As some of you know by now, a human rights, political and economic crises broke out in Nicaragua on April 18th. As a result over 100 people have been killed and more continue to suffer both physical and psychological violence, repression and threats. At the moment we cannot see the end of this crises. Our energy as Nicaraguans is focused on finding solutions, on helping those who have suffered the most and continue to, on speaking out and honoring this calling we have as Nicaraguans at the moment.
Though everyone is clearly concerned about livelihood, business and investment; economic activities have become a secondary concern to most Nicaraguans. Our immediate concern is to bring solutions to this crises, to protect ourselves, to help our brothers and sisters. The Garden Cafe and businesses of all sizes across the country have suffered severe consequences and will continue to suffer more throughout the crises. We will have hard work thereafter also, when we have to continue healing families who have lost loved ones, when we have to build up our economy and our nation again.
These are sad and uncertain times for all Nicaraguans. But what I can certainly share is that the Nicaraguan crises has brought out the very best in most of our society. Neighbors, business owners, coworkers, staff, classmates, families have come together to support each other in ways that no one could have ever predicted. And that is a beautiful thing to see and worth pointing out in the midst of so much pain.
Some of our collaborators are some of the closest people to us and they have expressed their support to The Garden Cafe family in beautiful ways. All of our staff is connected online and we continuously support each other on there until late hours of the night, a handful of staff members stay with us overnight guarding our building every night; sacrificing sleep and sacrificing being with their own families. Others bring fruit from their properties to make juice to sell at The Garden Cafe, others bring flowers to decorate tables and bring energy to this place. Everyone is being supportive with their words and actions and we are extremely grateful.
In the last month The Garden Cafe sales have dropped by over 50% in comparison to the same month in 2017, which immediately translates to job losses. For the last 2 months we have being able and have chosen to subsidize salaries and not let people go as much as possible, but as the crises intensifies, we have no other option than to start letting collaborators go. By the end of this week we will have let go 14 staff members out of 35 and we might have to let go more of them. The ones who continue working will only work half time, it is the only way we can keep them here as business is almost non-existent. Our collaborators, as most of you well know, are most precious to us. Some of them have been with us since day 0, it is painful to say goodbye and it is tragic to know that they will not find other jobs for the next few tough months.
The Garden Cafe plans to stay open for as long as we can. Mainly to keep the space open for our closest friends, to have the space open for convening and having meaningful conversation, to gather and support each other and to keep at least a few families employed. But for now our higher calling is to be citizens above all.
Please send your positive thoughts and prayers for our nation. The sun will rise again.