I have been heavily lobbyied and finally persuaded that blogging is a good way to stay in touch with people. So here goes…..
Overall, the Mariposa is up and running well. We have all eight rooms open now, and -part of the final touches!! – have just finished putting in rather large (and ornate, Nicaraguan style) mirrors for those of you who like to keep close tabs on how we are looking today! There are still a few more upgrades I want to do but most of the building work is pretty much complete. I wont miss the drilling and banging noises but I will miss Bismarck, the builder who has been around since day one of the construction and is an absolute star. The garden also looks terrific now – our first bananas are appearing on plants put in the ground only months ago, we are eating our own oranges, mandarins, platanos, eggplant (lots of visitors from the USA!) amongst other stuff. Very exciting after my little concrete backyard in Sheffield….
Other Mariposa news is that the project side of things is expanding, some might almost say spinning out of control. We have recycling, conservation, literacy, cleaning brigades, and of course the Panama School (school kids go back next week so we are planning to starrt work building a pre-school reading corner in April)…….I am trying to push the process of becoming an NGO along so we can legitimately beg for donations, but it is inevitably slow….
Life in Nicaragua generally is good for us and less good for those who have no work or who are working but paid next to nothing (the majority), I feel so awful when someone comes to the Mariposa asking for work and I simply cannot afford it. Many visitors seem to assume that Nicaragua (as a ¨Third World¨country) is cheap. Nothing could be further from the reality – except of course, that is, for labour. The national politics seems to me to continue much the same, Daniel Ortega makes a lot of Chavez type noises and is achieving little bits around the edges, such as delivering rice and beans to poor rural schools so the kids get at least one meal a day – not at all unimportant iniatives but not likely to threaten the basically inhumane struture. The US govt and IMF etc seem fairly happy with the way he is operating. My friend John just sent me a wonderful, actually devasating indictment, of how privatisation has affected the supply of electricity here, published by Christian Aid. Excellent, just very depressing as there is nothing Ortega, in spite of the rhetoric can DO about it.
Thas enough for now, I want to see if this thing works…..I look forward to all your comments!!!!