Nicaraguan Grab Bag (a little about us, politics and economics)

Things continue to get better for us here in Nicaragua.  Life is beginning to have more of a rhythm and familiarity to it.  We’ve both started in our respective jobs and are trying to feel our way along with the help of our coworkers.  Marisa has really hit the ground running in her job.  The project is new so there is plenty of work to be done.  As I write this blog entry she’s calling members of the four partner schools of the library project to see if they can send representatives to a national library conference this week.  Luckily, I’m getting introduced to my work at a bit of a slower pace.  Martha, the director of the Peace and Justice Commission has a great vision for healthier, more peaceful neighborhoods in Managua.  The challenge of course is how to make that vision a reality.  So far Peace and Justice is already accompanying 4 Anabaptist congregations, supporting them in their work in their own communities.  Marisa and I both plan to expound on our work soon in future blog posts but for this post I want to try to give an idea of what life is like for the average Nicaraguan (bearing in mind that I’ve only been here for 5 weeks and can’t possibly know what life is really like for the average Nicaraguan).  But here’s a shot at the general politics, economics, and social life. 

Presidential elections will be held here in November of 2011 and there is already lots of talk about who the candidates will be and who will win.  Right now it looks like the two candidates will be Daniel Ortega from the FSLN (Sandinista) party and Arnoldo Aleman from the PLC.  Daniel Ortega is the current president, and unfortunately a cynic would say that he’s maneuvering to try to be Nicaraguan’s president forever although the constitution currently does not allow it.  Arnoldo Aleman was president in the late ’90s and was convicted of embezzling over 20 million dollars in international aid that came into the country after Hurricane Mitch.  So, to many Nicaraguans, neither of these candidates inspire confidence and trust.  There is movement by the opposition to support a different candidate in the 2011 election besides Aleman, but there is doubt about whether or not anything will come of this. 

As far as the economy goes, the latest report by the Nicaraguan National Bank is that the GDP grew by almost 3% in the last quarter, which was an improvement over the past, however I don’t think the average Nicaraguan would say that the economy is improving.  Steady rains since April have caused water levels to pass even post Hurricane Mitch levels and October is historically the wettest month.  Flooding has caused many to lose their homes and lives already.   The flooding has also contributed to the loss of the red bean crop this year and Nicaraguans cannot survive without their beans (we eat them for every meal).  Since we’ve been here a pound of beans has risen from 8 cordobas to 22 cordobas and is expected to rise even higher.  So, imagine if a gallon of milk or a loaf  of bread suddenly almost tripled in price. 

So those are a few observations we’ve made so far about life here in Nicaragua and its politics and economics.  Please pray for Nicaragua and its people that there will be no hurricanes this month and less rain.  A hurricane would be truly devastating.  Also, I know there are many arguments out there about global warming, but no one can dispute that God has called us to care for God’s creation and in the U.S. we use much more than our share of the earth’s limited resources, so don’t only pray, conserve resources as well.

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One Comment on “Nicaraguan Grab Bag (a little about us, politics and economics)”

  1. Betty Ressler Says:

    It had rained here for several days, I can’t imagine a month of it. Thanks for the info, Adam. May God bless you and Marisa as you adjust to all that you are going thru, with work, government, weather, beans and getting to know the culture there. We love you. GM

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