For the past three years I have been a part of a team that heads to Central America on a mission trip to Chinandega, Nicaragua, partnering with the organization Amigos for Christ. Our team is twofold, medical and non-medical. The medical team is filled with talented, compassionate doctors, anesthesiologists, CRNAs, nurses, scrub techs and medical supply reps all working in concert to perform life-changing operations. The other half of the team, equally as passionate and talented in other vocations, works in the community serving in various capacities. I serve on the community team. In past years I have dug ditches for water lines and delivered chickens as part of their Pay It Forward program.
This year we worked in the community of La Chuscada. Most communities in these rural areas don’t have clean drinking water. Instead of going to school or playing, the children spend the bulk of their time hauling water. The first priority for this community was to receive clean drinking water and in 2013 Amigos for Christ was instrumental in making that happen.
Next they focused on building a school in their community so the children wouldn’t have to travel so far to get an education. The school was built by Amigos for Christ, the La Chuscada community and teams of missionaries. During my visit, our community team worked to put the finishing touches on the school by cleaning and painting.
Over the years, no matter what community I've work in, there are always children… beautiful children of all ages, who want to play and interact with you. “Hablo muy poco español.” This challenge is quickly overcome with interaction. I discovered a simple craft that is "field portable" and easy to teach with visual cues and no words. Creating tissue paper flowers! While playing together the language barrier disappears. Both girls and boys love choosing the various colored tissues and making each one uniquely their own. The children quickly become proficient and creative, cutting and detailing different designs. It was so much fun to watch them experiment. The thing that surprised me the most? The children simply wanted to give YOU their newly created treasures.
As the week came to a close, the leader of the community, Sebastian, shared his excitement and thanked us for all of our efforts. He welcomed each of us back and told us we would forever be a part of their history. I was blessed to witness and experience the joy of these children. The trajectory of their community has been changed, offering them the opportunity of an education. It was a privilege to contribute to the preparation of the inauguration of the school, which opened on February 9, 2015.
A video summary of my trip: