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Women in Action Tour US This fall, Compas de Nicaragua organized its second Women in Action dance tour that brought 4 WIA members to the US to carry out traditional dances and promote their important and inspiring work. The troupe traveled to Arizona, Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, and New England. The dance tour was very successful and served as an educational opportunity for the women and the host communities they visited. We want to thank all who contributed to the tour's success, through your donations, time, and hospitality. It was the first time that the women had ever traveled to the U.S. and been away from home. While it was a dream come true for them to visit, it was also very hard to leave their families behind. The women said that the overwhelming hospitality that they received helped them be away for so long.

WIA Dance Troupe in Boston, MA. L-r: Sugey Quiroz, Ekanem Narcisso. Ana Narvaez, Xiomara Flores, and Livset Brown.

Their beautiful dancing, amazing spirit, and inspirational story overwhelmed audiences. These were some of their responses to the question "How do you remain so warm, upbeat and fun loving in the face of the extremely difficult challenges you face every day in your lives?" Lizeth – “We know it does no good to be negative in our minds. So we try to make the most of each day as it comes.” Ekanem – “Since we were little children we were taught to be happy and smile. So we smile even sometimes when we have pain inside.” Ana -- We do not focus on what life does for us but what we can do in our lives.” A Comment from an audience member:

Women in Action Dance Troupe in Blacksburg, VI. Front l-r: Sugey Quiroz, Ekanem Narcisso. Back: l-r Livset Brown. Xiomara Flores

I thought the Nicaragua Dance Show was one of the most interesting events I have gone to at UNH. I loved the rhythm and beat. My favorite part was the music. The costumes were my second favorite part. They were so intricate and beautiful. I have never seen dresses so pretty. Another thing that I loved were the little facts in between the dance pieces about the country itself. It shows how the inhabitants have pride in their land, even though the country is not well off, and there is corruption in the government. The MC's presentation was very informative and honest, but also genuine. I felt bad not knowing much about Nicaragua before the show, but now I want to research the country a little more. Heather Timins, Student, University of New Hampshire.

Friends of the Springtime

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Service Trips If you are interested in an opportunity to travel to Nicaragua and work with Women in Action, please contact Michael Boudreau, About the trips: What will volunteers do? Volunteers will participate in project work and activities in Managua with Women in Action. Projects may include chicken coop building, gardening, drip irrigation systems, etc. Activities will include English/Spanish classes with women and children, soy food preparation and gourd art making. Groups will also visit La Paz, a beautiful, rural town where participants will learn about organic farming and work on bio-gas systems. Volunteers will have the opportunity to visit schools, health clinics, and meet with various organizations. Groups will stay at our visitor center during a 1 or 2 day orientation period before splitting up in groups of 2 for host family stays. Trips will not be all work and no play! Groups will visit the Pacific Ocean, a volcano with cloud rainforest, a craft market, and a volcanic lake. Our most important objective is to build friendships between our people. We have been working with Women in Action and their families for more than 10 years. Our trips offer volunteers a unique and real experience living and working with an amazing group of people who are working together to improve their lives. We hope that when you leave Nicaragua that you feel that you really got to know the people.

Trip participant reaction: (Danny’s Team August 2008) I want to say how profoundly moved I continue to feel from this experience. I am beyond words, struggling to find effective expression for the depths of the experiences that I just lived. The connectedness of spirit for our human plight, our struggle to survive, the common bond I feel with women/mothers who care for our young, and the human quest to rise out of our own ashes and not only survive, but thrive...all these things were magnified with the Women in Action program. I feel moved by the dedication of Ana and Michael to build momentum with this program. Thank you so much!! I am grateful to you all for your patience, kindness, open heart, that was so evident in our group. The bond of human love has moved me profoundly on this journey. I cannot wait to return, this time to offer my services to the school for the Deaf, but also to support the Women in action program. To say I am grateful for this experience would be a profound understatement. I have many questions lingering...and look forward to processing them with you all as they emerge. With humble gratitude and love, Pam Broido (UNH ASL Program Coordinator)

Trips scheduled for 2009: 1. January 3rd to 17th, 2008: UNIVERSITY OF NH and SHARE INSTITUTE (Sacramento, CA) 2. Jan 30th to Feb 6th, 2009: WHITE MOUNTAIN SCHOOL (Littleton, NH) 3. March 2009: Spring Break Trip (dates to be determined) 4. May 25th to June 8th, 2009: PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY (Plymouth, NH) 5. July 2009: DANNY’S TEAM (dates to be determined: trip to coincide with July 19th celebration of the revolution) 6. August 2009: (dates to be determined) FAIRFAX AND SAINT ALBANS, VT GROUP TRIP

Share Institute Intern, Boris Golub, riding bicycle taxi during August trip to Nicaragua with Women in Action members (l-r) Xiomara Flores, Juana Urbina and Lizeth Brown.

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Women in Action Project Update Project Update, prepared by the WIA Board of Directors. First, we want to thank all of you for supporting us. We are forever grateful to all of our friends who support our projects. It is a great pleasure to send you our first project update as a BOD. It has been a challenge doing the organizing work, but we are doing our best to improve our project. The women continue to make gourds each week. Those that have perfected their skills are helping others to create better work. During the recent dance tour of the U.S. we sold about $2,000 worth of gourds! This was great news for us. Here in Nicaragua, everything is expensive, all basic foods are two or three times the cost they were just a year or two ago. Gas prices are very high, and electricity and water bills continue to rise. Everything is going up except for the salaries—they are always the same! So, this money is important for us and our families. We are benefiting from the micro-lending project and the small loans that it provides. Ana Trujillo, our BOD President sells fruit at a nearby traffic light and she has been able to grow her fruit stand and increase her profit. Mercedes Calero, the BOD “Fiscal” has a small store on the front porch of her house. She sells fruits, vegetables and other basic foods. She has been able to buy more products in bulk and increase her earnings. This has been the case with so many of the women. We are not going to lie, it is hard here in Nicaragua to make a living, and sometimes, the sales are not so good. But, overall, even given the great challenges, we are making good on our loans and earning money to help improve our lives. There have been many activities at the center. The computer room and library are being used by all of the students. We received a donation from “Share a Book”, a group of friends from the Starr King UU Fellowship in Plymouth, NH who donate money each year for us to buy books. We have purchased

Danny’s Team Service Trip (August 2008) with WIA Board of Director President Ana Trujillo.

several new text books and children’s books.

12 WIA members continue to take adult education classes at the center. Martha Centeno, one of the students says that the work has been very hard, especially the mathematics courses. However, she says that all of the lessons pertain the their everyday lives, so the math classes actually help with her cookie and sweats selling business. Ligia Lopez has had a very difficult few months. She became pregnant and had several complications. She continued to study but fell behind due to frequent visits to the doctor. A few weeks ago, she lost her baby and was hospitalized for two weeks. She is now home recovering well, although she is very sad over what happened. Her oldest daughter, Katherine, who is also in secondary school, has been coming to the adult education classes to cover for her mom! Ligia is so proud of her accomplishments, having finished primary school through the WIA program, and now, only a year away from finishing secondary school, she doesn’t want to miss out. So, her daughter is helping her. We hope that you enjoyed our report. We hope to continue to report to you more frequently. Compas de Nicaragua is going to start a new website that hopefully will offer an opportunity for us to post monthly updates. Until next time, with many thanks, WIA Board of Directors.

Compas de Nicaragua

Promoting cultural exchange and improving lives

Stateside office: 164 Washington Street Littleton, NH 03561 603-444-6981 In country office: C.N. KM 6, de los Lab. Ramos 6 C al lago, 1/2 C abajo Barrio La Primavera, Managua, Nicaragua 505-252-2191 E-mail: Website:

In Loving Memory This issue of “Friends of the Springtime” is dedicated to Oscar Danilo Narvaez Echaverry, who passed away on September 28th, 2008. Oscar is the youngest brother of Ana Rosa Narvaez, Compas de Nicaragua’s Co-Director. Oscar was a loving father, son, brother and uncle. He was a sergeant in Nicaragua’s Air Force, where he had served for over 10 years. He was a communications specialist and also worked on rescue teams during Nicaragua’s many natural disasters. Oscar also volunteered for the children’s organization, “Fundación SOS,” that supports impoverished children. It has been very hard on Ana and her family and the members of Women in Action who knew and loved Oscar. Ana and her family want to thank all of you who have sent them your thoughts and prayers. Knowing that so many people, from so far away, are thinking of them, has helped them to get through this very difficult time. Compas is accepting donations on Oscar's behalf. All money raised will be used to support the

micro-lending project to help WIA families help themselves. If you would like to make a contribution, please send to Compas de Nicaragua, 164 Washington Street, Littleton, NH 03561. (Please write "Oscar" in the memo).

Newsletter Fall/Winter 2008  

Compas de Nicaragua Newsletter

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