Archive for January 2010

Santa Rosa, Here We Come!

January 17, 2010

Sundays in Santa Rosa bring many people into town to shop and to socialize. Their horses stand patiently in the shade of the tree-lined streets.

We’re on the countdown now–three weeks today, we’ll be sweltering in Santa Rosa! It was 35 C in Managua today and Santa Rosa is usually HOTTER!!

My neighbour’s 20-year old son Parker will be accompanying me on this trip. We’re physically getting ready for any challenge we might encounter in Nicaragua by going out snowshoeing as often as possible–Saturday we put in 4 hours, and more than 9 km (5 miles), of which at least 1.5 km (1 mile) was slogging a new trail to create another circle tour. Today in our glorious -3 C  sunny winter weather, we put in another 3 hours–we’re going to be in FANTASTIC shape by the time we leave from Smithers for Nicaragua on February 5. Bertha, my good friend, advisor and colleague in Santa Rosa, sent an email to tell us we need to be ready to hike into the mountains to visit some families in the rural communities, so with that message we got started on getting fit. It feels REALLY GREAT!!

Last year on my annual visit to Santa Rosa in March, I had ignored my physical health on the lead-up to my trip and paid the price. I caught a cold from Tania, my translator, as soon as I arrived and “picked up” other undesirable bugs in the following two weeks. I was feeling so rough that I actually came home a week early and missed the opportunity for a new adventure, including a 6-hour ride in the back of a truck by primitive roads to the Rio Coco to visit relatives of Tania’s family. What a disappointment that was!! I’m hoping the roads are passable this early in the dry season, so maybe we can go this time. After this weekend’s boot camp of physical activity, I can tell I’m ready!

As of this afternoon, my living room has now become a donation-packing storeroom. I have two big boxes and two big duffle bags anxiously awaiting their precious cargos of  medical, educational and sewing donations. With all the new luggage restrictions that now accompany travel through the USA, we may have to pack quite differently. From the media, I understand that nobody is allowed cabin baggage so all our personal luggage that we usually take on as cabin baggage, may now have to take up one of the four 50-pound checked bags allowed. Who suffers? The community of Santa Rosa del Peñon! They will receive one less bag of donations. Parker and I think we can manage with 25 pounds each for a month and stuff it all into one of those duffle bags. I’ll have to check with the airlines, to see if they have made changes since the restrictions imposed after the “Christmas Day Detroit” incident.

Tomorrow I am making two presentations to 4 classes at Twain Sullivan School on TASK’s work in Santa Rosa del Peñon, following up on last Monday’s presentation to the first two classes. I will finish presenting to the last three classes on Wednesday. The school is having a friendly coin collection competition to raise funds for furniture for the playschool at the Community Education Centre that TASK funded in 2008. According to rumour, one of the classes, that I presented to last Monday, has already filled their first plastic juice container. Congratulations Grade 4!!

I will keep you updated on packing progress this week. I have to go to my “storehouse” of donations that people have given me and prioritize what is most needed this year. Since students from West Vancouver Secondary will not be travelling to Nicaragua this year, I have much less space available. Without their most valuable help, my volume of donations is very much reduced.

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Welcome to TASK and a HUGE Thank You!

January 6, 2010

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the new blog for Take A Stand for Kids (TASK). First, I must extend a HUGE THANK YOU to the Librarians Without Borders (LWB) Student Committee at the School of Library, Archival & Information Studies (SLAIS) at the University of British Columbia for taking an interest in helping TASK by creating this blog.

Carroll preparing for her presentation to Librarians Without Borders at UBC in February 2009

A very special thank you goes out to one of the students, Samantha Sinanan, who contacted me after CoDevelopment Canada’s 2008 annual fundraising dinner where I received their International Solidarity Award. Without her inquisitiveness and activism, I would never have had the fortune to learn about UBC’s Librarians Without Borders group and to be invited to make a presentation about Take A Stand for Kids for them February 23, 2009. In addition, I would especially like to thank Kate Sloan who developed the weblog, Will Engle who provided me with great instructions for using it, and all the other members of LWB who have taken an interest in TASK and are helping with the fundraising efforts. All your help is VERY MUCH appreciated.

I am now entering my 12th year of working for children and their families in Nicaragua. I am constantly amazed at the power of children—whether it be the students in my Grade 5 class who started me on this journey or the potential of the children I work for in Nicaragua. I have always believed that children need to be given the opportunity to grow, to learn, to express their ideas, to be given the chance to develop their creative talents, to follow their passions. These are still the beliefs I hold onto for the children of Santa Rosa del Peñon, Nicaragua.

From that first year following Hurricane Mitch in late 1998, in helping the children in my Grade 5 class who wanted to make a difference, I have never lost the drive they instilled in me to not just talk about a problem but to take action to try and do something.

Carroll and her Grade 5 class

I am constantly reminded of their enthusiasm and determination to help the child victims of that gigantic and destructive hurricane. I continue to work with that enthusiasm and determination to try to make a difference for the children and their families in Santa Rosa del Peñon, Nicaragua.

With THANKS once again to the Librarians Without Borders Student Committee at the University of British Columbia, I am now able to share my story and my work with a much wider audience.

I am looking forward to adding more pages to this weblog and will be submitting additional posts to keep you up to date on the activities of Take A Stand for Kids. I welcome any comments about this weblog and its content.