Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baseball and a special visit

Pictured: Lori and Modesta 

Hello, hello! While I was caught up in the excitement of our new women’s sexual heath class, I neglected to mention two recent and noteworthy happenings here in Nicaragua. Shortly after our return to the Manna house in January, we had a visit from MPI Executive Director Lori Scharffenberg, US Director Joel Griffith, and Financial Manager Greg Welch. Many families in Cedro Galan had been anxiously awaiting Lori’s visit for months, and were extremely excited to spend time with a dear friend and original program director! Lori was able to watch the evolution of old programs and the development of new ones, and also meet Modesta, the child whom she sponsors in La Chureca. The trip was equally exciting for Joel and Greg, who had never before visited the MPI Nicaragua site. We were happy to share a bit of our daily lives and enable them both to better understand exactly how we positively affect and are affected by community members throughout Cedro Galan and Chiquilistagua.
In other news, Davis and Jesse have recently restarted Boys’ Baseball, holding weekly practices and attending league games at El Salero. Although the Manna team is often the underdog in terms of age and size, on Saturday they won their first victory with a score of 3-0. Although Davis and Jesse have little experience coaching baseball, they are able to manage the team thanks largely to the help of David, a student in Manna English classes who loves baseball and has a strong relationship with many of the team members.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Girl Power!

Hello, everyone! It's been quite a while! Last week, you met Lindsay, the newest member of the MPI Nicaragua team. We're lucky to have her here with us--her enthusiasm and smile have already proved contagious! In other news, with the new year we've decided to add a new class to our current programs at el Farito.

During our time here, Christin and I have become increasingly aware of gender inequality and an overall need for a safe space in which women can discuss their lives and obtain basic sexual and reproductive health education that often goes untaught in Nicaraguan schools. Over winter break, we began brainstorming, and put together a curriculum based on an adapted version of a health education manual by the Boston Women's Health Collective. Upon our return, we asked girls and young women ages 11 and up if they would be interested in a women's health class, and after receiving a positive response, we held our first class in mid-January. By polling the class and urging them to submit anonymous questions, we found that our students were interested in a wide range of topics. Thus far, we have had three classes, in which we have addressed a variety of subjects, including menstruation, body image, and healthy relationships. Attendance is slowly growing as more community members become aware of the class, and Christin and I are now contemplating holding class once a week as opposed to twice-monthly. We anticipate increased attendance and a potential partnership with a local health clinic in the near future, and will keep you posted as we move forward!