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.

 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!!


Nov 4, 2019

Swimmingpool transport

Since Ana Julia, our swimming volunteer,  sold her car we’ve had quite a lot of work to find someone who could drive us to the swimming pool, our weekly outing on Wednesday morning to do our therapy in the water with all the commmunity members. Before that time Ana Julia had been driving us for months.

It’s not straightforward. The driver should be free on the Wednesday morning and would need a vehicle that can carry 10- 11 people in one trip. We’ve learned that we can approach people to help with this about once a month, but not more often, to ensure that the driver continues to do it with pleasure. So we have a list of 4 posible drivers, but it takes time and quite a lot of luck to find the match!

Fortunately Ana Julia helped me in the search for a weekly vehicle and driver, and we were lucky 9 out of 10 times, sometimes juggling with plans A and B and, if need be, plan C. Then Ana Julia got in touch with a mini-van company that provides transport between Juigalpa and Managua, but also can arrange trips on request, of course for a fee. But our approach was to persuade the owner of the company to provide us the service free of charge.

So we wrote him a nice letter. As we did not get a quick reply, I followed it up with several phone calls thinking that we had nothing to lose, and everything to gain. See the result in the photograph. Three weeks ago we travelled to and from the swimming pool in some style and luxury.

However, that did not mean the end of the transport saga. Last week the company had to call off the arrangement for that day, so I had to continue my search. And after this week, it workes out: one week he helped us with the transport, another week it was not available...So I continue our search and wrote, with the help of Ana Julia, to another transport owner.  We became in contact with lady Anielka, owner of several buses, who was touched by our work.  And when I phone her on Tuesday afternoon, asking the posibilities of the transport of the swimmingpool for the next day, she always said: Of course! Great to be in touch with this kind of peolpe!  Weekly, without problems she send us a van and we enjoy our stay in the swimmingpool!

It is nice that we have a different driver every time. The owner employs 4 drivers. During the trip we of course tell about our work, thereby expanding our circle of acquaintances. At the end of the trip we always show our appreciation with a little applause. Together we can make the world a better place for anybody!


Oct 3, 2019

Eric did a run for Ruach and wrote about this big happening

Eric training for his run
Eric training for his run

The setting of the Run

The run took place in my home town in the Netherlands, a 10 km route through Winschoten, the Mills Town of the North of the Netherlands. My family came in good numbers to cheer me on.

By midday several more family members had congregated hoping to see me complete the 50 km. They assembled in front of my former parental home on the ‘stoep’ of the ageing former neighbours across the road who still are dear friends of the Jager tribe.

Promotion of my charities

My family had set up a table where passers-by could get some information about the two charities I was supporting with the run, The Ruach Fundacion in Nicaragua and the Hidden Needs Trust organization in England.

My run
This run wasnot a ‘walk, or even a jog, in the park’, and that somehow makes me feel that I more nearly earned the sponsorship money I received through different channels!
Already in the beginning my legs felt stiff. And my heart rate was much higher than normal for an early stage of a run and the controlled speed I was running at. 

I linked up with a running partner in the second third of the 50km. We chatted as we ran at a steady good speed. My heart rate miraculously dropped to less than normal levels. With about  15 km left I felt that the going was getting harder and that I needed to take in water at every opportunity.

Taking in a brotherly advice how to handle the last 3 kilometers to the finish, which came after 4 hours and 47 minutes. I was the oldest participant and came 42nd in a field of about 120 runners!

Interested in the route and statistical details of my Run? Click on this link::

After the finish

As we had arranged, I met up again with my running partner at the finish. She flew in the last part of the 50 km, and finished in an astonishing 4 hours 33 minutes. Having both enjoyed the experience very much, we agreed we both would try to appear at the start of the 2020 edition of the Run van Winschoten.

My next and 4th Ruach Run:   12 Sep 2020
For me personally it was particularly pleasing that many of my nieces and nephews enjoyed the day and mentioned that they would want to sign up for a family 10x 10 km relay team in the 2020 edition of the Run van Winschoten when this Run will also be the official World Championships 100 km. 

Basically this means that these youngsters have given me my ‘running orders’. So I plan to sign up again for the Winschoten Run in 2020 and will make that my target for my 4th Ruach Run.  I’ll have to find a way to raise the bar for 2020 a little higher again.


I’m very grateful for many of you who have already sponsored me. I will acknowledge the gift in due course.

As many of you know, I have pledged to match a gift to Ruach in full with a gift to the Hidden Needs  Trust from  ‘my-labour-for-charities’ fund. I will keep this offer open till Saturday 12 October when I will be participating in the  52 km off-road ‘Run with No Witty Name’ in the beautiful area around Tisbury near Salisbury in Somerset, with three SPFit running club team mates Jo Morrissey, Roz Brooker and Emma Connelly. This will be a day out rather than a race and hopefully a different but equally enjoyable event.

  Donations can still be made  via the Ruach Foundation page on the Global Giving website


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