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Welcome our visitors from Nicaragua!

The Thurston-Santo Tomás Sister County Association is pleased to announce the upcoming visit of Marily Aguilar, Yessenia Solís, Elvis Aguilar, and Cruz Murillo as the 12th community delegation since 1990, in the spirit of hermanamiento. Our sister relationship dates back to the late 80s when members of the Olympia Construction Brigade and other outraged citizens protested the horrific US-imposed Contra War and Trade Embargo, and engaged in solidarity work in collaboration with the Sandinistas. Olympians came together to build a long term relationship with Santo Tomás by supporting and learning from the social projects of that community in Nicaragua. Numerous delegation exchanges have taken place between the communities, giving youth, organizers and professionals the opportunity to interact and learn alongside international counterparts doing similar work. These delegations also give Nicaraguans a platform to speak in a country that has a very long history of economic and military interventions in Central America, and gives people in Olympia the chance to stand in solidarity against those policies and criminal actions. We see the connections across the planet, of sovereign peoples reclaiming their land and resources, reclaiming their cultural heritage and pride, and reclaiming their destinies. We in the global North, look for and create strategies to do the same.

Now that our guests have finally received their travel visas, we are in the process of setting up each visitor’s itinerary, activities and homestays. Please email if you would like to get involved or have ideas or questions. We will need additional strong Spanish/English language interpreters, as well as support with transportation and events.

Check for highlights of the delegation’s time in the Olympia area from April 17th to May 11th, 2018:

Please plan to attend a family friendly, public potluck and dance event with the delegation at the Woman’s Club at 1002 Washington St SE Olympia on Friday, May 4th at 6pm.

Invited Nicaraguan Delegates:

Marily Aguilar Oporta: a recent university graduate with a degree in Pedagogía (Teaching), whose scholarship was funded by the TSTSCA.   She currently works in early childhood education at the local Centro de Desarrollo Infantíl, a state supported free childcare center for low income families. She looks forward to this educational and cultural exchange with colleagues in her field.

Yessenia Solis Miranda is the principal of Rubén Darío school that is sistered with Lincoln Options Elementary here in Olympia. The relationship between her and Lincoln Principal Marcela Abadi began 20 years ago, and from this friendship came the educational and cultural Sister School relationship which grows with each delegation. We’re thrilled to honor the 20 year anniversary of the Sister Schools relationship! Yessenia is also the main Spanish language and literature teacher for the Evergreen college students who study and work in Santo Tomás every other spring quarter. She’d love to see her past students!

Elvis Javier Aguilar is another university scholarship recipient, supported by the TSTSCA. He graduated and is now employed as an agro-industrial engineer who works for a food products company as their main quality control engineer. Elvis would like to meet people connected to value added, commercial farm product facilities. His family has hosted several Evergreen students in Santo Tomás over the last two decades and we can now reciprocate their hospitality.

Cruz Murillo Sandoval is a member of the Comité para Desarrollo Comunal (CDC) de Santo Tomás, our sister organization. He will provide updates on the critical community projects under the non-profit umbrella of the CDC.  Cruz will also bring a personal and historical framework of Nicaragua’s reality to Olympia. Cruz looks forward to speaking in high school and college classes. He would also like to meet people engaged in radical community organizing, to continue building international solidarity.

These four visitors follow in the footsteps of 35 other people from Santo Tomás who have been to Olympia in the last 28 years! All are committed to strengthening their community in Nicaragua and the sister ties with the greater Olympia area. Our visitors will participate in the nationwide student walk out, Procession of the Species, Comunidad a Comunidad in Bellingham, El Centro de la Raza and Casa Latina in Seattle, the Immigration Rights March in Shelton, and all kinds of other visits in schools and organizations in Olympia. Email tstsca@gmail to get involved.

Diego Lopez is an Evergreen intern with TSTSCA.


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