PLU

BONUS FEATURE: ‘Showtime!’

EDITOR’S NOTE: RESOLUTE staffers Barbara Clements and John Froschauer pored over more than 400 video clips from the PLU team’s Study Away experience in Nicaragua to create the spectacular main video on the RESOLUTE site. But there were SO many more stories to tell. In this one, PLU Assistant Professor Mark Mulder prepares the team on its first day in the village with a pep talk he used in a previous job as a reserve police officer.

Here’s the back story, from Mulder himself:

For five years, I was a commissioned police officer. I approached the position with a true heart of service (particularly since reserve officers choose to serve without pay), and one day when in a special DV (domestic violence) training session, a leader spoke about making sure you were in the right mindset when walking into a situation and suggested “showtime” as a way to mentally prepare.

I ultimately struggled a little with that approach, because no matter how I framed it, it still felt rooted in an “act.” So I focused more on the phrase. Given that I was there to serve and show love to others, I realized that it could work for me if I split the words apart. The show was the heart of service and caring that I could display, and the time was now. I shortened it in my mind to “show (my heart) time.” As a reserve police officer, I found this to be helpful framing as I entered situations that could be very much unknown as to what was happening or what skills I would need to utilize onsite.

The settings may be very different, but the root is similar for our students in El Limonal. There are times when you exit into the unknown and you don’t know what to expect. In many cases you may feel somewhat uncomfortable. The path to serving others is to be well-prepared, and to work through any unknowns and discomfort and just do it.

Our students didn’t know what to expect when the exited the van for their first day of service in the community. But, they were well-prepared, and more importantly, their hearts were ready to serve. Thus, it became “show (my heart) time.” And, were they ever ready… the students were incredible in carrying out their service and care for others once they exited the van for the first time.

PLU Contributes to the Sweet Success of a Nicaraguan Honey Co-Op


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Members of the honey cooperative near Leon, Nicaragua.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our June 2014 edition of RESOLUTE features a beautiful story on a PLU team’s Study Away trip to  Nicaragua to install a well in a remote village. That, though, is just one of the stories, and experiences, from the team’s journey. We’ll call this one a side trip.

By Barbara Clements
RESOLUTE Managing Editor

LEON, NICARAGUA—No bee in its right mind would be out today.

Pacific Lutheran University’s Nicaraguan team has spent the last hour travelling on a dirt road north of Leon to a honey cooperative. It’s the dry season. The land seems dipped in a sepia wash.

Wind gusts of up to 50 mph have closed down our world to about 10 feet in all directions, if that, outside the now-dun-colored van. The dust seeps through the cracks in the window, but the van lacks air-conditioning. So the choice is between choking and keeping relatively cool in the 90-degree heat.

Once the van lurches into the cooperative compound, which includes a school and community center, we learn that, in fact, no bees are out gathering honey in nearby fields. The cooperative leaders moved the hives out of the wind and grit.

The group sits in old-style ’50s classroom seats in a room decorated with childish coloring paper—“B” for burro, L for loro (parrot), etc. The leaders of the co-op explain that originally they were just gathering wild honey from colonies in the fields before starting their cooperative four years ago. In the last four months, the cooperative has produced 2,145 kilograms of honey—light amber with a malty taste. It takes its hives from field to field to pollinate groups in this largely agrarian society.

The cooperative created its business model through a loan from La Base, and eventually from the Nicaraguan government, which encourages these worker-owned cooperatives.

When La Base first met the beekeepers of Chacra Seca three years ago, they had been collecting honey from wild hives for more than 14 years. With support from the mayor’s office of Leon, they decided to form a cooperative and came to La Base for a loan. They used the $3,000 to purchase five active hives, build 25 bee boxes to house wild honeybees and obtain safety and technical equipment. They began to collectively manage this set of hives, and for the first time take control of the process of production. In doing so, their aim was to provide a more secure source of income for themselves and their families.

The president of the cooperative, Saturnino Vivas, explained through an interpreter that, “We started from zero” and now have about 200 hives. The cooperative has paid back its first loan from La Base and now is working to pay back a $34,500 loan, which is 85 percent financed by the government and 15 percent from La Base. Pacific Lutheran University has—in a microfinance loan of $1,000—contributed toward this effort. From the original 10 farmers, the cooperative has grown to 19 owners, said Vivas.

Needless to say, success has been sweet.

Setting the Scene for a New RESOLUTE

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Hello, and welcome to RESOLUTE‘s brand-new blog! We’ve created Behind the RESOLUTE Desk to give you a … well … behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creation (and the creators!) of PLU’s flagship magazine.

It is not always pretty.

But this photo is!

(It’s also a little personal: That’s my goofy puppy on the bottom and a treasured birthday card featuring my hero, Mr. Rogers, up top — it has four buttons you can push for recorded affirmations from the supremely comforting cardigan man.)

Our debut edition of RESOLUTE comes out in June, and we’re already really excited about it. Step One was creating a story budget, which lists everything we want to include in the magazine. (Well, maybe that’s not quite true: It includes everything we want to include that will fit. The rest–and it’s a LOT–you’ll find online.)

Next we penciled in our “page map,” which shows the designers which stories go where. (Also maybe not 100% true: We used a pen — but we probably should try a pencil, since Lute news, as Lute news tends to do, pops up all the time.)

As early as January, we were working on assigning and writing the stories and features and, in the case of the cover story, arranging a slew of travel vaccinations for our managing editor, Barbara Clements.

We’ll absolutely update you as we go — and as we create great new features designed to make RESOLUTE more interactive, conversational and more yours.

Thanks very much for reading!

–Sandy Deneau Dunham, RESOLUTE editor