I’m unclear of the year, let alone a date, as to when I joined the ProNica community. It was in large part due to a friend’s encouragement. How could I, how could any of us, resist the gentle urging of Ruth Hyde Paine? Like now, back in those days, the mid- 1990s, the ProNica community consisted of a Board, a few employees, and some supporters. Among these were Lillian Hall and Ken Kinzel. Am I shaking the memory tree for you long-term supporters?
I loved this community: how dedicated folks were to assisting Nicaraguans’ grass-roots needs! It helped that our decisions were embedded of Quaker process, under the stewardship of Ruth, Herb and Pam Haigh, Lillian, and the many others who have given of themselves over the years.
I just had to go to Nicaragua, and returned believing that everyone should go. There’s so much to learn, to see; the people are wonderful. Hard-scrabble lives are led ardently and earnestly. It’s humbling. The experience blurred into the profound on my flight back to Miami. My 10 year old daughter, Molly, went with me. She returned a few years later for a second time.
I have to tell you this story. We stayed in the home of a village. There were chickens and a rooster in the yard. The people drew their water from a well. Back then, no one knew if the water was safe. It can be hard to guess villagers’ ages, since poverty, work, education, and health are major issues. We were served red beans and rice along with fresh chicken… so delicious. I slept fitfully. Sometime before dawn our rooster crowed. The neighbors’ roosters crowed. Their neighbors’ roosters crowed. I listened to concentric circles of rooster calls multiplying and fading into the distance. Falling asleep, in the distance I heard… you guessed it… roosters crowing, far away. The next set of crowing was closer. Still closer, until finally it was our neighbors’ roosters crowing again, and then ours. Molly and I had been hosted by the town’s alpha rooster!
It’s exciting to be joining the ProNica community again. I look forward to this opportunity of service, to join with you all in fostering peace, health and opportunity for our fellow travelers in life, the people of Nicaragua. Thank you.