Saying Goodbye to Our Friend, Chiky
We are saddened to share the news that our dear friend, Chiky, passed away suddenly last month. Details about his passing remain scant, but we do know that a police investigation is underway. While there is much speculation on how he died, we can be sure of how he lived.
Chiky was the youngest child of Doña Reyna. In 2003, she made the brave decision to leave the Managua city dump and move to Project Chacocente. Prior to that, Chiky spent most of his childhood in the dump. He told of learning to swim in polluted Lake Managua and playing amongst the burning piles of trash. As a teenager, Chiky joined one of the many gangs that ruled the dump where there was literally no police presence. As a teenager, he had no desire to leave his gang friends and move to Masaya.
Chiky did move to Chacocente, and somehow, through the years and by God’s grace, became the beloved poster child for Chacocente. With his mother’s care, the guidance of Cheryl Avery, and mentor-ship from Omar Hernandez, Chiky found the power within to lift himself up and become an example to all of us. He attended classes and earned a certificate in electrical wiring.
He decided that he was going to “learn and speak English better than Omar.” Devoting himself to long hours of study, he completed the Advanced English course at the University of Central America in Managua. English was his passion and he was good at it. He translated for American mission groups visiting Project Chacocente and health care providers working in the mountains of north central Nicaragua. For the last few years, he was gainfully employed at call centers helping customers from other countries with their cellular service complaints.
Chiky loved to spend time with his friends from the United States. Those friendships meant so much to him. Please continue to keep his family, the Chacocente staff and board of directors in your prayers.
Memorials may be given to honor Chiky’s life and passion for English. Funds will be used to cover burial expenses and to support the English program. Several members of Chacocente are enrolled in the English classes at the University of Central America, including two of Chiky’s brothers, his niece, and his nephew. In addition, we would like to add another English teacher to the staff of Chacocente Christian School.
Memorials (with “Chiky” written on the memo line) may be sent to: Project Chacocente, PO Box 128, Lexington, MA 02420
Author Donates Book Proceeds to Chacocente
It’s always been true that without our supporters this ministry could not continue. One such friend of Chacocente who is supporting the Project in her own way is Marilee Hartland Lake.
Marilee brings life experiences to her writing. Her most recent visit to Nicaragua was in January of this year. She is very active in her church and in the Christian music drama group “LightReaders.”
In Nana’s Cookbook: A Celebration of the Life of Jane Croft Hartland, Marilee tells the story of her mother’s life. The following is taken from the Amazon website:
Before the grandmother known as “Nana,” the mother known as “Mom” or the minister’s wife known as “Helen Jane,” there was a young girl named Janey. She was born during the roaring twenties, spent her middle childhood and teenage years in the Great Depression, and was a young working girl during World War II. And then she met Jimmy and her life changed in remarkable ways. This is her story…an ordinary woman who lived her life extraordinarily well. Over one hundred and thirty recipes are included. Proceeds support Project Chacocente in Nicaragua.
For more information about Marilee, and to order a copy of the book, visit: marileelakeauthor.com
Thanks Marilee and thanks to each of you for supporting Project Chacocente in unique ways. We’d love to hear about them!
Reflections on Saying Goodbye to Nicaragua
Rev. Alison Schmeid
It is early Sunday morning. We are on the old yellow school bus, driving toward the airport. Salsa-like Christian praise music plays over the radio, and we occasionally catch a word: Jesus, alleluia, gloria a Dios. This is the first leg of our returning to the U.S.
It is helpful that the journey home takes a long time, because it gives us time to think, to solidify experiences in our memories, to sort through thoughts and feelings our time in Nicaragua has planted deep down in our hearts.
As we drive away from the verdant courts of the Hotel el Raizon, we wave goodbye to its beautifully tiled floors and covered walkways, eclectically decorated outdoor sitting areas, and comfortable, colorful hammocks. We have become accustomed to drinking (and brushing our teeth with) only bottled water, throwing toilet paper in the trash, scrubbing caked dirt off our bodies in cold showers, and sleeping through the sounds of ripe fruits falling from the trees (thump!) and then rolling off our corrugated tin roofs (bumpity bump bump bump).
We wave adios to the hotel’s sleeping dogs, rabbits, and parrots. We wave goodbye to other missionaries who have come to share spiritual encouragement and material resources with the poorest residents of Nicaragua, our world’s second poorest country.
As we drive from Masaya to Managua we see, through the bus windows, our last view of Nicaraguan palm trees, dusty reddish-brown roads, roaming dogs and random chickens, and tiny herds of 5 to 10 skinny grey and brown cows being led by sun weathered vaqueros (cowboys).
Goodbye Nicaragua, land of perfectly clear blue skies, still-smoking volcanoes (and recent earthquakes and eruptions), land of smiling faces of friends with beautiful black hair and friendly dark eyes.
- land of wonderful dark coffee, gallo pinto and plantains, beans, rice, and tortillas, and fruits we can’t quite identify at everymeal.
- 90+ degree days working in the hot sun, mercifully cool (yet dusty) breezes, and sweet refreshment on WatermelonWednesday.
- sunscreen, hat, bug spray, work gloves, and water bottle.
- pickaxes and shovels, wheelbarrows and cement, stones and rebar, green paint and new sneakers in every color imaginable.
- Chacocente Christian School. Study hard,students!
- bumpy, deeply eroded and rutted dirt roads with our driver, Ezekiel, at the wheel, driving very slowly.
Dios los bendiga a todos (God bless all of you) vendors of Eskimo (ice cream) with your incessant bells ringing, sellers of trinkets made with shells and sellers of macramé bracelets made from bright colored strings, musicians and dancers who entertain for just a few cordoba.
Hasta la vista, families of Project Chacocente. Like the endangered turtle that is your namesake, just seeing you gives us hope for the future.
Una tortuga sólo avanza cuando su cabeza sobresale de su caparazón, (a turtle only moves forward when it sticks its neck out).
What is true for turtles is also true for humans: we must risk coming out of our shells in order to make progress in life.
Turtles of Chacocente, we pray you will catch God’s dream for you and bravely leave the comfort of your shell of familiarity, venturing into a new and hopeful future. We pray that your living will glorify God, who is able by the Holy Spirit’s work within us to do far more than all we could ask orimagine.
Yes, turtles, progress may be slow, but “no pretendas que las cosas cambien, si actuas de la misma manera.” (Do not pretend that things will change if we continue to act in the same way.)
Dios te bendiga!
Many thanks to those who visited and worked at the project this summer: Allegheny College (Meadville, PA), Asbury First UMC (Rochester, NY), North Congregational UCC (Columbus, OH), San Dieguito UMC (Encinitas, CA), University Christian Church (Fort Worth, TX), Amy Dougherty & Maureen Sloan, and Rev. Jim Nathan’s team from Ohio.
Juan Carlos and the team from Asbury First UMC began work on the new chapel. The team laid their hands on, and prayed over, the cornerstone.
Keeping the well working and water flowing is critical for the Chacocente families, and the school.
Thank you for supporting Project Chacocente. Your prayers, donations, time, and work to share the story are making a difference, and we appreciate you! Your help is vital. Visit www.outofthedump.org for details about sponsorships (for a child, a classroom, or an English student), supporting academic and athletic competitions, or general donations to Project Chacocente.
Donations may be mailed to: Project Chacocente, PO Box 128, Lexington, MA 02420
Feel free to contact us for more information or with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org