"This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way . . ." — Oscar Romero
And this is what PeaceWorks has been about for over twenty years. Planting seeds of hope and inspiration, watering them with hard-gained resources — thanks to you and to many others — that will liberate lives and communities. We always realized that we can't change the whole world, stop global warming, or stop all injustice and inequality but we have been more than determined to do all we can to relieve suffering, respond to natural disasters, and build just and humane communities through our partner organizations in Nicaragua.
In some ways, PeaceWorks' commitment to our friends in Nicaragua has been liberating, just as Romero said. Our focus has enabled us to "do something, and to do it very well." Sometimes by trying to take on the world, you end up doing nothing — where and how do you even start? By working with our friends in Nicaragua through our networks of sharing and activism at home, we have saved lives and helped lift people and communities. And in doing so we have given many the opportunity to make a difference, for them to take the small steps that liberate themselves from inaction and apathy, giving "true meaning to our lives" by pursuing this "task of human dignity" in the words of our departed Nicaraguan friend Thelma Fernandez Solis that still ring true after so many years.
When Mirna Sanchez approached PeaceWorks to help her start Inhijambia, we raised $30,000 for their first center in which to welcome and work with the street children of Managua, Nicaragua. From that point, Mirna's dedication and that of her staff has attracted funding support from organizations throughout Europe and a few others in the U.S. to the point where Inhijambia now has about thirty staff people and a multi-dimensional program that lifts young people out of abuse and misery, breaking the cycle of violence and neglect that will reverberate through coming generations.
Our material aid shipments have helped "water the seeds" planted by our partner organizations: notebooks and pencils for the literacy classes by the Masaya women's collectives; wheelbarrows, shovels, and rakes used by FEDICAMP communities to plant raised vegetable beds from which to nurture their families; sewing machines used by pine-needle artisans to make bags with which to market their brilliantly colored crafts; guitars and recorders played by members of the Cusmapa choral group, enlivening their community through their enchanting music; household items to help young women start new lives enabled through Inhijambia's programs of counseling, education, love, and support; medical supplies and dental equipment for the Jubilee House Community's clinics; and perhaps even the engine overhaul kit we hope to send in May to the El Porvenir Organic Coffee Cooperative so they can repair their ancient Ford tractor.
We hope you will continue planting and watering seeds with us and help us in your own way, small or large, according to your means and abilities. Please start by making a tax-deductible donation today — liberate your checkbook! Spread the word, use our website (www.peaceworks.org) to share with your networks. Here are some events and resources.
- March 10 Dinner and Concert with Paul Baker-Hernandez — Giving Voice to Earth's Silent Scream. We hope you will come to our March 10 dinner and concert featuring Paul Baker-Hernandez, singer-song-writer, environmental and human rights "broken-fingernailed" activist from Nicaragua. Please see the enclosed flyer. Spread the word and bring some friends and neighbors — be delighted by this remarkable person and performer.
- Oscar Romero Remembrances. Please see enclosed flyer about an April 15 remembrance of this courageous icon of justice and human rights to take place at St. Peter's College in Jersey City. There will also be another event on March 24 in Union City sponsored by CEUS. Check out their website for more details — www.ceusnj.org.
- PeaceWorks' Program for 2012. Please check out our 2012 program highlights. We hope you will find ways to become more involved with our work — encourage your friends to do so as well. PeaceWorks will continue to post events, newsletters, and more at our website, www.peaceworks.org. Please share those postings with your friends and online networks. Help us grow our network of sharing and action.
- Take Part in Our 61st Aid Shipment on May 5. We'll soon be at it again with another aid shipment to our Nicaraguan partner organizations. When we visit our friends in Nicaragua each January we are told about the impact our aid has on the lives of many people: the young women of Inhijambia able to begin independent living with the help of our household appliances and clothing; the FEDICAMP members able to plant more trees and gardens with the help of our wheelbarrows, shovels, and other tools. Just two months away — plenty of time to gather life-affirming aid and to raise the funds necessary to pay for all the shipment expenses but only with your help, encouragement, and donations. See the enclosed flyer. Visit our website to learn more about how you can help — www.peaceworks.org and please spread the news among friends and through your personal online networks.
- Wish List from Inhijambia. We have enclosed a wish list from Inhijambia that explains the importance of some of those items to their programs. For example, Inhijambia has a wonderful computer classroom full of computers we have shipped to them, but they have to shut the classroom each afternoon because it gets too hot for the computers — with a few air conditioners they can increase their program in this and other classrooms. Or even a simple thing like irons — they make sure all the children in their programs have clean and ironed uniforms when they go to school to help relieve the stigma placed on them for being very poor and living on the streets.
- Immigration Policies . Please read the enclosed article from Witness for Peace that tells a personal story of the impact of U.S. government immigration policies. The story struck a personal connection, as the young woman mentioned in the piece is the niece of Augusto Obregon, the President of FEDICAMP, one of PeaceWorks' Nicaraguan partner organizations. Witness for Peace does a great deal of work on this issue. Go to www.witnessforpeace.org to find out how you can challenge the inhumane and destructive aspects of these policies.
- PeaceWorks' Annual Dinner — April 14 in Plainfield. Please mark this date so you can come to our Annual Dinner. Our Open the Sky Celebration of Hope and Solidarity will take place at the United Presbyterian Church in Plainfield. We'll feature PeaceWorks' culinary creations, multimedia presentations of our work in Nicaragua, along with live music. And we'll also present our 2012 Open the Sky Humanitarian Awards to several people who have made special contributions to PeaceWorks. See the enclosed flyer for details and we'll send out more info soon.
- Nicaragua News Update. Please see these excerpts from the Nicaragua Network's News Bulletin which brings to light disturbing research into a high rate of fatal kidney disease among Nicaraguan and Salvadoran sugar workers — another example of how exploitative export agriculture can hurt workers' health while only enriching elites. The news also points out more continuing progress in Nicaragua in providing health services and social programs.
I hope you will continue helping PeaceWorks, to "plant the seeds that one day will grow. . . water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise" as beckoned by Oscar Romero by taking part in our aid collections and events, as well as by making a tax-deductible contribution today. And please come to our March 10 dinner-concert - with some friends.
Jim Burchell, PeaceWorks
Jim's glog. I had hoped to make some progress in the garden but I was attacked by a renegade plum tree — still can't do much due to an injured wrist. Perhaps I'll have a better update in the next newsletter.
2012 annual meeting flyer.pdf
Annual Dinner - Romero Events.pdf
Inhijambia Wish List.pdf
March 10 PeaceWorks Concert.pdf
May 5 Shipment Flyer.pdf
Nicaragua News Excerpts.pdf
PeaceWorks' 2012 program.pdf
St. Peter's College Romero Event.pdf
WfP immigration article.pdf