The Center is a space for collaborative learning and training on innovative agricultural practices. Due to the support of several JustHope Partners, farmers will soon be able participate in workshops and field experiments, putting techniques learned into practice on their own farms.
Now with the completion of the open air classroom space--made possible by an $8000 donation from Kinsley Congregation in Kansas -- and the equipment space donated by First Methodist in Colo Springs, we will be able to pilot the first phase of experiments: heirloom seed harvesting, inter-cropping, earthworm and humus production, homemade organic fertilizers, and much more! Having a space where ideas can come together for simulation allows us to determine viable solutions for farmers.
As participants progress through training sessions, they will become the future teachers, responsible for sharing ideas and best practices with their community. Later in 2017, we hope to establish financing options for farmers to access materials and implement restorative agriculture practices -- a unique micro financing program also made possible by JustHope Partners)!
We are excited to watch the Learning Center become a place of growth for local growers!
At the Cultural Center, we have many opportunities to foster youth development, boost imagination and creativity through different artistic disciplines. The Chacraseca youth dance group are continuing their folkloric dance practices. With the guide of an instructor, they keep improving their skills, and are setting up a new dance performance.
Also, click below to learn more about upcoming trips in our most recent newsletter.
A Cultural Center update from our Education Coordinator in Nicaragua, Istvan Sepulveda:
The Chacraseca Cultural Center’s activities are taking off in 2017! We have many opportunities to foster youth development, boost imagination and creativity through different artistic disciplines.
The Chacraseca youth dance group are continuing their folkloric dance practices. With the guide of an instructor, they keep improving their skills, and are setting up a new dance performance. The local dance group has been supporting with their performances in the community activities, with a vivid display of both passion and skills.
Music lessons took off from early January; the music students have been reaping the fruits of their dedication with music and some of our visiting groups have witnessed it. Marching forward with mastering the marimba, we hope that soon they will be able to perform a solo and accompany the dance group in their presentations.
The music classes have expanded to two of the main sectors in Chacraseca in order to widen the reach of the program; with approximately 20 students taking part in music lessons, our next big goal will be to assemble a performing group, although we still have a long way to achieve this. However, as the saying goes, every journey of 1000 miles starts with the first step!
Additionally, and on request from the local school Marycknol, the music instructor began to offer choir lessons for 12 students to create a group in the school. So far, the classes have been fun and the students are enjoying them, and the director of Marycknol (Perla Delgado) is pleased with the experience so far.
As part of the initiatives to create spaces to offer different viewpoints and debate ideas, this March we started a Friday movie afternoon. With a modest audience of 11 children, the Cultural Center presented Spirited Away (2001), followed by a brief round of questions about the movie symbols and messages, ensuring a space to debate ideas and think beyond a passive stance for kids. This was the first pilot, but we will conduct many more movie events in the future.
This past week we had the first art/drawing workshop, based around developing observation and artistic skills. We had a fun afternoon with games and storytelling time that included defining an opening and closing rituals for the students. This is a key element of developing discipline and commitment towards achieving a common goal with the group. The main theme of this session centered around nature and we will continue offering this session twice a week.
Finally, not only does the Cultural Center provide space for youth to come together, it also allows for adult programming. So far, the Cultural Center has hosted continuing education courses for teachers to learn how to use music and dance in the classroom, the government agency for Farmer Support is utilizing the space for local farmer training, and a Summit was held that brought 75 leaders together from our various North American groups that work in Chacraseca and leaders from Chacraseca to discuss goals, priorities, hopes, and dreams for the coming year.
An average family burns an entire small tree in less than two weeks. That times 1,500,000 or so families in Nicaragua, equals a LOT of trees. Nicaragua's response has been to outlaw cutting down trees, so now poor families have to buy the wood for their fires.
It's become an environmental AND an economical crisis!
Several JustHope Partners are building "green" (ecological) stoves in La Flor and Chacraseca to help reduce both the expense of cooking and the deforestation its causing.
Both La Flor and Chacraseca have processes in place to elect new leaders every two years. And in Chacraseca those bi-annual elections just happened! JustHope offers a big WELCOME to the new "Comite" (a short term we use for the Board of Directors of the community) in Chacraseca!
As the new leaders move into place, JustHope will be negotiating a new "Partnership Agreement" with them to lay out the ways in which we will work together to promote Health, Education, Agriculture, and Social Enterprise in Chacraseca... and the methods we will use to insure our collaboration continues to be grounded in mutual respect and trust.
Each of these leaders is entrusted by their peers with the responsibility for active, engaged community organizing on behalf of the 9000 residents of Chacraseca. That means long hours every day visiting in their neighborhoods, attending meetings (often several miles away), advocating with government officials for better services, and facilitating effective, sustainable partnerships with their North American partners. All of it is volunteer, and they often have to pay their own expenses for transportation and supplies.