Welcome to CCA’s international development blog page … the sights and sounds, the people and places as experienced by credit union and co-operative volunteers on the frontline of development.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Nicaragua Study Mission - Day 7

As I’m writing this blog the setting sun is casting a warm glow on the open-air restaurant where my teammates have gathered for the past two days for good food and conversation. We are a cross-section of Canadians from coast to coast united by our commitment to promote, unite and develop co-operatives in Canada and abroad.
Today was a day of well-deserved rest for our team and, I should add, the beginning of International Development Week. So it is fitting that we are here in Nicaragua doing our small part to build a better world. The goal of our mission is to turn our experiences into stories to tell Canadians upon our return. In doing so, we hope to inform and inspire others to support the work of the Canadian Cooperative Association to build sustainable co-ops and communities around the globe.

We have left children, grandchildren, including Betty and Dirk Willemsen’s one-week-old grandchild, husbands, wives and pets – even a fish – to participate in this mission as CCA observers and messengers. Our team is comprised of a freelance writer from Toronto, two dairy farmers from Ontario, an organic apple grower from BC, a Saskatchewan grain producer, leaders of GayLea, the Calgary Co-op, United Farmers of Alberta, Assiniboine Credit Union, Manitoba Co-operative Association, Metis National Council and Red River Co-op.

I am humbled and honoured to be part of this group of civic-minded Canadians who personify the guiding principles of the co-operative movement.

A number of us have participated in previous missions to various corners of the globe including Ghana, the Philippines and Indonesia, with CCA and other humanitarian organizations. Among them is Karen Timoshuk, CCA’s development education coordinator for the Prairies, who has led similar missions to Asia and Costa Rica. I asked this mother of two earlier in the week what motivates her, given the sacrifices one makes to go on these missions. “The importance of the message,” she replies thoughtfully. “The world is too small and its children too precious to think and act only within our borders.”

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