I feel fiery and frenzied as I fiddle with whatever I can get my hands on…anxiously waiting to return to Nicaragua, the country I started to know and love summer of 2009. I am ready to return!
About a month from today I will be ever so lucky to return to Nicaragua for a second CPGC internship, entitled as a “continuing connections” grant. I can’t describe the pent up excitement that is causing me to wretch around in my desk chair every day while doing psychology research at Haverford College (for the two months preceding my internship). So the 2009 blog starts here!! Please read below if you are interested in my last year’s adventures. My favorite 2008 blog entry being the puppy story (read if you are an animal lover:)).
I will be working with Asociación Los Quinchos, an intricate program for former glue-sniffing street children. It serves more than 200 children in residential programs and even more in street outreach programs. A part of this program includes a farm for young girls outside of a small town called San Marcos. The group of girls in the program is referred to as “The Yahoskas.” Many of the girls who live on the farm were at risk of falling into prostitution. The farm provides a residence program for the girls. Besides receiving a home, care, and food, these twenty-five girls, ranging from five to fifteen, go to public school during portions of the day. They also participate in cultural activities such as folkloric and modern dancing. Games are frequently played and activities such as sewing and soccer are offered.
I worked with the Yahoska girls last summer and I attempted to tackle the issues of illiteracy and the lack of love for reading. I helped the girls build self-esteem and set life goals, and I also introduced them to the idea of animal rights and the fulfillment they can feel when caring for animals. I raised $1700 outside the CPGC funding and re-organized and added to the main ‘Quincho Library.’ I ended up buying over 600 books to contribute to the existent 200. My elders in Nicaragua were very supportive and innovative when I was brainstorming and carrying out my ideas.
This summer, I plan to work with the same group of girls, by carrying out poetry workshops, journal-writing activities as a way of expressing life experiences, and by conducting discussions about violence (incorporating this topic into the poetry workshops and working with the older girls in the areas of domestic and public violence). I met a great psychologist during the Red Sox/Phillies game about a week ago who is eager to help me plan the workshop. This psychologist has written a book for adults regarding the process of surviving ‘rape and sexual assault’ and is also on the review board for a known psychology journal which publishes research surrounding rape and sexual assault studies. I also hope to continue my activities surrounding animal rights and I also plan to start a small library at the home of the Yahoskas, of which I have already raised sufficient funds for (thanks to a few generous donors). I am lucky enough to include my ‘homestay mother,’ Doña Ivania, the Quincho librarian, to help me carry out the project.
First of all I would like to thank Jeffrey and Christina Lurie, who have been ever so generous as to donate a generous sum of money to my upcoming library project. They are dear friends and role models for me as I take on a new project. The plan is to start a library at the Yahoska complex (read below for a description). This week I will be sending out numerous letters to friends and family in order to raise more money for books and library supplies. Library project #2 is getting way!
The race is on to plan as much as possible in the next month before I head down south. But as those of us who have visited and lived in Nicaragua may know, plans need to be malleable if any implementation is desired!