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Mission of Hope

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

By Bonnie Black

A leisurely morning began with Chef Marty’s famous pancake breakfast which included maple syrup…such a treat! We finished packing the suitcases everyone is taking back to MOHTown so that the summer travelers, who travel commercial airlines rather than charter, have something in which to bring the needed supplies and materials.

Mission travelers perform their farewell song for the young students at Colegio Nino Jesus de Praga. (l-r): Gen Hill, Eliza Anderson, Jenn Washburn, Andrew Garami & Alison Gratto.  Marisa Rose Wolosz is in the back row. Just around 7:45am, we all went over to the auditorium for the desperdida where we were first presented with a song by the Pre-K # class (similar to our Kindergarten). Then, a soloist performed a folklorique dance for us. She was followed by three secondary students (and I am proud to say the young girl I sponsor was one of them). The young men who are part of the church band sang a Nicaraguan tribute tune for us to enjoy. Our teens then went up on the stage and performed – for the final time – our Unicorn song…including the first two verses in Spanish! Photo Caption: Mission travelers perform their farewell song for the young students at Colegio Nino Jesus de Praga. (l-r): Gen Hill, Eliza Anderson, Jenn Washburn, Andrew Garami & Alison Gratto. Marisa Rose Wolosz is in the back row.

Sister Rosa then presented to mission a handmade cloth which she said could be used for any purpose we wish. It is a field of dark green with thin yellow and red stripes. It will either be hung at MOHTown or in Sister’s office at Seton. There was also a book, published by the “Save the Children” foundation, which will be a part of our library in Plattsburgh. I am sure it will be inspirational for those who give presentations throughout our area.

Eric and Genny decided that they wanted to sponsor a child here at Nino – one that they could sponsor for their entire schooling over the next few years. And their wish was granted as Magaly and Sister Debbie made it happen! They got to meet the first grader and, with the help of the other travelers, has a small gift bag of small toys and stickers for her.

Evan and Sarah LeFloch along with Kevin McGowan and Laura MacMillan had to depart Nicasa at 9:30am, as their flight to Miami was much earlier than the rest of ours. They made a stop on the way to the airport, though, as Evan had decided to donate his guitar to the sisters at Nejapa. When Sister Debbie told them yesterday, as she was leaving after a meeting with the Mother Superior, she said they squealed with glee!

Sister Rosa agreed to let the children out of classes at 10:30am in order to spend time with our younger travelers before departing. Just around 11:30, the A Team waved farewell to the other 43 travelers plus our newlyweds, Eric and Genny, on their way to the bus station returning to the resort they are staying at for their honeymoon.

Mauricio arrived this morning with great news. We have in our hands the letter from the National Assembly designating the Mission of Hope as an official NGO (non-governmental organization). This has been in the works for years and all the hard work and many meetings with the lawyers here have finally resulted in an official position for MOH.

Seven of the eight travelers left behind to shut down Nicasa bid farewell to the 47 headed to the airport Tuesday morning (l-r): Matt Jennings, Marilyn Knutson, Marty Mannix, Joy Cayea, Jesse Crosier, Bill Calmbacher and Andrew Garami.  Missing: Bonnie Black. Our Leadership Team on the ground (Marty Mannix, myself, Nicky Lundy, Andrew Garami, Matt Jennings and Michelle Armani) took Magaly to see one of the newly constructed latrines and reminded her that this was her vision coming to fruition. She, in turn, noted that they may have ideas and dreams and hopes, but it is the people of the Mission of Hope which make them a reality and that they are indebted to us for all we do here. Photo Caption: Seven of the eight travelers left behind to shut down Nicasa bid farewell to the 47 headed to the airport Tuesday morning (l-r): Matt Jennings, Marilyn Knutson, Marty Mannix, Joy Cayea, Jesse Crosier, Bill Calmbacher and Andrew Garami. Missing: Bonnie Black.

And what did we do after everyone left? Start the closing of Nicasa which the “luxury” job: washing, cleaning, sorting, packing – in other words, preparing for the arrival of our next large group this summer.

Caritas came and took 46 boxes to storage for us to use on subsequent missions and they brought with them a letter from the Archbishop which is needed to apply for the Loyola Foundation grant – a happy day!

It has been my honor, as well as my pleasure, to send you information each day. I hope that you have experience a bit of the flavor of being on the ground here in Nicaragua for the past 6 days. I wish all of you well and advise you, as someone who had a daughter travel many times before traveling myself, to honor the silence and contemplation which may occur over the next few days. It has been a joyful and rewarding time but, even though there has been a lot of journaling, more processing will be occurring over the coming days and weeks. The deeper the impression has been on us of this new country of ours, the more time we need to take on our re-entry to daily life at home.

I must thank all of the travelers who were willing to share their photos each night so that I could compile the Mission #23 CD set which will be available at a very nominal cost within a couple of weeks to all travelers. While they slept, their photos were being reviewed and sorted on our laptop computer.

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Comments

Sincere and heartfelt thanks to Bonnie, Suzanne, the Press Republican and all the wonderful supporters of the North Country Mission of Hope. Without you, we cannot bring HOPE to those in need. Indeed, the greatest poverty is to NOT have HOPE. You have all helped us to be bearers of HOPE. Thank you and many blessings.
Sr. Debbie

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