The Cocoa Connection in Rio San Juan, Nicaragua

(Photo Credit - KJ Dakin)

What I recently learned from las campesinas (women farmers) living in the lush rainforest region of the Rio San Juan department of southern Nicaragua tasted pretty sweet. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but chocolate sure does. The raw form of chocolate, anyways. In the Rio San Juan department, women and their husbands …

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Women Who Dig – Runner-Up in Briarpatch’s Creative Writing Contest

Woman from Comitancillo (Photo by KJ Dakin)

Before we talk, we eat. Aurelia has laid out lunch on the long skinny table. She’s prepared dishes that give homage to maíz, corn – the food that defines Mayan-Mam cultural heritage of the Comitancillo highlands of northwestern Guatemala. There’s sopa de res y maíz, beef and corn soup, and heavy …

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Local Author to Focus on Women Farmers

Comitancillo, Guatemala (Photo by KJ Dakin)

While resting in the frozen hills of the Peace Country a couple of weeks back, I was happy to digest my travel and research experiences and share more about my story with local reporter, Kristjanna Grimmelt. Here’s a link to a story Kristjanna wrote and published in the Peace River …

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Her Worth, Her Work on International Women’s Day

Women digging, Uganda.

She may not seem significant to you because she’s holding the hand-hoe, feeding the pigs, or hauling broken laundry basket filled with carrots still clinging to the soil. But her work is the definition of work in the truest sense. She puts her intellectual, physical, emotional and according to some …

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River to River – Research in the Rio San Juan, Nicaragua

The sky in the water and the water in the sky along the Rio de Sabalos, Rio San Juan.

The dueña (owner) of the small boat handed me the crudely carved paddle. It was heavy in my hands, painted a cheerful shade of bright blue. I burst out laughing, and looked over to my travel companion, Keely. “You know how to steer?” I asked her with a surprised grin. …

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Women Who Dig – Research in Central America

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Tomorrow evening I’ll descend on Guatemala City. I’m already anticipating the scattered, erratic twinkling of city lights, countered by the pockets of dark as I fall down, down onto the continent I’ve known and fallen in love with over the past ten years – though it isn’t my motherland. It’s …

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The Country Under My Skin – Nicaragua (Part III)

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Building a Nation of Poets, Painters and Peace-Makers To know Nicaragua, over the years, has been to recognize the artist in every Nicaraguan I’ve met along the journey of my travels, and volunteer and work experiences. Poets, painters, musicians, folkloric dancers, graffiti artists, actors, sculptors, weavers, carvers… Art in Nicaragua, whatever medium, …

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The Country Under My Skin – Nicaragua (Part II)

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From Resistance to Revolution (And Those Caught in the Cross-Fire) There is no way you can understand Nicaragua, know Nicaragua, without knowing about the Nicaraguan Revolution of 1979. It’s not an exaggeration to say, even today – thirty-four years later – that the Revolution really lives inside of Nicaraguan people. The Revolution was led by …

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The Country Under My Skin – Nicaragua (Part I)

Photo Credit - Caitlin Jackson

There is a verb in Spanish – conocer. It means to know. It’s used in the context of meeting and becoming acquainted with people. It’s also used in the context of geographical place. I could write, for example, he estado a Nicaragua. I’ve been to Nicaragua. But these are empty words when I contemplate all that …

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