Upcoming Events

Discussion of The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey – April 18

Please come to a discussion of The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey by Salman Rushdie at the Hartford/Ocotal Sister City Project and Hartford Public Library reading group at the library, 500 Main St., Room 141, on Wed., April 18, from 12:30 to1:30 P.M. Bring your lunch if you wish. Very light refreshments will be available. The program is part of the library’s Bridging Cultures Series and is free.

The book is based on Rushdie’s short trip to Nicaragua in 1986. He says that although he did not go to write, he felt compelled to do so when he returned. He writes that the book “is a portrait of a moment, no more, in the life of that beautiful, volcanic country.” Accounts of his visits with campesinos, musicians, Sandinista leaders, church leaders, writers, and others in both the Atlantic and Pacific Coast regions engage readers and cast light on the massive changes in Nicaraguan society at that time.

The 1981 winner of the Booker Prize for his novel Midnight’s Children, Rushdie has written many other works of fiction and non-fiction.

The Jaguar Smile is available at local libraries and book stores and at online book sellers. Please contact us if you would like to borrow a book or need further information.      kganderson@snet.net or sanderson03@snet.net


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The Hartford/Ocotal Sister City Project is a story of two cities reaching out to each other, one in Nicaragua, Central America, the other Connecticut in the United States.  It begins in 1986 when the Hartford Ocotal Sister City Project(HOSCP) was established with the help of the Capitol Region Conference of Churches and moves forward again in 1995 when the Project began providing seed money for a micro-lending program called FUNAFAM, which is based on the Grameen Bank model. Financial support from this program has helped hundreds of Ocotal women start small businesses of their own.

Over a period of 29 years HOSCP has used contributions to help fund the following programs, evolving from direct material aid to self-help initiatives:

  • Material aid shipments in conjunction with the New Haven-Leon SCP
  • Educational events
  • Helping to fund the purchase of an ambulance
  • Helping to fund the clean water project
  • Hurricane Mitch relief
  • FUNAFAM, a microcredit program based on the Grameen Bank model. Loaning small amounts of money to individuals starting small businesses
  • Health education programs in outlying areas surrounding Ocotal

Many of the founders of the HOSCP are still active in the work. The sister-city commitment does not go out of fashion, nor does it cease to inspire those involved.

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