An update on what is happening – and a big thank you to all of you who have sent messages of support. I have not yet had time to reply to you all individually but it really does help enormously to know we have such a well of sympathy out there in the big world!
In the meantime, the services we provide at the Mariposa will either be affected only minimally or not at all. The garden may start to look a little bit overgrown but I promise the monkeys (and the students!) will still be well fed. All of the community projects, the horses, the organic farm have had their funding assured. There will be no impact on students wishing to come here to take classes, do the activities or live in homestay and do volunteer work.
We are currently exploring different ways of trying to sort the problem. We will probably still have to fire a number of the workers but the majority will be immediately reemployed and hopefully the rest within a period of time (it is complicated how this helps but it does!!!). Secondly, the lawyer is working on a way to remove the teachers from our paybill and place them on a different footing financially – one possibility for example would be to put them on direct weekly contracts with the students. Again, complicated to explain how this helps exactly (I am learning so much through all of this!!) but it would really go a LONG way to taking us out of the mierda.
Finally, we had a meeting with the Mayor of La Concepcion – his support has been invaluable, morally and emotionally as well as on the practical side. I discussed with him how this is going to be a major issue for all Spanish schools in Nicaragua as none of them employ their teachers on a permanent basis and this will seriously damage the possibilities of increasing sustainable tourism here in Nicaragua as a lot of foreigners come here to learn Spanish. And, thanks in no small part to the efforts and success of the Mariposa, more and more students are choosing Nicaragua over Costa Rica. He is going to pursue this line of argument.