Dear friends, since the last time I posted on June 5th, things have continued to change in our country. The philosopher Heraclitus' observations on constant change, ‘Cold things grow hot, the hot cools, the wet dries, the parched moistens’, apply to Nicaragua and Nicaraguans today more than ever in a very dramatic way.
In a mere 7 days we have gone from 127 deaths to 146 and every single drop of blood makes us hurt, that's right 146 deaths in 6 weeks of protests. That number when compared to the relative population of the US, is the equivalent of over 6,000 deaths in 6 weeks. Deaths are the ultimate loss Nicaraguan families are experiencing, but we are also faced with dozens of missing people, thousands injured, business looting, fires, anxiety and high levels of stress for everyone.
What Nicaraguans are experiencing now is deeply painful and though we don't yet see the light, we are hopeful that this struggle will end quickly and we will then begin another long term struggle---the one to rebuild our nation. For the time being, it is absolutely necessary that each Nicaraguan, by birth or adoption, does everything in their hands to help, and as mother Theresa well said, "Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home".
The Garden Cafe, as most businesses in Granada, has decided to temporarily close its doors until we see signs of change. We don't see it fit to operate under the current violent circumstances. Not fit for us, for our team, for our customers nor for our country. The decision to close comes with other questions: how long and what do we do about our team while we are closed?
As decision makers of The Garden Cafe we have the obligation to be smart about business and being smart about business to us means being fair to our team. Under that philosophy we have decided to send people home for now, to pay severances to all 35 team members and to continue to support our staff and their families in whatever additional way is needed. Though there is a legal recourse that allows businesses to temporarily suspend employees without payment, we decided to strike that as an option as it would leave our team in the air for the time being. Severances today mean that those 35 families will be able to better survive through this crises. It means that they are able to purchase and store food and medicine to face a possible scarcity problem that could potentially affect different cities in the next few days or weeks.
This is a clear and one of the biggest ways in which The Garden Cafe (and every business) can and should contribute during this crises-----with the ones at home. When the time comes to open again, we will be happy to re-hire our team and work together to build up our business again.
To our old time friends, customers and future visitors: remember that this crises affects Nicaraguans but it does not define us. What defines us is how we commit to the dreams we have for our nation, how we support each other during the crises and how we rise from the ashes.
Please try to stay informed about Nicaragua, share the news with your network, donate when possible. Please send positive thoughts and keep our nation in your prayers. The sun will rise again!