And especially to North Anderson Community Church Presbyterian and the kids in Asheville who collate the newsletter
  •     The Nueva Vida Clinic was saddened to lose our Susana. Sue Klassen, a nurse practitioner, worked with us for a little more than three years. She helped us through many transitions including the move from the temporary clinic to our current clinic with her warmth, expertise, and wisdom. We are interviewing for an ob/gyn right now and are exploring ways to obtain a dentist.
        The Women's Center is ready for its roof. Volunteers have labored long and hard and now it's time for the professionals to come and get it further along.

        Sarah is currently on her yearly speaking tour on the East Coast. She postponed her tour so she could spend time with her daughter, Jessica, our volunteer coordinator.
        Immediately following Sarah's return, Kathleen and family will go to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of her parents, Bob and Peggy Murdock. Following their return, Kathy and Pat will head out to Ohio for their speaking tour.
        The community has celebrated birthdays and special occasions here with volunteers and friends. In July we hosted a wedding for two good friends and a wedding party for Becca (Women's Sewing Cooperative) and Paul and simultaneously a despedida (going away party) for Sue (Health Clinic) and her family.

    Reflection:
        When the Spanish conquistadors came to Nicaragua, Nicaragua had an indigenous population estimated at between one and two million people. The Spaniards brought disease; thousands died. The Spaniards brought war; thousands and thousands were massacred. And the Spaniards brought slavery.
        They captured hundreds of thousands of indigenous people and shipped them mostly to the silver mines in Peru as well as to Panama. In Panama they used them to carry cargo from the West Coast to the East Coast - again, mostly silver.
        In 35 years the indigenous population had dropped from one or two million to 8,000!! Even the new Spanish landlords were complaining because they didn't have enough people (slaves) to work this new land.
        This was the beginning of Nicaragua's written history. Conquering, death, slavery. It has continued in many fashions up until today. If the people try to rise up and throw off whatever current version of conqueror they have, they are left with poverty, slavery of some kind, and death. It is so ingrained that the people here are literally beaten down.
        They suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a people, as a result of all the conquering. They cannot free themselves and take control.
        They are a brave people, a strong people, a surviving people, but in many ways they respond as slaves - never trusting, looking for bosses, and never quite believing in themselves.
        This is our challenge with the cooperatives. This is their challenge - to throw away the emotional shackles and tap the resourcefulness, the stubbornness, the creativity, the power inside that keeps them and their families surviving, and then use that to move towards success. It can be theirs. We know it. They've just gotta believe.


    - Kathleen

    Yes, I want to help support this work....
    To receive a quarterly newsletter, please send us your name and paper address.