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Mission of Hope

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Friday, February 23, 2007

By Bonnie Black

It is our third day on the ground, but it seems like we have been here a week. The days – and sometimes the evenings – are so packed with activities and projects that it seems it is a “normal” life of early bedtimes, early mornings, multiple tasks and meetings, dusty roads, glorious sun (sorry, but it is true!), much perspiration and the most beautiful smiles and greetings we could ask for. As we have been told – and those of us who have been on mission before know – we get back so much more than we can try to give.

First thing this morning, as arranged with the teachers, we had multiple people visiting the classrooms for about 10 minutes in each. For the students who were sponsored, we presented a paper on which they could draw a picture or write a brief note to their sponsors which we will hand carry back with us. For the students in the classrooms who are not sponsored, we provided a blank piece of paper on which they could draw or write something brief about themselves, their family or their life and aspirations. These we will share with people at the Clinton County Fair who visit our booth, at our Silent Auction at CCC, and at other locations where presentations are given. Those who took on this quick but vital project were: Kendra Kline, Rachel Luscombe, Katrina Bouchard, Alyssa Malone, Christina Gehrig, Flo Reynaud, Ilona Flores and Sarah LeFloch.

(l-r): Ilona Flores records the height and weight of a young patient as Jesse Crosier measures.Continuing with sponsorship photos was Sister Debbie’s “dream team” of Eliza Anderson, Gabriella Flores, Alison Gratto and Dorothee Racette. We now only have the last three secondary classes which will be done in the morning…we think! Photo Caption: (l-r) Ilona Flores (back) and Sarah LeFloch take Geral Rivas' height and weight while Katrina Bouchard records the information for the 6th grader.

Processing the last few classes of the students who participate in the Children Feeding Children program with noting the height & weight of each student were April Yeaney, Gen Hill, Carol Dumont, and Karen O’Brien. Doling out the nutritious meal to the students were Marisa Rose Wolosz and Louis Racette.

Our morning rice and beans team were Liz Hill, Jon Provost, Kendra Smith and Kevin Cosgro who brought the staples of the Nicaraguan diet to those who need it most.

Medical outreach was comprised of Amanda Roselli, Alexa Cosgro, Cathy Hill, Clark Knutson and Kristin Gagnier. Home personal health kits were also distributed along with the quilts, rosaries, and stuffed animals for the children in the household.

We went back to the Managua Dump Clinic to provide more medical care to the residents. Roger Patnode was joined by Oscar Flores, Jr., Jesse Crosier and Bill Calmbacher.

(l-r):  Nicky Lundy, Yamilette Flores (back) and Sister Debbie Blow are greeted by Archbishop Leopoldo Brenas on Thursday.  Facing the camera is Johana of Caritas.This morning Sister Debbie, Yamilette Flores, Nicky Lundy and I went to meet with the Archbishop of the Diocese of Managua, The Most Reverend Leopoldo Brenes. He is so gracious and has an assistant, Father Raoul, who speaks beautiful English. So, as Yami was translating for Sister, he was doing the same for the Archbishop. Johanna, our contact at Caritas, was also present. It is interesting to note the level of responsibility she has and the respect she garners from all, including the Archbishop. There is complete trust between them. Yami presented the archbishop with a complete list of what the mission provides in medical care in Nicaragua – and he was impressed. Much was accomplished in this meeting which will allow us to complete the Loyola Grant application once we return to obtain a light truck for our medical clinic use when we are in the country. It will have the diocese logo on the doors and our name along the bottom! We struck an agreement that if any of the people seen by either Dr. Zamora or by Dr. Lopez in our clinics need x-rays or general surgery, they can be treated at a nearby Catholic hospital. As we provide the medicines and equipment to Caritas and a few of the hospitals/clinics directly, we can now count of Caritas to provide a higher level of care when needed. Photo Caption: (l-r): Nicky Lundy, Yamilette Flores (back) and Sister Debbie Blow are greeted by Archbishop Leopoldo Brenas on Thursday. Facing the camera is Johana of Caritas.

It is interesting to note a coincidence which occurred in the waiting area before we were brought in to meet with the archbishop. One of the Servium sisters of Mexico who sat with us is the sister of one of the co-founders of the order. It is this congregation to which the sisters at Nejapa and the priest belong.

Sister also asked the archbishop to include her uncle, Ernest Hebert, in tonight’s mass; he responded he would and also include the family. Quite touching.

The home crew for the morning was comprised of Kevin McGowan, Jenn Washburn, Andrew Garami, Joy Cayea and Marty Mannix. We are now past the halfway mark in home construction for this trip and will be able to complete another this afternoon so we can shift our tasks tomorrow and Sunday leaving only the last two houses to build on Monday. This afternoon’s crew who achieved this milestone were Kendra Smith, Marty Mannix, Marisa Rose Wolosz and Eliza Anderson.

Amanda Roselli and Alexa Cosgro present handmade 
rosaries and quilts to a woman on the home health outreach visits.Holding down the tasks in the kitchen today were Matt Kennedy, Ariel Benoit, Diane Crosier and Marilyn Knutson. Keeping 54 people plus the local home building crews fed and content is a task which this team did quite well. Photo Caption: Amanda Roselli and Alexa Cosgro present handmade rosaries and quilts to a woman on the home health outreach visits.

Disability Center visitors today were Matt Jennings, Alison Gratto, Marissa Dillenberger, Jim Dumont and Sister Stephanie. This was our last day at this site with only an administrative meeting left sometime on Monday between Sister Debbie and Saundra.

The next place for Sister’s entourage to visit was Caritas itself where we spoke with Dr. Yamilette Zamora and learned of her background specialty of removing tattoos. We now have a step-by-step photo of her process which has been covered in the Managuan daily newspaper. Nicky asked what equipment she might be interested in obtaining/replacing so we will be delivering an autoclave and nebulizer before we leave.

Out at Nejapa were Evan LeFloch and Kevin Cosgro doing all things electrical. The painting team which had completed the outside of the building returned to complete the inside and the exterior walls of each classroom. This afternoon our paint crew was Carol Dumont, Jon Provost, Katrina Bouchard, Jim Dumont, Marilee Patnode and Kendra Kline, April Yeaney, Amanda Roselli, Lauren MacMillan, Kevin McGowan, Matt Jennings, Katrina Bouchard, Marissa Dillenberger, Gabriella Flores, Christina Gehrig, Alexa Cosgro and Andrew Garami.

Midday rice and beans, donated by travelers of Mission #23, were brought to the soup kitchen at the Managua Dump along with 4 dozen oranges which the Patnodes provided through a donation. The 3 bags of beans and also of rice, will feed the people in this section of the dump for about three weeks. Passing out today’s lunch were: Lauren MacMillan, Marilee Patnode, Paul O’Connell and Michele Armani.

Meanwhile, at Nejapa we held an afternoon medical clinic of Cathy Hill, Oscar Flores, Jr., Roger Patnode, Clark Knutson, Dorothee Racette, Ilona Flores, Jesse Crosier, Joy Cayea, Kristin Gagnier, Nicky Lundy, Michele Armani, Bill Calmbacher, Rachel Luscombe, Liz Hill and Karen O’Brien.

This afternoon our rice and beans were taken into the community by Flo Reynaud, Sarah LeFloch, Gen Thompson and Gen Hill as well as Alyssa Malone and Alison Gratto.

Just before our regular dinner hour, we received a call from the archbishop’s office inviting us to mass at the Cathedral tonight. It was an option for all of us, but most of the group traveled in to Managua for the mass. When we arrived, they were in the process of the Stations of the Cross and a few of our group joined in. For two of the stations, the archbishop asked Yamilette Flores and Carol Dumont to carry the icon of Jesus carrying the cross. What an honor! The mass was a memorable experience for those of us who chose to go.

Our regular evening meeting was waived due to this experience and, because everyone was whisked away to do this, we extended our “lights out” to 10pm….although very few took advantage of it; most were snoring before others had their teeth brushed. We had an intense day of work and look forward to our weekend coming up.


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Hola Everyone! I miss you and love you all give all the children my love!

We miss you Nicole.

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