Thursday, April 30, 2009

Loan approved! Need a building for all that machinery!

Friday May 1st is International Worker’s Day which commemorates the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, when Chicago police fired on workers during a general strike for the eight hour day, killing a dozen demonstrators. Unlike the United States (where Chicago is located), we in Nicaragua will be joining much of the rest of the world in observing Worker’s Day by closing down our places of work and going elsewhere!

Which makes it a very appropriate time to talk about work…and what a privilege it is to have steady work. With unemployment reaching 8.5% in the US last month, it’s safe to say that work is on the mind of a lot of people around the world. In Nicaragua last year, under- and un-employment was 53% nationally, and where we work, it was 80%. Those kind of numbers are hard for most of us to fathom, but with Nicaragua losing one quarter of all jobs in the free trade zone industry in the past six months, the situation here is going to get a lot harder for a lot of people.

In the face of this desperate situation, our natural reaction is to feel afraid. But as Kathleen keeps reminding me, we cannot react out of fear. And this week we had a good lesson in this from a place I didn’t expect it.

As many of you know, we’ve been waiting to hear news about a possible loan for the Genesis Spinning Co-op, for the $300,000 they need to purchase machinery and get their co-op to work. The institution considering the loan is not big – they’ve never before loaned more than $100,000 at one time. Not only do they have their own financial problems with the current economic situation, but they also have to worry about whether or not Genesis is a good investment – will Genesis be able to sell its yarn? Will any companies still be around to buy it when they finally get up and running? To make matters more scary, on the first day their Board of Directors sat down to discuss the loan, the free trade zone across the street from us announced its closure and the loss of another 800 jobs. With all these closures of big companies, how can little Genesis possibly survive?

But instead of reacting out of fear, and telling us (as 13 other institutions have in the past six years) “Our Board of Directors has a low appetite for risk”…they chose another way. And they did their homework: they spent hours with us pouring over numbers and projections until they were sure that any way you look at it, Genesis will be a profitable business. They contacted our clients, partners, fair trade certifiers and did their own market research. And after all that…they approved the loan!

What a step of faith...even in the face of so much fear. What a shining light for the 35 members of Genesis who so desperately need sustainable jobs! With this loan, their cooperative can now move forward.

Of course, once the machinery arrives, we have to have somewhere to put it! So the race is on, folks. We have GOT to finish that building! And we still need about $85,000 to do it! Please help us by putting your faith in this project doing what you can to make it a reality.

Many of you have heard about the Stone Soup Fund, and so far we’ve raised more than $3,200 this way! We’re asking people to donate just $10, and ask 10 other people to give just $10 each and also ask 10 other people…but in order for this to work, you’ve really got to ask your friends to give. Many people find this hard, but we’ve been surprised at the reactions from those who’ve done it. One friend wrote us:

“I heard in an email today from a friend who is disabled and has minimal money – she wrote me that she was so glad to contribute $10 (she said that was her speed) to such a good cause and she was going to send the email to all her friends and hope at least 10 of them would contribute $10 too...she was so thrilled to be part of the solution!! Just thought you'd like to know the givers are also benefiting.”

Please click here to copy and paste a message to send to your 10 friends.

We are also asking people to invest in our Shared Risk Investment Fund. In this economic climate, many people are finding that their social investments are a better investment, they’re still getting a return, while those invested in Wall Street have lost big time. We are asking people to loan for 5 years and you set your own interest rate 0-5%. Please put friends and family who can invest in contact with us -- To invest in the Shared Risk Investment Fund click here or email

Together, we can get this building built and fill it with that spinning machinery! As the inscription on the workers' statue in Managua (pictured above) says: Solo los obreros y los campesinos iran hasta el fin! Only the workers and the peasants will go until the end! Happy Workers Day!

To join our Cause on Facebook click here
To give on Facebook click here

To give online click here
Send checks to made out to the CDCA (and in the memo line write Stone Soup)
Mail checks to: 352 Carly Lane, Rock Hill, SC 29732

-- Becca

Send this to 10 friends

Copy and past the story below into an email with your message to your 10 friends asking them to give just $10 and contact 10 of their friends to support our...

Stone Soup Fund

A young woman, Maria, had had no employment for two years, but had worked hard trying to make a future. All of a sudden she was getting married and needed to feed the town coming for the wedding.

What was she to do? She had no money. Her wealthy uncle was not going to lend that kind of money for the town to have a party because his investments had taken a nosedive, but she was a clever young lass and knew that if everyone gave a little, then it could be done. So….

On the morning of her wedding, Maria announced she was making the best wedding soup ever to be tasted with just one stone…one stone? Yes. A neighbor lent her the largest pot in the village to see what she could create with one stone. Maria said she had the perfect stone she filled the huge pot with water and plunked in the stone…and watched it come to a boil.

In fact most of the town had heard the rumor and so came to see this “magic” stone. “Now, this soup tastes good, but if it had a bit of salt….” said Maria as she kissed her fingers. “I have salt,” an interested lad exclaimed and ran off.

“Yum,” Maria said. “But with some potatoes, it will be exquisite.” “I have potatoes,” said the judge of the town and he went to get a sack.

“Onions really spice it up nicely,” said Maria and the baker went off for onions.

Then Maria slowly suggested carrots, celery, meat, etc. Each time she tasted it, the whole village pitched in.

“Oh! The soup is done but I only have one bowl and spoon,” sighed Maria.

Tables, bowls, spoons…and then flowers and music and bread came pouring out of the houses…the wedding was the most wonderful wedding in the village’s history and the soup…everyone agreed it really was the best soup anyone had ever tasted and all Maria had was one stone.

Stone Soup…it takes one stone and a little from many people.

The Genesis spinning plant co-op needs stone soup. We are establishing our Stone Soup Fund to help to cooperative members who need to finish their building after working for two years without pay… all their stones are in the building.

How does it work?

We need 100 people to: Donate $10 and

Contact 10 people and get a commitment from each of them

to give $10 and also phone 10 people.

So… 100 people give $10 and get 1,000 people to give $10 and get 10,000 people to give just $10. This will fund the completion of the spinning plant construction. $10 is very little. It will be a beautiful thing. It will be $110,000… lovely soup.

Join our Cause on Facebook: “Make Stone Soup with the Genesis Spinning Plant”.

Give online:

Mail check to: CDCA - Stone Soup, 352 Carly Ln, Rock Hill, SC 29732

Jubilee House Community, Inc. / Center for Development in Central America

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

El Porvenir Water Project

El Porvenir, the coffee cooperative we closely work with, is trying to finish up the water project that the Bucknell engineers started. They have been waiting for this water project to be completed for a year now.

They have a well at the bottom of their mountain. In the dry season after all the water that was caught from their roofs during the rains and stored in tanks is used up, the beaten up tractor goes down the treacherous road around 3:30AM and loads up the trailer with water to haul back up the mountain around 4:30 and that is the water for the day…somewhere between 1-2 gallons of water/day/person. With the water project, the water is pumped up the mountain in small, but consistent amounts to give people not running water but way more water than they have now. As one who gives out medicines, many of their conditions can be treated with water…urinary tract infections…so many skin disorders that can be eliminated with clean water.

So as the water project is nearing its completion, last week their original pump on the well broke…well, I can’t imagine how disheartening that had to have been. The water project goes on hold as they round up money to get the pump fixed. This is the life of poor people…something seems to be going right and then something else breaks or someone gets sick and then it is back to square one and square one is a hard place to live. -- Kathleen

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

We’ve raised $13,037!

We’ve raised an incredible $1,087 on Facebook so far, another $950 in checks (with more on the way still) AND we’ve received two loans to the Shared Risk Investment Fund. Both loans are for a period of 5 years, one for $5,000 and that person will receive 4% annual interest; the other loan is for $6,000 at 0% annual interest – that person invested their entire inheritance! Between donations to the Stone Soup Fund and loans to the SRIF, we’re raising the money needed to finish the spinning plant, slowly but surely. THANK YOU for all your support!

Of course, we’ve still got aways to go. BUT…we’re making real progress. The whole building has been built – $140,000 invested so far – in little chunks like this. All we need now is enough little chunks to finish it – less than $87,000 now. The Genesis Spinning Co-op plans to get to work spending the $13,037 next week, after taking a holiday during this week, which is Holy Week.

Here in Nicaragua everything is shutting down for Holy Week – what a blessing that in a country where everyone works SO hard for SO little, that there still exists a strong tradition of taking this one week of the year off, no matter what you do or who you are. During Holy Week here more than 1 million people go to a beach – that in a country with a population of just 5.5 million. It is so hot this time of year, that it’s understandable that everyone wants to go to the beach, although one can hardly see the water for all the people standing in it! So after a much deserved break, Nicaragua will be back to work next week.

And the $13,037 we raised will be spent in no time…so please continue to help us reach our goal of raising $100,000 to complete the Genesis spinning plant building! Donate just $10, and ask 10 other people to give just $10 each and also ask 10 other people, together, with everyone giving just a little, we are making this happen!

To give on Facebook click here
To give online click here
Send checks to: CDCA - Stone Soup, 352 Carly Lane, Rock Hill, SC 29732

Investments in the SRIF help us reach our goal faster – we are asking people to loan for 5 years and you set your own interest rate 0-5%. Please put friends and family who can invest in contact with us -- To invest in the Shared Risk Investment Fund click here or email

Thank you all again, and happy Holy Week!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sarah's Speaking Schedule April - May 2009

Lots of people have been asking us where Sarah is speaking in the US, so we're posting her schedule here. Sarah does a dynamic 20 minute slide show about our work and is also selling Nicaraguan handcrafts. She'll be in the US through May speaking from NC south with the addition of a couple engagements in Sacramento, CA and Plano, TX.

If you're in one of the cities she'll be visiting, please come see her speak! If you have friends or family in those places, let them know so they can attend. If you want her to speak to your church, work, school or in your home or if you have a question about any of the events listed below, please call Sarah on her cell phone 413-250-9751 or email





Monday, April 06, 2009

10AM - 5PM

Asheville NC

Odyssey School 10-3PM

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

8:00 AM

Cullowhee NC

Western Carolina – Dr Davis Spanish class

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Sylva NC

Donna Harris - St David's church

Thursday, April 09, 2009

11 AM - 1 PM

Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa NC

lunch - intern opportunities venue

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Swannanoa NC

WWC Peace & Justice Crew invitation

Friday, April 10, 2009


Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa NC

Jensen 105 - Lucy Lawrence meeting

Sunday, April 12, 2009

all AM - Easter

Wall St, Asheville NC

Jubilee! Asheville

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

early AM

Waynesville NC

Waynesville Rotary

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

7:00 PM

Davidson Presbyterian Congregational House

Davidson NC

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Winston-Salem NC

Creative Learning Center preschool

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Winston-Salem NC

Trinity Presbyterian - dinner & presentation

Thursday, April 16, 2009


820 Kensford Ct, Lewisville NC

Ruth Finley's home

Friday, April 17, 2009

11:00 AM

Winston Salem NC

Wake Forest Divinity School

Friday, April 17, 2009


2425 Spicewood Drive, Winston Salem NC

Nora/Becky's home

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Raleigh NC

Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Raleigh NC

St Giles Presbyterian Church

Monday, April 20, 2009


Durham NC

lunch at Millie Brobston's workplace - no crafts

Monday, April 20, 2009

7:30 PM

Greensboro, NC

New Garden Friends Meeting

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

11:30 AM

Bear Creek NC

Chatham Central HS - Becky Lee

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Greenville NC

class at ECU - Anthropology

Thursday, April 23, 2009

6:30 PM

Columbia SC

Trish - Davis Hall potluck & presentation / crafts

Friday, April 24, 2009

11:30AM - 2PM

Coastal Carolina University - Conway SC

class period with crafts

Saturday, April 25, 2009

6:00 PM

Mt Pleasant SC

cook-out Elizabeth Grantham's

Sunday, April 26, 2009

all morning

Mt Pleasant Presbyterian Church, Mt Pleasant SC

SS class presentation & crafts

Monday, April 27, 2009


Sullivan's Island, SC

Preschool - Lois Anderson

Monday, April 27, 2009


Mt Pleasant Presbyterian Church, Mt Pleasant SC

MPPC hosting - ESL group

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

5:15 PM

Mt Pleasant Presbyterian Church, Mt Pleasant SC

dinner / presentation / crafts or Q & A

Friday, May 01, 2009

10:45 AM

Savannah GA

St Vincent's Academy - assembly & crafts

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Saint Petersburg FL 39

Lakeview Presbyterian

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

9:30 - 2:00 PM

Trafalgar Middle School

classes with Nevin Marshall

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Saint Petersburg FL 41

Lakeview Presbyterian / presentation & crafts

Monday, May 11, 2009

11 - 1:30 PM

Sacramento CA

Newman Center, Sacramento State Univ.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Sacramento CA

Jane Thomas' workplace

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Church - Plano TX

Junkin/Reichard church

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Gainesville FL

Holy Trinity Episcopal

Friday, May 22, 2009


Atlanta GA area

Llewellyn Bell

Friday, May 22, 2009

7 - 9 PM

Athens, GA

hosted by the Athens Friends Meeting

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Anderson SC

North Anderson Community Church Presbyterian