During our three days in Granada, we saw evidence of Rotary everywhere. Rotary is big here, very active, and the locals are most appreciative. I wish I’d brought my pin with me!!!
I looked online to find reports on the plaques and/or statues you’ll see in the photos, but could not find anything!!! If you know where there is recorded history on these "events", I’d love to include links or stories here.
Nicaraguans need Rotarians. Nicaragua needs help. It is the second poorest country in the world and I didn’t see a lot of hope. I stumbled into a store that sells trinkets made by local women. The organization, La Esperanza Granada, teaches the women to make the crafts and the sales fund teachers. Their website is here: www.la-esperanza-granada.org. I spent 15 minutes chatting with Pauline Jackson, the operations officer. That’s all I know about them, but I can’t imagine being there if you didn’t intend to do some good. Working in Nicaragua is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Granada is easily two generations away from an educated population and the start of real change. And that’s only if they start paying attention to educating their children NOW. Education is simply not a priority to them. Scraping out an existence, money for food is what’s on the table right this minute. They can’t imagine what life could be, they can’t imagine how much of a difference an education would make in their lives, their country.
Nicaragua’s attitude is so different from Costa Rica’s. Costa Rica loves its children, reveres them, tons ‘o money is spent on education (no army) and they boast a 95% literacy rate. There is almost no child abuse here and family is everything. In Nicaragua, most kids don’t go to school. Alcoholism is rampant and domestic violence common. Never has it been more clear to me that education is the key. I’m grateful my children saw this up close and personal. Poverty is not pretty.
More on Granada tomorrow – we’ve spent all day recovering from the bus ride and our brief vacation in Nicaragua. A most spectacular country in so many ways. There is much to report! Stay tuned, stay cool,
P.S. I just visited the La Esperanza Granada site. It was started by a man named Billy Harper. I heard his name in Granada more than I heard the word "mom" and that’s saying something. He was the manager for 20 years of the hostel where we met our guide, Jaconda. Fabulous place and fabulous guide, both with tons of heart and great love for Mr. Harper. It turns out he was also a mentor to my friend, Bobby from Key West now living in Granada, who we spent a few hours with on our last morning. Mr. Harper was everywhere until his death in 2004 and he is greatly missed.
Please donate your spare change to La Esperanza Granada. Go to www.paypal.com, login to your account (creating an account is easy and free, you need to give them a credit card number and/or a bank account number, I’ve had one there for years, perfectly safe), click the "Send money" tab and enter the email address for La Esperanza: la_esperanza_granada[AT]yahoo[DOT]com. (You have to type in email addresses this way online to prevent being overloaded with spam.) They could surely use the money, a little goes a long way, if you are so inclined.