This week marked one year since I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip down to Nicaragua. I had never done a trip quite like that before and I didn’t know anyone I was going with. I didn’t really know what to expect out of the trip but I knew I wanted to go so I could learn and grow in new ways. And that’s exactly what happened!
I found the trip through my church. They had a few different trips that were available but for some reason I felt nudged towards Nica. Our group happened to be all women with the exception of our group leader who had gone there a couple times in the past. We met a few times before we left to try and gain an understanding of what would be expected while we were down there but were reminded to stay flexible because often times things can change on a dime.
We stayed at an orphanage outside of Managua, Nicaragua called Casa Bernabe. Many of the children there still had families and parents but they sent them to Casa Bernabe for a chance at a better life. Here they get a real education, regular meals every day, and safe places to sleep every night. The relationships they build with their friends and teachers there are so tight that they become each others families.
A large amount of time that we spent with the kids was teaching English. This is a very important part of their education because learning English would create so many opportunities for them as they got older and started looking for jobs or getting into college. Their teachers were fluent in English but they were excited to have people there who had English as a first language.
We also traveled around to places that had children that were not as fortunate. One afternoon we went to a feeding center out in a rougher area. Here, there are two women that make a balanced meal Monday through Friday for over 200 kids in that area. That day we helped out in the kitchen and helped by serving the kids their lunch. We were told that these kids look forward to these meals every day because, for some of them, this might be the only one they get that day. All of the kids come in with their own little dirty dishes and hope they get theirs filled up before the food runs out.
When you get to a country that doesn’t have the cushy lifestyle that we are used to in the United States it really changes your perspective on everything. You start to think about the way we live in the United States with surplus on everything. Oversized homes, more food in a sitting than we know what to do with, so much stuff in our houses that we actually have to rent a space for storage to keep it all.
I am so glad that I had the opportunity to step back and really look at the things that matter and that are important in life. Even though these kids appeared to be missing so much and to lack all of the luxuries and things that our kids have here in the US, they were SO happy and content. Proof that things and stuff aren’t actually what give us lasting joy and contentment.
^ Volcano off in the distance pouring out hot steam!
^ There was actually only a couple inches of rain! Their systems just can’t handle all of the water coming at once.