Wednesday, February 21, 2007: Early Edition
By Bonnie Black
Mission #23 has hit the ground and is already running! Yesterday afternoon, the majority of the travelers on this mission entered through the gates at Colegio Nino Jesus de Praga tired but ready to begin their (short) sojourn in Nicaragua.
Of the 54 travelers, 27 are beginning a new experience. Even the other half of this mission’s travelers will see differences, as always.
With the focus of the North Country Mission of Hope to serve the poorest of the poor, Mission #23 is turning its eyes to what can be done in Nejapa. In the afternoons for the next few days a team of painters will be revitalizing the exterior of the elementary school run by the Servium Sisters of Mexico.
An innovative move at Colegio Nino Jesus de Praga is to begin this school year with parasitic medications distributed to all students. These meds will assist in promoting the health of the young people at the school and, with better health, will come increased learning.
This morning, Sister Debbie, Yamilette and Ilona Flores accompanied Nicky Lundy and Dr. Clark Knutson as they were brought by Johanna of Carritas and Dr. Yamilette Sanchez up a mountain which Sister told us made the road up to Mombacho cloudforest look level! The dust from their two 4-sheel pickups communicated to the people of El Trepiche that the medical team promised by the Archbishop was indeed arriving. By the time they got to the top, there were already 60-70 residents waiting to be seen. Why the enthusiastic response? We were told by Johanna that this was the first time any medical personnel had been to this area – ever! Early on, our team was estimating that today they may see 200 people from this area.
Dr. Sanchez’s salary is being funded through a donation from George Moore in memory of his late wife, Shirley Moore, and her mother, Jeanette Chauvin. The doctor has agreed to take her salary and reduce her personal fee, allowing the funds to also cover the cost of a technician to handle sonograms, a pediatrician and a general practitioner.
This morning, Kendra Kline and Alison Gratto staffed the Children Feeding Children program along with the regular cooks. They were put to work grating a large amount of cheese which will be used on Thursday. But, after the students’ mass for Ash Wednesday, they had the opportunity to interact with the Pre-K through Grade 6 children who receive this daily nutritious meal. This was important to Kendra as she had taken the story of the Mission and this program back to her school, Academy of Holy Names in the capital district. After her first trip last February, Kendra gave a presentation to the Kindergarten through 8th graders and suggested they consider putting change in to the buckets she had placed in each classroom. The astounding result of each student feeding a student was a total of $1250 plus 130 bottles of children’s vitamins! A remarkable result from a school of about 100 students. So, today’s time in the kitchen was quite special to Kendra.
I will have a lot more on all of our initial day’s activities when I give the full day recap which you will receive tomorrow. As Sister Debbie said at the close of our first meeting, “Look for the deeper realities of this day – remember, you are hope.”