Saturday, March 13, 2010

Getting the Word Out

We sure have been busy here on campus: meeting with the committee, organizing events, etc. We're also getting a lot of great publicity. Check out the article recently published in the Oberlin Review about our trip and our work! We'll also have pieces later in the semester in two campus magazines: Headwaters and Wilder Voice.
A few weeks ago, the four of us presented to a packed crowd at Spanish House. The event merited a write-up in OSCA's publication, written by Alice and Nora:

On Monday, March 8, four OSCA members presented in Spanish House about their recent Winter Term delegation to San Juan de Limay, Nicaragua, where OSCA maintains a micro-loan fund for unionized female farmers.

Senior Alice Ollstein, sophomores Marlee Fischer and Michelle Jahnke and first-year Nora Berson planned and fundraised all fall semester for their month-long trip. Students, the majority of them OSCAns, packed into Spanish House's salon to hear the talk. Michelle also made pinol for the attendees—a traditional Nicaraguan cornmeal

The presentation included:

-An overview of the hardships that face our sisters in Nicaragua, including lack of access to education and health care, a chauvinistic society, the precariousness of farming life compounded with climate-change induced droughts, and trauma from the US-backed Contra War in the 1980s.

-An explanation of the relationship that began in 1993 between OSCA and the National Union of Farmers and Ranchers (UNAG)

-A description of how the UNAG empowers women with training and how the loan fund allows them much-needed access to credit

-Some reasons why the problems of Nicaragua concern us, including the exploitative history of U.S. relations with Nicaragua, the way our resource use affects small farmers dependent on the global climate, and our ability to use our privilege for positive change

-A few things we can do about the problems that exist, including being conscious voters and consumers, and responsible travelers The Nicaragua Committee wants every member of OSCA to feel like a part of this partnership. The delegates were happy to be able to share with the campus some of the things they learned, and were glad so many people could attend and hear our stories.

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