With Hearts Open & Kind

Here's the September 2021 newsletter of the CDCA in Nicaragua... If you would like a PDF printable version click here. If you would like to read it online, or share the link with others, click here.
Please let us know what you think. Thanks, Sarah
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September 2021

        COPROEXNIC, the organic agriculture cooperative, is hanging in year-after-year and adding farmers each year... cleaning harvested sesame in the fieldthis year they have added more women farmers as the result of a grant given by Shared Interest.

        The rains have been pretty good this season - knock on wood! The first harvest of organic sesame is being stacked in the fields to dry while the second crop is going in the ground, as are organic peanuts.

        2020's peanut crops suffered with the two back-to-back hurricanes. Added to the flooding, the processing was done poorly and slowly. As a result, the peanuts were high in aflatoxin causing the peanuts to require blanching which means less profit for the growers.

         COPROEXNIC rents and runs a sesame processing plant, and is in negotiations to rent a processing plant for their organic peanuts. When they are in charge of processing then they have control over the timing.inspecting peanut processing equipment Invested in the outcome, they can train and employ a team of people. This should give the co-op more return on peanuts which will mean that the buyers and farmers are happier … and Mike can sleep.

        We continue to search for more avenues in which to sell the organic coffee from 2020. The 2021 crops are growing. If you can help, please contact us at jhc@jhc-cdca.org. If you want to buy coffee, please contact FarmerShares.com.

     FarmerShares.comThe coffee growers comprise a small cooperative of 51 families on a remote, rural mountain. Their life is hard and filled with pain. When we can, we take one of our three clinic physicians up the mountain with the medicines we think will be needed. Your subscription to Farmer Shares helps provide the life-saving medicines from our People's Pharmacy, one of the many services of our Nueva Vida Health Clinic.

Nueva Vida Clinic     In the health and dental clinics, we have had several staff members recovering from COVID-19 which has limited what we can provide. We are seeing more and more patients with suspected COVID cases. We continue to send them to the public health clinics. If the patients are presenting even one symptom, they are provided with prophylactic medications, and instructions for them and their family to quarantine for two weeks.outdoor check-in at the Nueva Vida Clinic

      Nicaragua is reporting more cases...maybe it’s the delta variant or maybe not. The delta variant only needs one minute of exposure. It also delivers 1,000 times the viral load than other variants. We have a concern that it is going to go through Nicaragua like a hot knife through butter, no matter how hard the government works at prevention.

      We are asking all staff to be vaccinated. The government is making vaccinations voluntary, but to keep a job with us...the members of our staff need to be vaccinated. It is ethically unacceptable for our staff to infect patients at risk of dying from COVID, or infecting those who are not vaccinated - including children. So far, the Ministry of Health has had enough vaccines to vaccinate people 45 years old and older.socially distanced patient waiting line

      It was difficult for Kathleen to be in the States recently and see all the incentives being offered to entice people there to be vaccinated with little avail, while knowing there is a shortage of vaccines in Nicaragua.

      Josefa, our clinic administrator, was hospitalized with a ruptured appendix that caused peritonitis. She has healed and is back at work after two months…gracias a Dios! We survived without her.

      Starting in June we once again began seeing ORPHANetwork children in our dental clinic two days a week. Julio, our dentist, was one of the staff who had, but is now recovered from, COVID. Fabiola, our dental hygienist, is now home with her son’s suspected case. Pharmacy assistant, Danelia, is also on two-week quarantine.dental clinic

       Of course we continue requiring masks, social distancing, hand washing, strict cleaning, and protective gear in the clinic. What staff members and family do at home, we have no control over.

      Dominga, our clinic therapist, stays busy seeing over 100 clients each month as people live with fear of the virus, poverty, violence, grief, and trauma. Every month she helps 30 or more children with learning disabilities and developmental delays. She is a treasure to the community and the staff.

      We continue all our programs and services as safely as possible. We are implementing the Hikma Health on-line record keeping (last year's Giving Tuesday's project). We contracted with a computer engineer, Eduardo, to maintain the system online, to work out all the bugs, and be available for problems. We are pleased with his work.Hikma Health inservice training

      Our boys' groups have learned barber skills and our girls' group has learned how to create piñatas. The boys loved seeing Rebecca Wheaton, one of their past volunteer leaders, who came to Nicaragua for a visit.

      Another contracted addition to our work is financial accountant Carlos. With all the government requirements and our lack of knowledge of those requirements, it was past time to hire a true professional. He has been busy helping us get our act together. This is also allowing Kathy, at age 72, to move closer to retiring.

Casa Ben Linder      Casa Ben Linder, our solidarity and hospitality house is housing more and more people and receiving better reviews. One new face at CBL is Xiomara, who sells breakfasts and lunches to guests and the neighborhood. She also oversees the house-keeping which helps tremendously.Las Lobas lunch at CBL

       We continue to host art events as well as special family events. Another added face is Omar who helps manage all of these guests and activities.

 


      We continue to work on paperwork for the Nicaraguan government. No worries, we still run all our programs, it just means we have pending reports to file. With the USA's sanctions and meddling in Nicaragua’s internal affairs, the government is making sure that each foreign non-governmental organization is doing what they say they are doing and NOT trying to overthrow the rightfully elected government. Makes sense to us, even though we do get anxious with this year’s paperwork lingering on pending approval.

      The first Sunday in November Nicaragua will have its general elections. If you keep up with international news you may be reading a great deal of misleading information.

     After the attempted coup in 2018, everyone who had been arrested - whether it was for vandalism, looting, demonstrating without a permit, blocking roads, torture, or even murder - was granted provisional amnesty. The provision was that if they broke the law again, they would be arrested and stand trial.

     That seems logical…and generous…and yet many of these people who committed crimes before and were released are now breaking the law again and as a result are being arrested, while the international press continues to scream “repression.”

      Of course we do not know all the people arrested. We do not know all the crimes they are charged with, but we do know that the United States State Department had a paper leaked in 2020 that outlines how the State Department plans to disrupt the elections here and if the Sandinistas are elected again how the U.S. plans to create violence and havoc attempting to accomplish another coup since the one in 2018 failed. Go here for an article which includes the link and read it yourself: https://afgj.org/u-s-cries-foul-because-nicaragua-stops-it-from-buying-this-years-elections.

      We also expect that the Sandinistas will be re-elected for a fourth time. Why? Because of repression? No.

      Because of voter restriction? No.

      Because of new laws to limit who can get a ballot? No.

new overpass at Las Piedrecitas      Then why? Because since 2007, they have improved this country for all, especially those living in poverty. The middle class has grown. The infrastructure is so, so much better. Roads are the best in Central America now. Electricity coverage is up from 53% to 99%, as is potable water. Health care has improved dramatically and there are new hospitals, new homes to care for pregnant women, new health clinics, specialty care clinics and hospitals, and on and on the list goes. The government has lowered infant and maternal mortality rates. New parks have been built and old ones refurbished for children to have a safe place to play. WiFi is free in all the parks. More and more children are going to school and receiving free lunches. Hunger is reduced. AND it is because of all of THESE things that they will win again.San Juan del Sur new hospital

      But outside forces together with the Nicaraguan historic oligarchy and other political parties continue to cry foul. They run to foreign governments seeking sanctions, aid to overthrow the rightfully elected government, and blockades; when they could choose to look at aspects where they might help create a better Nicaragua. They could go to the people and talk to them…but they instead choose not to develop an alternative platform. Ergo, odds are highly in favor of the Sandinistas winning again.
ZOOM invite

Jubilee House CommunityJubilee House Community News:

      In June, after receiving two vaccines each, Sarah took Peggy, Kathleen's 91-year- old mother, back to South Carolina. First time any of us have traveled since COVID began. Sarah took the opportunity to see adult children and grandchildren while there.

      Becca's parents have been dealing with health issues and fires in Idaho. They live in the mountains near a 6,000-plus acre fire. It has been scary and it has been hard on Becca to be so far away, and to not be able to travel because she is too young yet to receive the vaccine here.

      Claudia is now recovered from COVID. She, Daniel, and a very bored 2-year-old Samantha quarantined for two weeks in their little home. It has helped us understand how hard it must be for Nicaraguans living in poverty to be cooped up.

      On 12th of July, Peggy died as the result of a massive stroke. She had only been back in S.C. for 15 days when she had her stroke. She met her great-grandsons who had been born while Peggy self-quarantined with us in Nicaragua … for one-and-a-half years.

      Peggy was a pray-er. One of her daily prayers was for enough donations to the come in to the CDCA for solar panels for the clinic. She would ask us frequently how it was coming along. Kathleen and her brother, Roderick, decided that in lieu of flowers, gifts could be made to this project in her memory. If you want to give a gift in Peggy’s memory, click here.Network for Good logo

Reflection:

Bob and Peggy Murdock      Mama, Peggy Murdock, was an amazingly kind and thoughtful person. I could go on for pages about her, but what I will focus on here was her willingness to observe life around her and to decide what her response would be in light of her own observations… not what others said… and always with love in her heart.

      Together with Daddy, Mama was an advocate of civil rights and an end to racism. She got to know Risher Brabham in Rock Hill as they both volunteered with us. He invited her to join No Room for Racism and she made dear friends. Her heart told her to treat all with kindness, and as she learned of injustices, she acted.

      As Mama got older, she hired a woman who was originally from Mexico to do deeper cleaning at home one day each two weeks. She paid her $25/hr, gave her paid sick days, paid into her social security, and gave her paid vacation. Why? Because people should not take advantage of others.

      Through an ESL course, she learned of a Chinese student who was working on his masters in engineering living out of his car in Charlotte. She and Daddy offered him their home. David Wang and his family are now part of our family. His daughter Wei and her now husband volunteered with us one summer.
cooking Chinese with David
     After getting to know David, Mama and Daddy taught English in China. She went to an orphanage in the city they taught in. She saw babies not ever being held and children going hungry. So every week, the staff would allow her to come and cuddle babies, feed children the vitamins and the bananas she bought.

     She and Daddy ran a food pantry out of the church Daddy pastored. When they felt that they could not serve as many as needed the food, they moved the pantry to their home to offer food at all hours.

     Never was our Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter table empty of people who lived alone.

     Mama served churches with an unwavering sense of compassion. She knew how to sit in silence and hold a grieving mother's hand.

Peggy helping with paperwork     Mama served the CDCA. She received our donations, deposited them, sent out cookbooks, and other gifts, copied and recorded all the gifts from early 2000 till 2015 when she had strokes that limited her physical capabilities.

     She loved the fluctuating members of our community... always giving gifts. On the Christmas our Community numbered 20 plus in 1986... she gave us each a dental floss and one dollar.

     She watched Nicaragua as it changed, always noting all the aspects of Christianity demonstrated by the government of "the Godless nation," as Pres. Reagan called Nicaragua. She could never understand what burr got up the U.S.'s backside to make Nicaragua a target. She would write letters and call her representatives using what influence she had to try to stop the harassment. She would try and try to make sense of it, because thinking that her nation could act as a bully was too much for her; but living here with us, she couldn’t condone the pain her nation caused Nicaraguans.

     Seeing a nation as its people was one aspect of Mama's personality. People never existed just as a group… but instead they were collections of individuals with hopes, loves, fears, and lives like her own. This enabled her to be open to Nicaraguans, people of color, Chinese people, LBGTQ people, poor people, hungry people, and even people she disagreed with and whose views created schisms in the world.
JHC-CDCA with staff and volunteers
     If I live to be 91 years of age, may I die with a heart as open and kind as hers.
- Kathleen

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or mail your donation check to:

Jubilee House Community - CDCA
c/o Sue Williams
4376 Pennington Rd
Rock Hill SC 29732-8159

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WillPlease contact us at jhc@jhc-cdca.org for more information on how to include the JHC-CDCA in your Estate Planning
Vida Fundor for more information on loans to the Vida Fund to help organic farmers.

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