Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dia Numero Uno:Mucho Gusto Nicaragua!

We were off to the races when we landed in Managua! It was an incredible 85 degrees, totally different from the nice May weather in New York. On our arrival, David Grossman, our guide and St. John’s Law Alum, greeted us and before we knew it, we were in a van navigating through the streets of Managua.  It’s interesting how the streets have no names; instead addresses are based on the distance from specific landmarks. We really appreciate David’s expertise and his overall willingness to help us get around.  Our first destination was Frabretto Children’s Foundation.
When we arrived, Mallory, one of the workers at Frabretto greeted us. Mallory was originally a volunteer from the US who was interested in making an impact and she ended up staying with Frabretto. This Frabretto had a vocational school type program, in which students got to learn how to use Windows, Windows Office, Editor, and Photoshop. Those last two programs aren’t even taught in the majority of schools and universities, and if they were, it would cost. Along with these technical courses, there was a classroom, where students learned a variety of subjects, and there was also jewelry making, which also helps sustaining this organization! The students were engaged in work and the Nicaraguans creating jewelry were working diligently. Some of the workers have been with Frabretto for 5 years, which really goes to show that the people are satisfied with the progress Frabretto has made.

Along with these observations, Mallory explained to us how trust seems to be an issue with lending here. She gave us one example with a TV. She explained that salespeople mention the payment per month but not exactly how long the purchaser of the TV will have to pay for and most of the time, as she mentioned, purchasers happen to have a hard time because, as time progresses, some kind of mishap or emergency comes up. A majority of Nicaraguans make an equivalent of 2 dollars, usually coming short of those 2 dollars. Frabretto has this jewelry and pays the creators of the jewelry a sustainable wage, with less hours so they can be with their children. I think this is important because having parents around that actually are able to be supportive and around to multiply the educational impact that Frabretto aims to make with children.  We found that even though jewelry making and crafting looked easy, Dr. Sama wasn’t having it easy while trying to craft. After a few laughs, pictures, and souvenirs, we were on our way to our hotel.

We settled in and relaxed for a tiny bit and soon enough dinnertime was around the corner. We had scheduled dinner with the Daughters of Charity and David was also going to join. Once everyone arrived, we all introduced each other to the Daughters. They are so friendly and somewhat witty at first but once I began to speak to them, along with Dr. Sama, they were definitely intrigued and absolutely interested in the mission of GLOBE. At the moment, I was just very thankful that I am a native Spanish speaker, but just being able to use that tool really allowed us to connect to the Daughters and really give them a better insight as to what GLOBE is about, where GLOBE is, and the type of circumstances around each loan.

Then the Daughters proceeded with certain examples of people they know in their community that could possibly benefit by being one of GLOBE’s entrepreneurs. Some of which, the Daughters have worked with very closely and are pretty sure that these individuals are responsible and have potential to grow. And of course, we want GLOBE to help. 

After some more discussion, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Ola Verda (Green Wave!). We shared a several laughs and by the end of the night, we scheduled a time to visit the community where the daughters are located to meet some of the potential entrepreneurs. We are very excited and are thankful for the invitation from the Daughters and their willingness to engage with us. The Daughters were very interested in all our backgrounds and just overall, very friendly.

I also learned a few new words of an indigenous language in Nicaragua. One of the Daughters introduced to a word that sounds similar to sneezing. She told me that everytime I kept sneezing, “Asssshoooo” meant 'sir'. So she said, it sounds like you’re saying sir all the time, Felipe! 

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