Dark times

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In Europe people are under the spell of war. This is also discussed here in Nicaragua, but of course in a remote manner as we will not be affected with refugees coming to our country. Early on, the Ukraine flag was displayed in a neighborhood in the capital Managua. But the police were quick to remove the flag, because the Nicaragua government is pro-Russian. There are working visits between the countries. And apparently our President has adopted many of the practices of president Putin. At the end of last year a law was passed which enables the police to arrest people if they speak against the government on social media. This is popularly referred to as the ‘Putin law’.

The Activities Club

According to our mission, the three pillars of our work are: protection (= running the Ruach community home), stimulation (= running the Activities Club) and prevention (= awareness raising, information, consultations etc.) Before the COVID lockdown the Activities Club was open for half days every week day and provided the Ruach Community core members, as well as people with disabilities living in our neighborhood, the opportunity to develop their talents with activities such as drawing, making music, making piñatas or painting flowers (from plastic bottles). In March 2020 the club inevitably had to close because of COVID. Some time ago we were able to re-open the Activities Club, but we changed the venue to a hut at the back of the garden of the Community Home, so that at least our core members did not need to travel. And we limited the number of external participants, so that we could still work with precautionary measures in place. That worked well.

Activities Club closed

However, our Activities Club assistant resigned in October and since then the Ruach Board has not approved the search for a successor. They gave ‘COVID’ as the official reason, although the latest COVID wave was over. It is clear that the financial situation of the Fundación played a role. The Board has not been active enough in raising funds to supplement what was received from other sources so there is a budget deficit. We knew the old Board was passive, but unfortunately the new members of the Board who were elected last August have not been able to turn the tide, and to bring about the changes needed for Ruach to become a viable healthy organization.

Making flowers from plastic bottles

Recreational activities
Sometimes you have to deal with situations that in spite of all your efforts are beyond your control. That is the situation we are in at the moment, so it is now a matter of finding creative solutions so as not to let the Activities Club participants be the victim of certain policy decisions. The Activities Club is officially closed, but in my personal capacity I have now recruited someone who leads ‘recreational activities’ in the afternoon. A new job title, but with the same job description. The new person is not officially working for the Ruach Foundation, but is paid for by gifts from a group of friends. The participants enjoy having their activities again, but of course we keep hoping that the Activities Club will officially open again!

The Dutch organisation that pays for some of my travel expenses and health insurance, (Week Nederlandse Missionarissen), is still, after a delay of two years due to COVID, going to celebrate their 50 years of existence in April this year. I am invited, so I bought a ticket to be in the Netherlands next month for some time. It still feels very unreal! Maybe I will see some of you soon!

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