Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Statement of Values, drafted today

The Nicaragua Sister Partnership Committee, dedicated to working in solidarity with the women of San Juan de Limay, Nicaragua, professes the following values and beliefs:

1. That all people, regardless of national origin, gender and economic situation have the right to:
a. Healthy and plentiful food
b. Clean water
c. Accessible and free education
d. A dignified home

2. That the aforementioned are rights, not commodities.

3. That everyone has the right and the responsibility to know where their food comes from and the conditions under which it was produced.

4. The most ethical and effective solidarity work involves:
a. Long-standing and meaningful personal relationships
b. Both organizations being aware of one another's structure, culture and goals
c. Allowing and trusting a community to articulate their own needs

5. Gender discrimination continues to be a real and severe force around the globe. To combat it, we must insure that women have:
a. A equal voice and vote in any organization
b. The right and means to own land and control their own income
c. Freedom from violence, be it verbal, emotional or physical
d. Access to the resources they need to provide for themselves and their children

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Giving Thanks

This will be completely inadequate, but I wanted to write a brief thank-you to all those who made this trip what it is. Ladies, please let me know if I've forgotten anyone!

To Roxanne at Witness for Peace: for giving us a safe and insightful day in Managua and for giving the framework with which to analyze the rest of our experiences.

To Becca at Jubilee House: for taking the time to talk to us when we showed up (sort of) unannounced, and for your patience and dedication in helping the coops of the area be the agents of their own advancement.

To José at Finca Magdalena: for sharing with us your pride in and love of your cooperative, for your stories and for the delicious coffee you grow.

To Michael Judd at Finca Bona Fide: for teaching us that change comes slowly, that one has to think many years down the road, and that listening to a community is the only way to truly help. Your commitment to ensure the people of Ometepe's right to healthy food is inspiring.

To Rachel in León: for giving us an incredible tour and insight into what you've learned during your Fullbright year, and for taking us dancing at the hippest bar in town. The close connections you've formed are clearly a product of your commitment, curiosity and excellent Spanish.

To all of our host families: for caring for us like children but asking for our thoughts like adults, for your heart-breaking generosity and hospitality, for sharing your home and your stories with us.

To Ligia Briones Valenzuela: for everything you've done for us and for the campesin@s of Nicaragua, for always being frank and direct, and for your struggle against everything from breast cancer to an oppressive patriarchy. Generations of women will follow in your footsteps and their path to leadership will be easier because of what you've accomplished.

And finally, to our families back home: for trusting us, for believing in us, for supporting us financially and emotionally and for reading this blog. It's good to be home.