Journey to Nicaragua

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Day 1

To begin this adventure, the Second Chance Ministry missionaries landed in a small airport in Managua, Nicaragua.  Immediately, the group knew that the language spoken and the way they would interact with the people would challenge them and even help to further their understanding about Nicaragua.  They knew that their sole purpose was going to be to help expand the current school built in Chariza by their ministry over several years and visit many of the families and students that they’ve grown to love over time.  After a two hour drive to the city of Esteli, the group was able to explore the city and settle into their hotel.  Esteli would be the group’s base camp for the week.   In the city, they watched as young kids sold a variety of items on the streets and observed senior adults sitting on the side of the the road watching the cars and people go by.  The mission group was able to meet with their interpreter, Lester.  Within about ten minutes of meeting him, the group already seemed more comfortable.  After touring more of the city, attending a soccer game, and eating some of the local cuisine, the missionaries was ready to rest and prepare to see more of Estili the next day.

 

Day 2

Estili is a city in Nicaragua with a population of about 100,000 citizens.  Many of the buildings were worn down and the roof’s were made of metal.  The streets were filled with vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables from their carts.  There was a huge push by the locals there to sell items to anyone that walked by.  Items such as leather products, sunglasses, and other things were sold.  Luckily, Lester was there to help the group navigate through the streets.  It was an overwhelming experience seeing the amount of people asking for help.  The missionaries grew excited knowing that they would be able to do some good while they were there.  Later in the day, the group met up with Pastor Reuben and his wife Pastora for dinner.  They have been a part of Second Chance Ministries since it began many years ago in Nicaragua.  They were able to discuss some of the financial business related to the school with several of the leaders.  They were so much fun but Pastora talked so fast many of the people in the group had a hard time understanding what she was saying.   As the group left for the evening, Pastora gave big hugs.     She was a great example of how people in Nicaragua can be very considerate and kind.

 Day 3

Today the group headed straight for Chariza for a long day of work.  They would be working directly at the school/church.  As the missionaries arrived, they were met by the pastor of the church, Pastor Freddie.  He showed up with a hammer, nails, several half rotten boards, and some rusty metal.  Several members of the group began building a fence around the garden.  Pastor Freddie used barbed wire to twist some of the boards together.  He made the day fun with his joking despite the language barrier.  There was constant laughter during the two hour fence job.  Afterwards, the group set out to see the city for a bit.  Chariza is a small and very poor community.  The water is not drinkable and many of the homes do not have any running water or even electricity.  There were houses made with combinations of trash bags, small pieces of wood, cardboard box parts and others were made of rusty scrap metal.  However, the people they met were happy even though they had little.  Seeing this made the missionaries want to work even harder that day. They began moving a huge piles of rocks out into the road in front of the school.  The rain caused the roads in front of the school to flood which was a problem because all of the students arrive on foot.  The group moved about half of the pile of rocks onto the road while the team leader went into the school and visited with the teachers.  That evening the group met with some of leaders friends in Esteli.  The missionaries talked for hours before returning home.

Day 4

Work began first thing the next day.  While digging and shoveling more rocks, the mission leader announced that a student at the school had accidently swallowed a coin and was in the hospital and not doing well.  Everyone gathered around and shared prayers for him and his mother who had just recovered from cancer.  An hour later the group came across a little girl who had been terribly burned on her leg by boiling water.  Again, the group prayed for her and the rest of her family.   Even in her circumstances she seemed so thankful to have visitors come and care about her.   The day had taken an unexpected turn, but they knew that they were still making a difference.

Day 5

Once again, everyone traveled to Chariza excited for a new day.   Tile flooring was being installed in the school that day.  The group also installed a new night time security light on the buildings and a new TV into one of the classrooms.  The TV was important because the teacher had a new class that they wanted to teach using video.  While installing the TV, two of the members of the group were invited to come help teach an English class.  The kids sang them a song in English.  The kids were very kind and loved the visiting American group.  That evening, the group visited with several of the families that they had known for many years.  Some of them were teens when the leaders first met them but now they were older, married and had children of their own.  They shared all that the ministry had done for them when they were teens to help with their lives.

 Day 6

When the rock pile was finally shoveled, the group felt accomplished.  They been shoveling that rock pile for days.  The missionaries were able to take a small break from the work and was invited to play soccer with a few of the students that were not in school at the time.   Later on, the group led an assembly for the students at the school.  The students gathered just to thank the missionaries for their work. The students sang songs in Spanish and sang one in English.   A little girl got up and did a speech that was a thank you and a promise that they would not take the opportunity they had to come to this school for granted.   As the kids were leaving, the group passed out  goodie bags containing dental care items and some school supplies.  All of the kids were so thankful and expressed their gratitude with hugs.   It was amazing how much a small gift like that mattered so much to them.

Day 7

The group had several plans for exploring Nicaragua on the last day.  They traveled out to lake Nicaragua near Granada for a boat tour.  They visited several islands and fed monkeys. After shopping and dining, the group hiked up to the top of an active volcano!   The volcano was named “Masaya” after the town it was near.

As this adventure to Nicaragua came to a close, the missionaries were very happy to have provided a few necessities to make the school a better place for the students.  It taught them to be joyful for the things they take for granted.  It will always be a trip that each of them will hold close to their hearts.

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Journey to Nicaragua