Secretary’s Report for 2019

The Secretary returned from Mexico in February 2019 to find that the effort to build a new website for the Foundation had been abandoned. The hosting company has been revived and the existing website is sufficient for now. The Secretary updated the website.

The President of the Foundation began a scholarship program for elementary school students in Bilwi. Lupe Muñoz in Temple, Texas collected most of the funds that were donated to the project. The donations were deposited in the Foundation’s bank account and then sent to Adnel Efrian Padilla in Bilwi for distribution to the students. This project is described in detail in the blog portion of this website.

In March 18-24 the President of the Foundation traveled to the barrio of Pavas in San José, Costa Rica to meet with Miskitu refugees. An estimated 300-400 families of Miskitu refugees from Nicaragua had gathered there and they appealed to the Pro-Moskitia Foundation for help. The Foundation donated funds to pay to incorporate an association (Asociacion Indigena de la Miskitia Mulietnico Internacional en Costa Rica) and to pay travel expense of an organizer (Diana Maria Nicho Mihimaya) to help organize the association. The Foundation also provided a grant of $100.00 to help a Moravian pastor who was stranded in Costa Rica by immigration police.

In March the Foundation sent $2,000.00 to the Italian non-profit that is renovating a museum (Tininiska) in Bilwi. $1,000.00 was a pass-through grant from a US non-profit called Cultures of Resistance. $1,000.00 was from the operating funds of the Pro-Moskitia Foundation.

Also in March the Foundation provided $300.00 in emergency assistance to the San Pedro Apostol Catholic parish of Bilwi to help repair its car. Although most of the work of the Foundation in 2019 was directed to Miskitu refugees in Costa Rica and Panama, the Foundation is looking forward to the day when it is safe to resume work in Nicaragua. For this reason, the Foundation wants to maintain good relations with cultural groups in Bilwi.

In June and July 2019 the President of the Foundation traveled to Panama City, Panama twice to help form the Asociacion de miskitus nicaraguences en Panama City, Panama. This is an association of Miskitu refugees. The association originated in a Moravian Church in a barrio of immigrants called San Miguelito, outside of Panama City. Ten persons volunteered to help organize the fraternal association and four directors (two of them women) were elected to form the Board. The total cost of incorporation of the association is $1,100 of which the Pro-Moskitia Foundation pledged to provide about $750.

Rev. Peter met with the Moravian Church, preached there on several occasions and then met with anthropologists at the university in Panama City. The faculty of the History Department encouraged Melesio to do a study of miskitu immigration to Panama. He made contact with two Catholic priests, one of whom is in charge of indigenous ministry for the Archdiocese of Panama. He attended a meeting of the organization of Kuno indigenous people who are native to Panama. He and his delegation were well received by the Kuno leaders who are potential allies.

There are about 5,000 Nicaraguan refugees in Panama, 4,000 of who are Miskitus. They are mostly undocumented immigrants. The men work in construction and as night watchmen. The women do cleaning and cooking and are housewives. These people are not legally recognized as refugees and the incoming President of Panama has vowed to expel them.

The Miskitu association in San Jose, Costa Rica, has legal status granted by the government. The association In Costa Rica helps immigrants to obtain work permits by writing letters of recommendation for which the association charges about $3,000 colon (about $5 USD). The government charges $70,000 colon (about $120 USD) to issue a work permit. The $5 USD charge for the letter is a source of friction within the community and Melesio says the community is divided because of this reason.

In October 16-29, the Foundation’s President again traveled to Panama City, Panama to meet with the organizers of a Miskitu cultural organization. During his visit, he coordinated a presentation to a multicultural organization at the University of Panama about the history and current situation of the Miskitu diaspora in and near Panama City. Also in October the Foundation provided $300.00 to the Asociacion de miskitus nicaraguences en Panama to help them incorporate their association.

The President of the Foundation intends to return to Panama in January 2020 to attend a conference of on indigenous religions along with Miskitu representatives from Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

Summary of Treasurer’s Report for 2019 

Expenses from checking account

        Travel Expense (Costa Rica, Panama)        $1,162.66

        Relief Funds (Costa Rice, Nicaragua)          400.00

        Tininiska Italy                                                2,000.00

        Scholarship Project (Rais & Bins)                1,242.00

        Purchase of laptop                                        361.12

        Costa Rica association                                   200.00

        Panama association                                      750.00

        Bank fees                                                       64.99              6,180.77

Income to checking account

        Scholarship Project               1395.00

        Income from Raffle               1,076.00

        Unrestricted donations        300.00                                                2,771.00

Year-end balance                         4,488.41

Decrease from 2017 year-end balance 3,409.77 

Restricted Funds held in the checking account

         Scholarship                           153.00           

Savings account

Interest paid into account    0.59

Year-end balance      244.95

Raffle

        Ticket Sales                1,276.00

        Cost of the Prize        200.00

        Net income from raffle         1,076.00

In-kind donations

        Website hosting        120.00