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Mar 2, 2020

An outing to the sea

ready to go
ready to go

Everything seems in order at the last check. Everyone has got their own rucsac for the day. These gift-rucsacs come into their own today. They were donated by the people of the Pompe in the Netherlands last summer, and appreciated – except that Jonathan didn’t like the addition of a name tag on his bag and took it off straight away!

We waited for the mini-bus. ´We´ means all residents and regular day staff of the community home. Our night shift staff were not able to join the outing, but we were delighted that our staff members doña Mayra could bring her son, Carmen her daughter and Ana her sister. By way of a joint-effort raffle campaign we raised enough money to cover the entire cost of the outing the transport (by our standards the cost of renting a minibus for 5.000 cordobas (= $ 150,- US) is a lot.), drinks on the way and buying food (cooking it at home). And we were proud of it because we did it together as workers of the community home. 

The beach
The mini-bus arrived at 7 am. We quickly loaded up and were off for our journey to Masachapa, the nearest beach to Juigalpa, but nonetheless a 4-hour drive. We arrived at the beach around 11 am after a brief sanitary stop on the way. We did not need to search for the best stretch of beach: the sea at the nearest beach was calm and shallow and had a pleasant temperature. The pictures show how much everyone enjoyed it.

The beach was very quiet; we could not even find a restaurant open for business. Tourism has drastically declined since the socio-political crisis which started in April 2018. Fortunately we found a ‘senora’ who was willing to rent to us chairs, tables and a sun shade made with supporting poles and palm leaves for a fair price, so we could enjoy the lunch, cooked by doña Mayra at home, in all comfort. As icing on the cake we finished off our lunch with an ice cream bought from a local seller.

Blow-out tyre on the way back
We started the return journey around 5 pm in order to avoid the rush hour in Managua. Our aim was to be back not much after 8 pm, which for most of us is bedtime. But our mini-bus had a blow-out. Fortunately the driver had a spare wheel and everything else needed to replace the burst tyre. We enjoyed our supper while he fixed the tyre, but of course it took time, and in the end we did not get home till 10 pm. Everyone was still in a good mood after having enjoyed this day ‘with a golden edge.’

Surprise
The day became even more special when we met the owner of the mini-bus who insisted that lending her vehicle to us was her contribution to the outing! Together we are able to create beautiful events and memories. Of course  we will be able to have more of these kinds of experiences next year, and share it with you, who feel yourself part of our team!

transport
transport
protected and comfortable
protected and comfortable
relaxing
relaxing

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Jan 27, 2020

Flea market

So there I was, with Ana Alicia, the Chair of the Ruach Foundation, waiting for the Mayor in Juigalpa’s Town Hall. Two weeks before we had asked for permission to organize a flea market in the town centre, in the central park in front of the Cathedral, to raise money for our work. We got that permission, black on white, without a hitch.

But yesterday, a day before the planned activity - and we were totally prepared - the permission was withdrawn, because the Municipality had planned its own activities in the park. So no place for our flea market!

Searching
Our visit to the Mayor did not solve anything, and we lost an hour in waiting. So we decided to visit the padre of the cathedral hoping for his permission to use the space beside the cathedral, which is often used for activities, for our flea market. Bad luck, the padre was elsewhere in a meeting and did not answer his phone. It was 8:30 am by now and I had a dental appointment, leaving Ana Alicia behind in a lot of stress. For the last two weeks we had been collecting items, and publicizing the event via posters and social media. Several people had donated items for sale, clothes in particular. Transport was arranged, as was the hiring of a sound system. Now what? Where on earth could we go?

“How a cow catches a hare” (a Dutch expression)
But life has a way of running its own course, not always our planned course. And when you are open to that, life may surprise you. I knew the mother of my dentist well as she was an active member of the Roman Catholic Church. So when I arrived at their home, I asked her for the phone number of the responsible person for the Catholic Church. She did not have it, but her daughter did and gave it to me. I rang padre Paul, explained the situation, asked for the space beside the cathedral, and in less than 5 minutes it was arranged! Even before I saw the dentist, I was able to ring a hugely relieved Ana Alicia, who got the organisation of the flea market going. So the flea market did happen, only a little bit delayed.

Implementation
The pictures below tell the story of the day. The activities club worked that day to promote the work of our Foundation. They produced some piñatas, and also piggy banks, and flowers made from plastic bottles. We were able to borrow some gazebos to protect us from sun or rain; others helped with paying for hiring the sound system. Again it was a joint effort and we reaped the harvest. The financial gain of about $150 was modest, but it was $150 more than we had at the beginning of the day. Moreover, we got in touch with more people who now know about our work. So we are in good spirits as we plan to sell the remaining items, and soon too! We keep on moving forward.

 

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Dec 23, 2019

training on the job

After this month’s coaching session for the Ruach home care assistants I asked for their feedback. On behalf of the group I was able to thank Sara, our coach, and told her the session had not been good , it had been simply excellent!! Our group begged her to give them some more coaching soon.

Every month

Every month we spend part of a day from 8 till 10 am on a particular theme which is either chosen by the home care assistants themselves, or proposed by me based on my observation of issues  in the community that would benefit from stronger support or deeper understanding. Generally I lead these sessions, but I bear in mind the desire to have someone from our team prepare for and lead a session.

All the home care assistants are well-intentioned but they started working for Ruach without previous experience in working with persons with intellectual limitations. Courses in this discipline do not exist in Nicaragua. I teach the basics to new staff member in their first week here, and keep that up through regular coaching in their daily work after that, hoping that this will give the new staff member a feel for the work in the community home. Daily meetings at the start of the working day, set up to work in a coordinated way and to re-direct the work when needed, also help us to learn more about the needs of our core members and how we can address those needs. Of course it also promotes our team spirit.

Sara
 I had asked Sara to lead today’s coaching session. She works with us as a volunteer once a week to give a massage to Maria Helena and Daniel who both enjoy that a lot. Sara is a Nicaraguan who has lived in the USA for many years and has familiarized herself with reiki, alternative medicine and massage. The theme for Sara’s session was: ‘How to optimally utilize your energy’  Sara was quite nervous because concepts such as ´chakras´ and ‘medians’ and the connection between health and energy, and between illness and energy blocks etc.  are still quite unknown in Nicaragua. People tend to believe that it does not correspond to what it says in the Bible; or it is very far removed from people’s own experiences. Although it is a wisdom transmitted through the centuries, it has been in another faith tradition.

No one in our team had heard about ‘chakras’, but all were fascinated and open-minded, and enthusiastically joined in with exercises designed to make people feel their own energy flow, to activate the meridians or to experience that someone else’s energy can get you off-balance, if you allow this.

A special experience: Miguel
It was special that Miguel, one of our core members who usually sits outside when there is no programme, started joining in with the exercises through his arm movements. When I urged him to become part of our circle, he immediately responded and insisted he’d stay there till the end. We are aware that our house mates (just like anyone else who is not very ‘verbal’) are sensitive and very tuned-in to what radiates from people around them. Thank you Miguel for demonstrating just that! It also emphasized the fact that every person contributes to the atmosphere in our community home, for better or worse, through the energy that each of us emanate. Today’s theme was so important that we will follow it up in the new year, with Sara as our leader!

EXTRA- Thank you- ThanksGiving

Thanks for all the peolpe who made the ThanksGiving campaignday with Global giving the 3th of December an success. We reached our goal: have the money for a new washing machine when the old one will stop working. Thanks to everybody who helpecd us to reach the goal!!

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