La Esperanza Granada March Newsletter 2017

 So, we have reached the 1st of April, and excitement is already building for Semana Santa which starts in just seven days.  The whole of Easter week here is a big holiday week.   A time to get together with family,  lots of eating, laughing, dancing and going to the beach.  There are wonderful religious processions throughout the week (in fact these have been happening each Friday since Lent started) and even in the poorest barrios there is a kind of carnival atmosphere.

The country is developing rapidly, and due to increased regulation there are less fireworks this year in advance of the holiday.  New and enforced laws go hand in hand with development, and some of that impacts on our work in the schools too.  We now have a 72 page booklet of guidelines to follow with any building work we do in the schools.  In addition all school improvements that we undertake need to be coordinated with the Central Ministry of Education in Managua.   Of course this is logical, but takes some adjustment given the freedom we had in the past to simply go in and do what we saw may be needed.  Another difference is that many of the needs are now being supplied by the Ministry of Education, and by the local government, so this is a tremendous step forward.

We have still been busy in March doing some of what is needed in the schools.  We had groups visiting from three US universities, Appalachian State University, Vanderbilt University and Southern Utah University.  All three accomplished a great deal, making improvements to the school of Mercedes Mondragon, painting classrooms, repairing and renovating desks, and building a new entrance way for the school especially for the younger children.  Also the wall at Nueva Esperanza is now completed and gives a much better security to the school.

Spent a very interesting week with visitors from our partner organization in The Netherlands, Nica-Friends. (http://nica-friends.nl/)  Ton Hendrix and Sandra van Gerwen visited the schools where we work and our new learning center at Escudo, met all the high school students who they sponsor and their ayudante, and saw all the progress since Ton’s last visit a few years ago.  They brought bags of school supplies that they had collected before their trip.    It is great to have an outside perspective on things, from people who are involved and care  enough to really help.   Nica-Friends puts in a lot of effort to fund raise for La Esperanza Granada in the Netherlands.  This was the first time to Nicaragua for Sanda, but suspect it will not be her last.

We received donations in March from Macolm Southward who sent $20, Jim Ludden who sent $500, and Mary Redgate who gave us $300.  We also received school supplies from Ruth Carson, and from Help People Learn English.com.

Our volunteers have all been working hard too, and great to see Ryan Olson back with us for his 10th year.  Another long term volunteer who is working with us once more is Anka Verhoeven who will be helping us online to manage the high school sponsorship program.  Wonderful that there are so many sponsored students now at the high school, though there are still a few that would love to be connected with a sponsor, so it is not too late if you have been considering it.

Other volunteer here at present are Peter Driscoll, Sydney Gamble, Laura Messerschidt, Enrique Castrillo Balbas, Lisa Steinfeld, Alice Dunbar, Rahel Winkelmann, Laszlo Samu, Povilas Juska, Victoria Moiny, Joseph Nevins, Judith Verret, Maite Allo Hernandez, Lucas Delmas, Hannah Reger, Sofia Lewis, Alexa Carrenard-Tremblay, Lizzie Reynold, Brian Mcphee, Pauline Molleney, Margarethe Hoberg, Julia Schmall, Marvin Menou, Sean Hays, Sarah Englert, Miriam Degmayr, Mark Bussert, Christina Junker, and Carlos Lopez Navas.

And lastly here is a link to some photos from March we hope you will enjoy: 

 https://www.flickr.com/photos/la_esperanza_granada/albums/72157678679002954

Thanks from all of us here at La Esperanza Granada.

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La Esperanza Granada      info@la-esperanza-granada.org