Juntos: Creating Ties

Sustainable development through meaningful partnerships.

Journal Entry #4: Jenny Soracco

1397639_4832790197458_200932706_o27 May, 2013

Jenny Soracco

I woke up last this morning as I was attempting to recover from the virus/cold/awful I was feeling yesterday. My throat felt so much better after the garlic/lemongrass tea concoction last night, but my cough and sinuses were still a mess, and Juanmi, Jacki and I have been coughing intermittenly.

Breakfast was yummy as always, and after that everyone split up for morning tasks. Jess, Molly, Adelaide and Sarah went on the long hike to basket weaving and Juan, Jackie and Hugo went to help Don Luis with construction. I knew I wasn’t really up for the hike and I didn’t think I would be much help with the construction, so I offered my help to the lovely ladies in the kitchen. They told me that they would come get me when they needed a hand, so I came back up to the main house and worked on finishing the “Un Paseo por Rosa Grande” books. Many people walked by: men carrying bags, a woman with a huge, multi-colored laundry bag perched on her head like an obese parrot, and a mother and son who passed by twice, saying “Buenos Dias” each time.

Dona Alba finally came to find me and I followed her to the kitchen where I helped do small tasks like chopping, peeling and preparing the carrot rice and potato salad we had for lunch. Dona Alba, Elba, and Senida are very sweet and they really made me feel welcome even though I couldn’t communicate very well. Alba is learning English, and although she is shy about it, she is quite good. She asked me where I am from and about my favorite color and food, and we managed to have a small conversation about how I was used to being called Jesse because I have a brother with that name.

Overall, I wasn’t much of a help, but I really enjoyed being there knowing that I didn’t have the support of the translator. Even though I had no idea what they were saying, listening to them joke and laugh while cooking was relaxing and rewarding in a different way.

When we finished cooking, I went back to the book until everyone else returned, sweaty but all smiles. We ate while sharing our mornings with each other, and prepared for the afternoon’s workshops.

At the school, we found that a lot of paint had been chipped off of the mural, but we got

right back to painting. Jess and Molly took over the portrait workshop, and all of the drawings were stunning.

Stopping now because there are too many damn beetles on my net.

To continue in the morning!

Morning! So, to pick up where I left off: the portraits were really sweet and it seemed like the kids had a good time as well. I was outside painting the mural, and I had a steady stream of people stopping to watch.

When the workshop was over, Jess and Molly joined me, and we started working quickly because it looked like a huge storm was coming. The wind was crazy and it ripped the tarps right off of the building. Molly went up the ladder to try to finish the helicopter, but oil paint and heavy rain made for a kind of drippy helicopter. It was raining too hard, so we had to call it quits without finishing the rainbow.

We gathered the folds from the tech workshops (which seemed to have gone rather well) and drove home to have a wonderful dinner of rice, beans, tuna pasta, and pastry wrapped cheese, with coffee and pineapple juice.

After eating, we turned out the lights, dealt with the bugs, and got comfortable to hear Don Luis tell the history of Siuna (with Juan translating). The more I learn about him, the more impressed I am. He was the vice-mayor of Siuna for a while, then taught himself carpentry.

He explained the origins of Siuna as an indigenous town in the late 1800s. They mined gold to use as ornaments in their homes, but were mostly subsistence farmers and fishermen (the river used to be much bigger than it is now). A Spaniard came and saw the gold and started exploiting the indigenous workers. Eventually a Canadian company took over until stopping in 1987 because it became too expensive. The mining industry caused a boom in population, bringing businesses and families, so when mining ended, agriculture and business became the primary industry. Don Luis explained how the people of Siuna have sort of “woken up” to understand what resources they have, so they have established rules so they cannot have the land or people exploited in the future, even if that means that there will be no more mining for the gold that is still in the earth.

There are two universities in Siuna now, that have expanded from only teaching agricultural engineering to include all sorts of subjects.

After the history lesson, Juan Miguel went to make me and Jackie some herbal tea for our coughs, and this time he added cinnamon to the mixture. Even with all of the garlic in it, I enjoyed it because of how wonderful it felt on my throat.

We all went to bed early so we could wake early to get ready for the closing ceremony. Adelaide played some music and Molly makes a fantastic Shakira.

Oh, and when I went to use the latrina, I crossed paths with two huge, baseball-sized toads. I think i’m going to miss these derpy toads.

Even with the monsoon-like rain, yesterday was still rather wonderful and I will be sad to leave this place behind. All of us will leave here with fond and funny memories and lots of big hopes for all of the people here.

Lots o’ love,



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This entry was posted on February 1, 2014 by in News.