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Mission of Hope

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Late Thursday, August 9, 2007

By Bonnie Black
Well, everyone except Oscar arrived at Nicasa by early evening. Yes, there was a hold-up at the Managua airport due to 17 suitcases not making the flight (they came in on another American Airlines flight at 7:30pm) and also because a random check of a suitcase resulted in a medical item being found in it which was not on the packing list. So, MINSA (according to regulations) had to then take each suitcase and process it individually. Kasey Garrand, Marcel Charland, Sr. Debbie, Oscar and Mauricio stayed with the initial suitcases until they were all processed by MINSA at the airport. Kasey and Marcel arrived at Nicasa around 4:30pm leaving the others to await the flight. Meanwhile……

Roger Patnode had gone to a 1pm meeting at the American-Nicaraguan Foundation and his driver had car problems on the way back. So, around 4:30pm, Marty Mannix took another driver out to ANF to get Roger and who should drive in behind them but Mauricio and Sr. Debbie and Oscar! So, Sr. Debbie returned to Nicasa at that point, leaving Mauricio and Oscar to return to the airport for the arrival of the next AA flight and wait through the process of the suitcase audit by MINSA.

All seemed quite excited to finally “be here!” After a quick bite to eat prepared by Diane Crosier, everyone had a half hour or so to just relax and rest (although there were 4-5 who took a soccer ball and headed to the courtyard to play with the few children who had come.

After a brief orientation by Marty Mannix, Diane Crosier, Bill Calmbacher and me, some people were playing with the children while others were seated in the front yard when we were joined by two members of the Managua Rotary Club who arrived to be part of the upcoming press conference which we heard about yesterday from Inocencio. The president of the club, Rudy, was quite informative about his coffee and pineapple plantations and the agricultural situation in the commodities market right now. He offered to give us a tour of the plantation just down the road about 10km from us one afternoon. I think a lot of people seemed quite interested.

A little after 4pm (before Sr. Debbie had arrived), a reporter and videographer from Presnsa ALM arrived along with Ramiro Silva Gutiewez, a member of the National Assembly. This would be like Charles Schumer or Hillary Clinton coming to a Mission meeting in Plattsburgh! Sister Rosa began with a prayer and Inocencio spoke to the gathering: all of us who were at Nicasa along with the 13 families (yes, almost every member) receiving a home shelter this mission and the 45 families who have received a latrine courtesy of the Rotary International Matching Gift program among the Rotary Clubs of Managua, Plattsburgh and Bergen-Highlands-Ramsey (NJ). The reporter interviewed Inocencio, Sister Rosa (who spoke of the immense impact the Mission has had on the school and the barrio), Gunther Hewig (a Managuan Rotarian) and yours truly. I think I got stuck with that job because of the other three, I knew more about what we have done and are planning to accomplish on this, our 25th Mission. The reporter also interviewed an elderly woman who has been assisted by the Mission. We have been promised a copy of the edited package to bring home. What a great gift we can use to help spread the word to foundations and various donors!

Our dinner tonight was prepared by Nora and Rosa who have been our cooks for quite a few mission trips. The food was delicious and eaten by everyone who left the dining hall quite satisfied. We are looking forward to a number of ‘home-cooked’ meals by our chefs extraordinaire!

Tonight, after the power returned, many were found reading or playing cards while Darcy Rabideau and Sara Fredette got right down to creating the assignment board for tomorrow. Without classes (due to the Santo Domingo holiday) we will be able to accomplish two major painting projects here at Colegio.

We are now ready for Mission #25 to begin…..and I will write again tomorrow evening, sending a note along in the morning.


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