Last Wednesday, I along with Michelle & Alex (the two other Mission Interns whose jobs end in January) went to the Casa Ben Linder. The Casa Ben Linder meetings gather every Thursday morning to discuss issues facing Nicaragua and several different topics involving everything from economics to sustainable farming to U.S. issues in Nicaragua. I met Nan, another United Methodist missionary who works with another organization in Mangua, and the two missionaries sponsored by University Christian Church (UCC) in Fort Worth. UCC just sent a mission team to work with Tim & Laura Jean, the Global Ministries missionaries. To sit among a group of 20-30 people who are all passionate about working along side the poor in Nicaragua and working for social justice was a powerful experience. Although the group consists mainly of citizens from other countries, a few local Nicaraguan people attend the meetings as well.
The property is dedicated to Ben Linder. Ben Linder was U.S. citizen who died at the age of 27 while working in the village where he worked on small hydroelectric dam during an ambush by the Contra army. The Contra army was financed by the United States government. Ben was someone who wanted peace and justice to the beautiful people of Nicaragua. "It is the loss of something that seems rare these days: a man with the courage to put his back behind his beliefs. It would have been very easy for this bright, young man to follow the path to a good job and a comfortable salary. Instead, he chose to follow the lead of his conscience." http://www.greenempowerment.org/about-us/ben-linder
During this particular meeting, a woman named Lillian shared as much as she could fit into our short time together about her life in Nicaragua. She moved here as a young woman and over time has spent almost 30 years in Nicaragua. She shared stories of so many people willing to give everything in order to live in a more just country. Everyday common people who lent a helping hand during the revolution. Her stories involved personal accounts of joining the war front with the Sandinista army and working in solidarity with those involved in the war. It was interesting to hear her very personal history of Nicaragua. It's a lot different to hear about the history or read about than to have someone give you personal accounts of seeing people shot, fighting for justice, and being apart of the war. Lillian has deep passion for the history of Nicaragua, but she stopped her stories at 1992. When people urged her to continue until present day she said something along the lines of now Nicaragua is not the same Nicaragua she knew before. She said it feels like the revolution they won never even happened.
Nicaragua's history is an interesting one and embodies much of the culture today. At a later point, I will share the Nicaraguan history lesson I received last week. Also, I will work on taking pictures of Casa Ben Linder. It's still so amazing, yet peculiar to me to meet all different non-native people working to help a country and whose hearts beat for Nicaragua.