In the last few months we have been busy with many things, so I have not been able to post much on this blog, but there is a lot happening. First of all, our little Kriol group which was sponsored by a Spanish congregation has now become a congregation of its own! This is an exciting development as it reflects the growth and good results coming from the field. Many progressive students are regularly attending meetings and a number of the need greaters have made long term commitments to staying on the Island such as buying property and applying for permanent residency in the country.
Lobster season is back, which is good news for all the local businesses. Everything grinds to a halt economically and many are forced to live on savings or credit when the "beda" comes, or the ban on lobster fishing, as everything revolves around that industry.
Heavy rains have also started, and it looks like this year we will have a proper rainy season. Last year was very dry relatively, which resulted in hotter than normal weather. Now we are getting plenty of rain and things are nice and green. High winds however make travel in this season a bit more tricky, nonetheless we have been doing a lot of it. My passport was within 6 months of its 5-year expiry so we had to go to Managua for me to get a new Canadian passport at the embassy. It was a fairly simple process, just pay the fee by credit card or give them a kidney (kidney possibly cheaper). The tricky part is that the application needed to be made in person, and it took a month to get it, so that means two trips to Managua, each of them taking an entire week, after that we had an assembly, so thats another week of travel. So out of the month of June we spent about 3 weeks on ships and buses between corn island and Managua with some days in between wandering around Bluefields.
Now we are happy to be home on the Island, which seems so peaceful and comfortable in comparison with the bigger cities in Nicaragua. That being said there has been some unrest. Without taking sides, I can say that a lot of it appears to be racially-motivated. During what was allegedly a break in (stories vary, again im not going to take any sides) of a local business, the intruder was shot and killed by the owner. Because the one who died was Miskito, an angry mob appeared the next day to destroy and loot the business for revenge. Some days later riot police were brought in from the mainland to track down the looters and the stolen goods, which incited another protest. As serious as it all sounds, the demonstrations have not posed any threat to the brothers or bystanders in general, and has not led to any further violence.
Issues of race and land ownership continue to be a major issue in the minds of people here on the Island. Many people here live on land they do not own, and have done so for generations, meanwhile there is talk of some of the original land owners returning from abroad or from the mainland to reclaim their property, resulting in obvious conflicts. As I mentioned, we still feel very safe here in comparison to other parts of the country. Most of these conflicts consist of arguments and shouting, with the occasional burning of tires, and rarely lead to violence. Meanwhile we do our best to stay neutral, and use world events such as these to draw attention to the real issues at hand whilst in our ministry.