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Discussion of Nicaraguan Folktales – April 19

Three  Nicaraguan folktales appealing to children and adults will be the subject of the next Hartford/Ocotal Sister City Project and Hartford Public Library informal book discussion. The program will take place in second floor study room 8 of the library, 500 Main St., on Wednesday, April 19, from 12:30 to 1:30 P.M. All are invited to this free program, part of the library’s Bridging Cultures Series. Participants are welcome to bring their lunches.

Bilingual (Spanish and English) books present two of the legends based on the oral traditions of Miskito culture on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Through vivid pictures and stories, the two books encourage careful hunting and use of natural resources.

The Invisible Hunters/Los Cazadores Invisibles: A Legend from the Miskito Indians of Nicaragua/Una Leyenda de los Indios Miskitos de Nicaragua (Children’s Book Press, 1987) shows the early clash of the traditional culture with the greed of outsiders. The English text is by Harriet Rohmer, Octavio Chow, and Morris Vidaure, and the Spanish, by Rosalma Zubizarreta and Alma Flor Ada.

Trisba & Sula: A Miskitu Folktale from Nicaragua/Una leyenda de los Miskitos de Nicaragua (Tiffin, 2005) depicts a hunter’s growing awareness through the help of a young woman of the threats of overhunting. The old Miskito folktale is adapted by Maine pediatrician Joan MacCracken, who has visited Nicaragua often, and the tale is translated into Spanish by Isabel Mac Donald, Adan Silva Mercado, and Maria Fuentes. Nicaraguan artist Augusto Silva provides colorful, bold illustrations.

A third book, The Butterfly Workshop (Europa Editions, 2006), a creation of Gioconda Belli  and Wolf Erlbruch, is a fanciful account of the creation of the butterfly and a paean to the creation of beauty itself and to the value of persistence. Belli is admired by many Hartford-area residents who have discussed her poetry and novels in previous Hartford/Ocotal Sister City Project and Hartford Public Library programs. Wolf Erlbruch’s exotic and imaginative illustrations add delight to the book, which is translated into English by Charles Castaldi. Some readers may want to secure the Spanish version called El taller de las mariposas.

You may be able to get these books from local libraries and online sources, and we have a few copies available for loan. If you would like help getting the books, please contact us: kganderson@snet.net and 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 25 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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