14 juin 2006


PS : Désolée, ce message est en anglais. Le prochain sera dans la langue de Molière!

I had to come to Nicaragua to read the newspaper every morning. I like to read about what's going on daily in this country. For example I am always surprised to see the messages adressed to secret donators who responded to people calling out for certain medicines, etc. The message is always accompanied by a photo of the person holding the precious medecines in her hands...

But in the newspaper I also read about cultural life in Nicaragua, especially here in Managua. I have to admit that's one of the advantages of being in a big city compared to those who live in more rustic areas. So yesterday morning, while eating my "gallo pinto" and my "refresco de arroz y pina", I saw that "Smooth", a french band, was giving a concert the same day in the national dancing school.

So I went! It was great to dance by the palm trees. Smooth started here a central america tour, and I was pleased to hear that they will then go the Montreal Jazz Festival! Their sound is a mix of electro-rock-soul. It was good, we had a great time! Smooooooooooooooooooth!

La Chureca - part 2

Yesterday I went to "2 Generations", an organisation dedicated to children of the Chureca, the public dump located in my neighbourhood. They gave me a brochure about what they do for these children and their families. Here are some incredible facts :

When 2 Generations started their work in 1992, they estimated that about 200 kids were going to the dump every day to work for a little family income. Today, they estimate the number to be as big as 700 kids. That growth went along with the increase of poverty here in the country.

The size of the Chureca is approximately 40 hectars. Every day, the city trucks bring 900 tons of "new" garbage. That dump is the only mean of survival for more than 1000 people that all day long search the garbage in the hope of finding stuff they could recycle, sell or use on the spot. A job without any holiday or Sunday off...

The odor is unbearable due to food and dead animals decomposing, mixed with the excrements of the animals that gaze there. Yes, cows, pigs, cats and dogs also look for food there. Let's add to that the fact the Lake Managua is only few meters away from that lovely place...

According to a study conducted by 2 Generations in 2000, more than 50% of the people that work in the Chureca are under 18 years of age. Those who are under 14 work an average of 4 hours a day, while the 15-20 group work 8 hours daily. They estimate that 25% of the 15-20 group never attended school. A lot of the kids encouter skin problems, broncho-respiratory illness or severe sunburns. Needless to say that the socio-sanitary conditions are very bad. The kids also work in a violent environment, and little girls are sometimes sexually abused. Last year 3 kids died from eating chocolate they found in the dump. It was in fact rat poison that had been trowned away...

I could keep going on and on about facts and horrific stories we hear about the Chureca. But what you have to know is that there is organisations like 2 Generations that work with those kids and their families. They first try to protect the kids in the dump, try to get to know their families, try to get the kids into school and therefore reduce their working hours in the dump. In the brochure we can read some nice stories about kids that made it all the way to university, something they couldn't even dream of as kids...

Let's hope 2 Generations will one day disapear... That would mean the problem would be solved. But for now that thought remains a dream and 2 Generations call out for government, civil society and private sector to get together and adress the poverty problem in Nicaragua. There is still a lot of work to be done here.

Take care, and give your kids a hug.

Love, Marjo xx

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