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Esperanza en Accion

June 7, 2011

I´m two weeks in and it is almost as if I am starting my whole adventure all over. Just as I was getting comfortable in Leon, I packed up my bags and moved to Managua (the capital of Nicaragua). New job, new home, new friends, new streets. Boy oh boy.
I have assured myself that this transition is for the best. I am now living in la Casa Cuaquera, or Quaker House (no I am not quaker), and working with Esperanza en Accion (Hope in Action).
I miss my host family in Leon, but it is also kind of nice to have the freedom of living in a lodge type setting. I am able to cook my own food which eliminates the issue of being served too much. It is fun to roam through the grocery store and guess what certain vegetables are used for. On the other hand, I am missing out on all of the new and exciting exotic foods that my host family served me (I quickly learned not to ask what I was eating until after I had already eaten it). Not to mention I burnt the beans last time I tried to make gallo pinto (the Nicaraguan staple food, served breakfast, lunch, and dinner-a simple combination of rice and beans). On the bright side, I have been here for 4 days and I have not starved yet. I have also been promised that when I return to Leon on the weekends, my host sisters will teach me how to cook the essentials.
I hope that being away from my host family during the week will allow me to have a more mutual relationship with them. Instead of being waited on, they will be more willing to allow me to help, so I can learn how to feed myself. Plus, they won´t get sick of me slaughtering the pronunciation of their beautiful language, instead, it will remain funny when I mess up a word. Moderation is key. Right?
As for my organization placement… I am working with a small NGO (www.esperanzaenaccion.org) that supports Artisans by granting them micro-finance loans, instructing them in general business techniques (savings plans etc.), and connecting them with fair trade markets in the US, Canada, and hopefully Europe in the future. My role for the past couple days has been searching (online) for potential partners in the US. I have made a list of about 30 so far. Most of my day is spent behind an ancient computer that doesn´t have a mouse and takes about a minute for each page to load. Nonetheless, I have learned a lot about fair trade markets and businesses. With that said, a quick shameless plug—If there is anyone out there that has friends in the fair trade business, please let me know! Esperanza en Accion is looking for small businesses that would be willing to import artisan goods from Nicaragua including textiles, ceramics, jewelry, accessories, coffee, chocolate etc.
Starting on Wednesday, my life will get a little more adventurous. I will head off on a 3 day excursion to several different villages in order to buy goods and bring them back to our office to export or sell here in Managua. I´m excited to see the other, more personal side, of this organization. So, I will be spending the next few days on old school busses, crossing the country. I´m not sure how many hours the trips will be, but from what I´ve heard, it is going to be quite the journey. I will be sure to let you know all about the bus ride, the women, and the crafts in my next post. Until then, que le vaya bien!

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