dear friends, at a festive new year's celebration meeting last night, several matters came to our collective attention. a question was raised about the $24,000 received by students for 60,000 from the iovino foundation. the money was reimbursement for the nuevo amanecer water project, and the question was whether the funds could be spent for any purpose in nicaragua or whether the $24,000 should go for water only. clarification will be sought. enhancement of the nuevo system will cost about $5,000, and several other projects have been mentioned, such as solar power discussed below. graduates of the students group met and recommended using the money in nicaragua to fund projects according to the wishes of the communities. the student trip will be feb. 13-21. in order to spend money wisely, the group wants to find out priorities of the people of nuevo. contact will be made soon, and answers hopefully will come before we leave via conchita and others. a community meeting to set up priorities will be held during the trip. one issue is whether the community center in nuevo should get solar power. bob skypala is working with a contractor in managua, suni solar. if approval is given, work can begin soon at a cost estimated at $1,800. the group authorized money for this project. george pardo mentioned a solar kit selling for about $80 that would provide a light or two for each house. solar flashlights selling for $12 each also could be an option for homes. carol werblin presented a bill for $896 for 25 pairs of boots and socks for the homeless men served by hihi. she noted a suspicion that some of the donated personal items are being sold for cash, and plans a stricter accounting system so that one person, for example, does not receive several coats. carol also said one roll of film has been shot for the photo project friends also is funding. disposable cameras are being given to the homeless men to document their lives. carol said the first photos are very impressive. an exhibit is planned for march. our lady of the miraculous medal in wyandanch lost donated items in a fire. we will find out what we can do to help. a letter-writing campaign on behalf of day laborers may be undertaken.