If you’ve visited the Winds of Peace website in the past and/or read from my observations in this blog, you are familiar with the Genesis Cooperative in Ciudad Sandino. With help and guidance from the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA), this largely women’s cooperative has emerged from a mere dream to the threshold of viability in the form of an organic cotton spinning plant. They have built an incredible facility by hand (see June 21 entry here), they have weathered the vagaries of Nicaraguan law in achieving their registration, they’ve even withstood the claims of unscrupulous neighbors who have tried to illegally wrest the ownership of the property for themselves. If ever there was an organization that deserved and earned a break, it is Genesis.
But sometimes even the most persistent and patient reach a breaking point, and that could be on the horizon for these inspirational people. The spinning equipment, which is to be shipped from Venezuela, has continued to run into delays and pitfalls, none of which are of the coop’s making. First there was a problem with the size of the containers that the equipment broker provided. That generated the need for more funds. Then the Venezuelan government ran into port inspection problems and instituted national guard inspections, which backlogged all port traffic. Now the equipment broker could be headed for bankruptcy, further complicating the equipment flow. In short, equipment which was scheduled for installation last December is still awaiting transport to Nicaragua.
And behind it all, the women wait. Without opportunity to earn money but with their very lives invested in their cooperative venture, the women and their families have waited out the process for about as long as they can. But children need to be fed. So do adults. Basic needs still cost money, even when you’re engaged in a noble undertaking. And the women draw ever closer to the break point, when they will be forced to give up on their dream and seek work and income elsewhere, just to survive.
CDCA has put out a call for “bridge assistance” for these entrepreneurs who are desperately trying to transform their dreams, toils and commitments into a meaningful, long-term business created by and for themselves. Funding for some very minimal, basic food needs are being sought for the coop members until such time as the equipment is installed and operational.
Winds of Peace intends to help. And while it is not our practice to tout giving opportunities, I can provide more information to you or you can visit www.jhc-cdca.org if you have interest. At the very least, remember the tenuous tightrope these women are walking in their efforts to make their own way. They have a lot at risk, including their very selves….