It has been almost three months since unrest began in Nicaragua. The violence continues with over 300 dead and 1,500 wounded. There have been some glimmers of hope with human rights observers from the Organization of American States, and other UN observers, on the ground but these groups report that attacks continue.
It has been a quiet few months at Skylark - too quiet. The teams and local groups that normally use the Centre are absent. We have not had a visitor since early May. This means that we have a greatly reduced income to pay our staff. While some are casual workers, others are employed to maintain and secure the property, and run the “Best Start in Christ” programs that we try to keep operational as long as teachers can safely make it to work.
It is hard to imagine what it is like. Here are the words of one of our employees:
"I feel very sad, anxious and depressed about the current situation in our country; it is affecting us in many ways since we can’t go out to do what we need to do, we can’t get many things we need for the house and also to eat. Having a 5 months [old] baby represents the biggest challenge for me, because [I don’t know] what would I do if my baby gets sick and I need to take him to Hospital, for example - there are no taxis or any other means of transportation available due to the roadblocks and barricades. Food and transportation is getting more expensive and difficult to get."
One of our cleaners told Mauricio that she sometimes feels that the current situation in the country is hopeless, but she also recognizes that God may turn this into a new country. Living in the community close to Skylark is a big help for her, because she does not have to face the challenge of getting to work despite the lack of transportation.
One of our maintenance workers reports that he is a concerned about the situation in Nicaragua; his neighbours say that things are getting worse every day, but he trusts God that this will all end soon. His wife used to work at a store in Jinotepe, but because of the crisis the store ceased operations; so he is now the sole income-provider for his household.
These are but a few of the stories that I hear regularly, despair mixed with hope, fear mixed with trust in God. It is so hard to hear these reports while enjoying the peace and prosperity of Canada. I am so pleased with the early response to our pleas for support. I take comfort knowing that more and more people are praying for our staff and the communities we serve in Nicaragua. I am also pleased that many have generously given or plan to give so that we can send needed funds to support this community in need. Thank you and may God bless you.