Leadership comes naturally to Veronica. She works as the secretary for an organization that supports survivors of domestic violence. She educated us on the problems of violence against women, especially in rural areas of Nicaragua where the support system for survivors is less developed. To combat this problem, she does outreach work in rural areas to show these women that they are not alone.
Veronica also looks at problems in her community in a holistic manner. She believes in the power of art and creativity as a healthy outlet and expression for youth. As such, over the years she has given many low-cost art and music classes to local youth–a healthy alternative to gangs and drugs. In addition, art and music classes for youth help to preserve and promote the rich culture of Bluefields. Veronica, whose ancestry includes African, Misquito, and Mestizo descendants, is a natural regional ambassador for this rich, diverse and unique area. With the proceeds from the book, she plans to purchase the supplies she needs to continue giving these classes at a cost affordable to local youth.
We were also lucky enough to tour Veronica’s home and see some of the arts and crafts she’s produced over the years. One of my favorite pieces is the bench pictured above. Veronica used fabric scraps to create the bright, multicolored cushion. In addition to work in fabric, Veronica also paints murals and banners.
Given her ample artistic creativity, I can’t wait to taste her recipes. She’ll be contributing two recipes to our book: the Nicaraguan staple of gallo pinto, and plátanos en gloria. I didn’t have the chance to sample this exact dish while in Nicaragua, but I ate enough to learn that anything in Nicaragua involving fried plantains is a wonderful idea. I can’t wait to test out the recipe here in Chicago and experience Veronica’s generosity and creativity once again.