Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top 20 Countdown: #13 Educating Through Speaking Tours

Did you get to know our work when you heard one of us speak?  Many of you have gotten to know the JHC-CDCA through our speaking tours in the United States and throughout other nations.  Sarah goes to speak about the work of the CDCA each spring for about two months, Pat and Kathy for years went for two months each fall, and Becca speaks every other year, and together with Mike and César speaks at organics conferences or as keynote speakers in universities.

These speaking tours are phenomenally labor intensive.   

Months before the tours, they spend hour after hour setting up the trip.  We all help with the power point presentations and the brochures.  Sarah shops for crafts from local artists to sell as fundraisers and support the artists.  Everyone remaining in Nicaragua covers for them while they are away.  Before walking out the door they leave documents titled, for example, “Kathy’s brain” so we who are remaining will not get stuck looking for documents or files while that person is gone.

While they are gone, they drive thousands of miles.  They stay in people’s homes.  They carry crafts in and out of our van and set up in churches, universities, meetings, people’s homes and talk and talk.

Sarah and her daughter, Jessica, went on the first speaking tour in April 1995.  It was so successful we expanded it… and all of us have participated through the years.

Among us all we have spoken in 37 of the 50 states… most of these we come back to each year or every other year.  We have spoken in 10 different countries including Taiwan…the furthest!   Becca and Paul have spoken several times in Ireland, Paul’s home, and Northern Ireland.  As a result we have a small base of support from Ireland. 
On the speaking tours we schedule time to visit family and friends along the way.  Many people who hosted us over the years started out as supportive strangers and have become good friends.  When we come home, we are tired, glad to be home, and always a little fatter from all the wonderful food that people prepare for us while we are gone.

Speaking tours have raised money for the work as well as putting images of the CDCA's work in people’s minds, but they also serve to put faces on the poor of Nicaragua.  I remember as a child when missionaries would come to our church and talk about how other people lived.  It opened my eyes to the world and gave me new perspectives on my own reality.  We trust this is also what happens occasionally on our speaking tours.

Future Projects 
  • As we expand our base we need a van in the Northwest of the U.S. and a new van on the east coast… our current one is very old… awaiting funding.
  • We always need people to invite us to speak and to host us... awaiting you!  Contact us.

  • Counting down to #GivingTuesday on December 2nd, we’re highlighting the CDCA’s accomplishments over our 20 years in Nicaragua. Follow our countdown in this blog, on Facebook and Twitter. Help us keep doing more by giving $20. Our goal is to raise $20,000.