When I arrive at 3:30 pm it’s notably quiet in the big hall of the ‘casa de cultura’ (= cultural centre). Two weeks before the event, its organizers Yaser and his wife, visited us in our community home.
For some years now they have taken the initiative to organize a cultural afternoon in which they draw attention to the rights and inclusion of disabled people in the society. They had heard about our Foundation and invited us to this event, together with the special-needs school, and Los Pipitos, an association for parents of disabled children. Of course we eagerly accepted the invitation.
The theme of the event is: ‘A song for you’. The programme includes some speakers who draw attention to their work with disabled persons; dances performed by young disabled persons; and a musical performance byYaser and his wife who will sing some songs.
In fact, Ruach should have been represented by Ana Alicia, the chairperson of the Foundation, but as she has health issues she had asked me to stand in for her. I arrive a little late, but still ahead of the official opening time of the event to allow myself time to prepare for my talk, but unfortunately there is no beamer that I could have used for a Powerpoint presentation, so there is little I can do to prepare. Eva, our activities’ club coordinator, is already there with three participants who are making piñatas at a table. There are also painted plant pots with plants on display and for sale to show what we are doing.
At 4:30 pm the hall gradually begins to fill up. It is quite common in Nicaragua that events start an hour or an hour and a half later than planned. Of course Nicaraguans know it is pointless to arrive at the scheduled time! And I am also prepared with other things I can do and arrange in the neighbourhood, while waiting for the event to start. It’s also a good time to renew social contacts.
After the welcome speech, I’m one of the first speakers. I’ve got about 10 minutes to present the main work our foundation is doing. It’s an art to be brief and to-the-point, and fortunately I’m sufficiently fluent in Spanish and words come easily when I talk about what has become my daily life. Speeches are interchanged with cultural activities. Before the end of the event I bid farewell to the organizers, because a late start of course also means a late finish.
Next year we hope to be present again. We are grateful for people like Yaser and his wife who are so touched by the plight of disabled people that they organize this kind of events, without much money or other means, but with all the energy in the world to turn the event into something beautiful! It is a light spot in a world in which world news often shows the darker side of humankind!