Jan 2011 Newsletter of La Esperanza Granada, Nicaragua

I have a special connection to La Esperanza Granada in Nicaragua. I read their newsletters every month, and I would like to share this one with you :

What a full month we have had here, so much has happened, so I will give you the highlights and trust the pictures to tell the story:

 ·        The fence for the high school in San Ignacio was completed, with the wall of the latrines forming part of the fence.

·        Westfield State College students led by  Christin Cleaton Ruiz, Kathi Bradford and Catherine Savini, made an enormous contribution to the new high school.  They raised sufficient money, and came and labored for a week, to build the walls of three classrooms (one building) of the high school half way up.  They had a great week here with us, and are hoping to stay involved with this project.  Work has now stopped on the high school, but Karin van Eijk is gathering funds, and the students from Westfield will be trying too, also Amped for Education, so hopefully we will make further progress with it soon.

·        Professors Soraya, Raul and Jose completed work on the textbook/activity book for the course we will be hosting this year on protecting the environment and renewable energy.  Thanks to the Body Shop foundation, this will be taught to all the grade 3 and 4 children in the schools where we work, and so exciting for the children, each will have their own book, with a space for their name on the cover.  Often there is only one textbook per classroom here.

·        Our three summer schools have been running all month, next week is the last week, and we have over 150 students attending.  Kathleen Pillie and other visitors who came with the Archdiocese of New Orleans Mission Group came and did eye testing with all the children last week.

·        New faces as ayudantes, plus some new university scholarships through Grupo 2013 in Spain – now we have 20 young people attending university, 14  of who are full time volunteers in our ayudante program, plus this year  75 sponsored to attend high school.  (we are still looking for a few more high school sponsors).

·        Our first home renovation project happened last week!  Dalia Ramirez won the raffle we held of students with the best attendance at San Ignacio, and the Ramirez family got a full home makeover.  T.J. Swearengin and his friends ‘The Carpenters’ funded this and did all the work too laboring each day, along with a little assistance from our local builder.   All four. T.J., Chad, Josh and Guy, have desk jobs, and despite the name ‘Carpenters’ are really average home handymen, but they did a wonderful job – I’m adding an extra photo link just for this as they are such great pictures, before, during and after.

Former volunteer, Ciaran Tierney, returned home to Ireland at Christmas after a spell in Central America in which he spent ten weeks with La Esperanza Granada. Here, he reflects on how his experiences in Nicaragua contrasted with the current ‘crisis’ in his own country.

 And finally two photo links for this month :

And a special on the house renovation:

A great start to 2011,  hope all of you had a good start too, from all of us here,

Regards, Pauline.

Note: In orginal newsletter you can find a list of people who made donations, brought goods and volunteers coming to teach this new school year.


February 5, 2011 Posted by | Volunteering | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hospice Volunteer Training offered by Boston Shambhala’s Group

I completed 3 levels of Shambhala Warrior Training, and they were extremely useful for me. I was happy to learn that Shambhala groups offer other trainings and worshops, like this one offered by Shambhala’s Turning the Flower Outward group:

Hospice Volunteer Training begins Thursday February 3rd: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM.

In our effort to “turn the flower outward” and push the Boston Shambhala Center’s envelope beyond its present limits, Shambhala members interested in reaching out to the greater Boston community are dedicating their merit to those facing life-limiting illnesses. Individually and as a group, our collaboration with hospice volunteering is another step towards sharing our practice, exertion and heart with patients and their families, who are facing a time of major transition fraught with fear and uncertainty. Putting other people before ourselves is a powerful way to cultivate compassion and attract blessings. The power of meditation practice mixed with organized group service for others in need is a potent catalyst towards creating an enlightened society.

Join us for five weeks of hospice training with The Beacon Hospice office in Charlestown, MA.

The Beacon Hospice approach to care creates a patient and family environment of hope, comfort, and dignity. This approach is extended through our volunteers, who can make an enormous difference in someone’s life. Volunteering takes many forms. From working directly with patients at the bedside, to knitting lap blankets, to working in the office…there is something for everyone.

Please join us for this hospice volunteer training, which is scheduled for five consecutive Thursday evenings, February 3rd – March 10th from 6-9pm.  Please feel free to contact Jill Hurley with any questions at

Note: this training will NOT be at the Boston Shambhala Center. Contact Jill Hurley for more information. Email us if you would be interested in another training in the future.

Click Here to Register

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Volunteering | , , , , , | Leave a comment