13th welsh delegation to nicaraguaPosted: February 10, 2013
On February 12th eleven people will leave behind Wales’s cold weather and travel to Central America. The Wales Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign is sending its 13th delegation to the country it has been supporting for over a quarter of a century.
The itinerary includes a meeting with a Caribbean Coast MP and a visit to the Nicaraguan Parliament; meetings with co-operatives; a four day visit to Bluefields and Pearl Lagoon on the Caribbean Coast to discuss autonomy and bi-lingualism; a two day visit to food projects in a remote rural community with Accion Medica Cristiana, a Tearfund partner; and a visit to the Granada International Poetry Festival.
The delegation will also strengthen links between UNE, the public sector union in Nicaragua and UNISON, and will visit the Los Quinchos project, which works with children from Managua’s rubbish dump, to give a donation, the most recent in four years and over £24,000 of support.
“It’s nearly twenty years since the first delegation,” said one of the organisers, Ben Gregory, from Penygroes. “It’s tremendous that Wales can send so large a group, and it’s a sign of the interest of younger people in wanting to share the experience of a country like Nicaragua.”
Ben has visited the country every two years since the beginning of the 90s, and this time his family will be travelling with him. David McKnight, from Mold, the other organiser of the visit, is very familiar with the country by now, having recently spent a year there. It’s 19 years since Siân Howys, a social worker from Aberystwyth, and over a decade since Angharad Tomos, the author from Penygroes, visited the country. Angharad is looking forward to seeing the changes. “This is the first time for us to visit during a Sandinista government,” she said.
The rest of the crew will be visiting for the first time, and are all members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith. After a busy period organising the Census rallies and the meeting with Carwyn Jones, Colin Nosworthy, Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s Communications Officer, is looking forward to seeing the political situation in Nicaragua. Haf Elgar works with Friends of the Earth Cymru, and is interested in learning about the environment in the country. Sioned Haf is an experienced traveller, but hasn’t been to Central America before. She is a Research Student in Bangor University.
Having been busy working on Y Bont, the Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru production recently, Catrin Dafydd is looking forward to a break, and will be performing some of her poems in the Granada festival. Her trip is a bit different.
She will be joining two other delegation members, Osian Rhys and Menna Machreth, who will remain in Central America after the delegation finishes, to visit other countries in the region. Osian works as a translator, and lives in Cardiff, whilst Menna, who lives in Caernarfon, works for the Welsh Communities Federation and is a former Cymdeithas yr Iaith Chair.
The youngest member of the group is Hedydd Ioan, 9 years old from Penygroes. This will be his first experience of flying. It’s the first time that a child has come on the delegation. But he will be with his parents, Ben and Angharad, so the country is very much part of his history. When asked what he is looking forward to most his answer was “Seeing monkeys”.