The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 27, 1987 - Page 3
AMISTAD continues to
build .in Nicaragua
Photo courtesy AMISTAD
By VICKI BAUER
Three of the 15 AMISTAD
members who went to Managua,
Nicaragua recently returned with
differing attitudes about the success
of their construction project.
Though all members of AMI-
STAD, Ann Arbor-Managua Initia-
tive for Soil Testing and Devel-
opment, believe the construction of
a 5400-foot laboratory and school is
valuable, they have opposing views
on how best to complete project
and when it will be finished.
The complex will be used for
testing soil and water, as well as
training Nicaraguan farmers, tech-
nicians, and agricultural students.
Through helping Nicaraguans esta-
blish an independent agricultural
system, members hope to support
the Sandinista government.
ACCORDING to Scott Chap-
lin, a University alumnus and
group member, the project should
be completed by August. He spoke
to members in Nicaragua by
telephone Wednesday and reported
that "the morale of the workers is
real high because it finally looks
like a building." He said the
foundation of the complex, which
is nearly completed, requires the
most time to construct and the rest
will flow smoother and faster.
However, member Elaine Craw-
ford, a professional electrician from
Detroit, said the project could take
up to two more years to complete.
"It was naive of college students
e ages oft18 and 24?
to believe they could build a struc-
ture like this. It takes a lot of skil-
led people. I think it is a worth-
while project and needed, but it has
to have more input from Nic-
araguans," she said.
Both members agree the
project's main flaws are a lack of
experienced workers, money, and
modern machinery, and an incom-
petent bureaucracy that slows down
"We were consulted by
construction workers and brought
the best tools we could get. If we
had more money we would have
brought more. What we have is
sufficient," Chaplin said.
AMISTAD members and
Nicaraguan volunteers have few
store-bought tools, and mainly use
hand-made tools to clear land, dig
holes for the foundation, and cut the
metal reinforcement rods.
Chaplin returned from Nicaragua
February 16, after five weeks of
work on the project. He plans to
return this summer with at least 15
new recruits to finish the building.
Crawford spent three and a half
weeks in Managua.
The construction project costs
$30,000, which members earned by
fundraising, and each AMISTAD
member pays their own living
expenses - about $35 a month, to
live with a family.
Chaplin described the situation
in Nicaragua's capital. "The typical
middle class neighborhood is
equivalent to US low income
housing. We had water five days a
week and never hot water because of
energy conservation. There were
blackouts twice a week because the
town could never get the right
THOUGH the living cond-
itions are desperate, Chaplin senses
a high spirits among the
"There is a feeling of great
sorrow and great joy at the same
time. There are funeral processions
going down the street, but there is
also a lot of hope," Chaplin said.
Partially because of a U.S.
boycott, Nicaragua's economic
growth has been slow. "Two years
ago you could get 40 cordobas to
the dollar. Within the last year, it
rose to 2,300 cordobas to the
dollar," he said. "On the black
market now, you can get 3,500
cordobas to the dollar."
Because the contra rebels are
confined to a very small region of
Nicaragua, the AMISTAD members
did not feel their safety threatened.
"I felt safer walking down the
streets of Managua at night than the
streets of Ann Arbor," Chaplin
Chaplin and other AMIS TAD
members are presenting a slide
show at 12 o'clock today at Guild
Crawford summed up their
mission, "Because the people have
so little, anything you do makes'a
difference. It's not doing charity.
(AMISTAD) builds and teaches.
A2MISTAD members Oscar Grifen, Scott Chaplin, and Billy Gladstone construct a soil-testing and educational
complex earlier this year in Managua, Nicaragua.
(Continued from Page 1)
tally disabled citizens.
If the crowd size - 1,28(
Which packed the theater was
indication, the sorority met
One of the themes of the pag
was TV characters which the c
testants dressed as during the sli
portion of the show. The cor
tants imitated characters rang
from Hulk Hogan, portrayed
Sigma Nu's Tom Gallop,
Gilligan of Gilligan's Island,1
grayed by four different contestar
After the shorts competition,
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talent portion. Eventual wil
Dennis sang two blues sor
ins Greek pageant
while second runner up Gallop sang sions.
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answered questions chosen at to get the Greek Week teams to
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genie gave him three wishes, Constance responded in kind.
Dennis responded that he wanted to "Where else can you go and take all
be tax exempt, bigger, and perform this abuse?" Constance said.
in a gig with all the singers he has The event was judged by an all
admired since he was a child. star cast of local celebirities.
First runner-up Chris Duhamel
of Phi Gamma Delta said he couldAbetween th
support a woman president if she Aw yoU
"had the right man backing her and
wore the right clothes."
Local singing group the Harm-
onettes performed during intermis-
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