Happy March, everyone! It has been a busy February, and Christa is still trying to catch up from being gone to Honduras, Nicaragua and Baja California. There are a LOT of new photos and videos to view on the pages for all our girls, especially those from Honduras and Nicaragua. So please do check in from time to time as they will be added over the next few weeks. All of our girls in those countries are doing so well; it is just a delight to see ! We have new applications for girls in both Honduras and Nicaragua, and also in India and potentially in Guatemala, so we will be busy in the next few weeks and months, figuring out how many we can accept! Here are some highlights of the last few weeks:
• In Nicaragua, all our girls passed their year with flying colors. They are all so grown up now, it’s a little sad (but not too sad, since they are all growing into such lovely young women). Christa brought down presents for all of them, including some books and coloring materials for the younger girls and some pretty bling for the older ones. Ashley helped set up a meeting with a local teacher who has a really interesting story, to talk to the girls about education, and not giving up. We met for a couple hours with ice cream and soda and watermelon and Ana Maricela just talked about how she grew up and how she persevered despite the odds. Karina really took to Ana Maricela since they both grew up in the same area.
• Christa and Ashley also set up a set of short classes on family planning with a local Peace Corps volunteer in El Sauce, just to discuss with the older girls how to take care of themselves and not end up pregnant before they want to be. Nicaragua, like most of Latin America, is a very machisto society, and young men don’t think about birth control. It is not forbidden, or even frowned upon, there and it is mostly a question of education. Those classes are happening now, and we will report on that later.
• In Honduras, Christa got to visit Camila’s new school. Wow! It’s a pretty impressive place, and Camila is thriving there. Klaudina accompanied Christa to a little town outside Tegucigalpa to meet with Linda and her daughter Maria and see her school. It’s an impressive place as well, and the two teachers there both speak perfect English, so Maria will get a terrific bilingual education. The board has accepted Maria as a scholarship student, but still needs to determine how much of her education we can pay. Klaudina is doing really well. Her English is close to perfect, and she enjoys speaking it, so she and Christa spoke English most of the time.
• Christa Skyped with Anna, Maria and Alicia in Guatemala, and it was so lovely to see them “in person.” They are beautiful young women. Maria is a bit shy and Alicia is more outspoken, but they are both so quiet and lovely. They are doing well in school and enjoying it a lot. It’s good to have things like Skype to help create these connections.
• The Dance Party and Chairs for Change fundraiser on February 21 was amazing! There was so much beautiful art for auction, and the performances were incredible. All told we raised just shy of $5,000 for the foundation, which is truly a blessing. Many, many thanks to Janeece Henes and her National Art Honor Society students from FALA, who essentially created this whole event; to the Flagstaff Freethinkers, who helped develop the idea and helped out at the door; to the performers who came from all over northern Arizona to dance and sing and play and drum; to all the businesses who donated a ton of food and gift cards for the performers; to the artists and students who created some of the coolest chairs and furniture we’ve ever seen; and to the people of Flagstaff, who came out to celebrate, laugh, dance, sing, and support education! We’ve attached some pictures of some of the chairs and performances. Hopefully, we will receive some more photos of the rest of the performances and we’ll put them up so everyone can see. The Green Room in Flagstaff is a great location for the event, and we hope to do it again next year. Make plans to come!