In early May, I (Cassie) headed out east to Bluefields, Laguna de Perlas and Kukra River facilitating workshops on peace building and conflict transformation. It was a delight to visit communities that AMC is working in, meeting their staff and interacting with community members.
In each location, I facilitated two or three day workshops for AMC staff along with government workers, teachers, NGO workers, a priest, a high school principal and a communal judge. We discussed the various conflicts that they struggle with in their community, learned skills for analyzing them and dreamed of what our communities could look like in ten years. This was one of my favorite aspects of the workshops, seeing these individuals share their hopes and goals for the communities that they call home.
One of my biggest fears came true while I was in Laguna de Perlas and Kukra River, no electricity. This put me as a facilitator in a bit of panic mode. But it worked out and we navigated our way without electricity when we needed to. On a positive note, in Laguna de Perlas I was able to facilitate the workshop in English. This is the first time that I have done this and while my Spanish continues to improve, facilitating is still much easier in English. It was a nice change of pace.
A highlight of my trip was discovering that Al Williams, a pitcher for the MN Twins in the 1980´s is from Laguna de Perlas. I stayed at his brother`s guest lodge and one morning at breakfast, he noticed the MN Twins t-shirt that I had on. This led to a conversation about the cold winters in MN, my MN accent and Twins baseball. Here is a picture of Wesley Williams, brother to Al Williams and I. You can`t see it well, but I am wearing my Twins tee in this photo.
Another highlight was meeting the first ever Cassandra in Nicaragua. There are now two of us that we are aware of!
Overall it was a wonderful eleven days in the Atlantic Coast. I am always grateful for the opportunity to travel and facilitate conversations around peace building. My hope is that these individuals will take what they have learned back to their homes and communities in hopes of building a more just, verdant and peaceful world.