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Mission of Hope

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Editor's note: For a technical reason that we haven't been able to solve, the "Continue reading..." link at the bottom of the intro to this journal entry isn't working correctly. To read the full journal entry, click on the date (Thursday, August 9, 2007) at the top of the article. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

By Bonnie Black

Upon A Team’s arrival Monday night around 10:30 (12:30am your time) we opened the doors to Nicasa to find not much there! It seems that there had been a dental clinic held in multiple rooms and new painting of all bathrooms and bedrooms. There were only 3 bunks in the men’s room, 3 in the women’s small room and 4 in the larger room. Also, every room was locked as new locks had been put in prior to our arrival. Quite a surprise! But, primary on our minds at that time was to find the mattresses and the suitcases with the linens; nothing was where we had left them. So here we were near midnight playing “Huckle, Bucklel Beanstalk!” Soon, we found what we needed and our heads hit the pillows. No trouble falling asleep, though.

In the morning, we found the bunkbeds had been stored on their ends against each other in the CFC dining room. We did not relish going to get them and dragging them over, so we asked Mauricio to find out if some “fuerte muchachos” could do so. Around sunrise on Wednesday, 10 of the missing 15 bunkbeds were dragged (yes, literally) to our front yard by the guards. Sister Rosa promises the rest will be moved by strong students no later than Thursday morning.

Then, there was a water main break on our first morning of work around 10a.m. which caused us a bit of consternation until it returned late morning on Wednesday. Setting up Nicasa without water kept us using our creativity; luckily, we had filled a couple of the water buckets and boiled some water prior to the unexpected outage.

Under the new electricity rationing plan defined by Union Fenosa, the Managua area is not affected by loss of power from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM. From 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM, Managua is exposed to blackouts in order to provide electricity to the other departments. This schedule guarantees businesses and the government to run normally during the morning hours, and also gives time for the commerce sector to "comply" with the afternoon blackouts. Blackouts in our area are not to exceed five hours. BUT, A Team discovered that we lost power on Tuesday around 2:30 (as expected) but it did not return until after 8pm. They say that energy cuts will not be applied during the weekends because the energy demand diminishes considerably. But, we will see!

Delivery of all of the home shelter supplies arrived on Wednesday even through the rain which fell periodically. Of course, raining here is about 3-5 minutes followed by bright, hot sun almost instantaneously…all contributing to the humidity this time of year.

Diane Crosier and Mauricio went to the markets and have our cocina well-stocked for the main group’s arrival (it also means we can have more than toast for a meal!). Actually, we were good to ourselves and decided rather than another meal of either ham and cheese on toast or the other choice of cheese and ham on toast, we splurged and went to El Eskimo Restaurant for dinner on Tuesday evening. Quite a nice meal, including salad bar and dessert with beverage for about $16 including tip.

Roger Patnode spent much of the afternoon bringing the database of the heights and weights up-to-date on a spreadsheet. All of the data from February is now in existent and we will use that as we proceed through our semi-annual assessments early next week.

All is ready for the arrival of the main group today around 11:30 at the airport. Once everything is loaded on to the two buses (one for passengers, another for suitcases) they should be at Nicasa around 1pm or 2pm. An orientation will occur for all as always there are just a few differences from trip-to-trip. Then, at 4pm, the television station will be here to interview Inocencio about what the Mission does for home shelters and members of the Managua Rotary Club will be joined by our Plattsburgh Rotary Club representatives on Mission regarding the Rotary International Matching Grant Privy Project. Of course, Sister Debbie will be here by that time and available to talk with them, too. Although the meeting with the 13 families receiving their shelters was at 3pm yesterday, they will not be obtaining their foundation materials until this afternoon – the photo op!

This afternoon, Dr. Roger Patnode will be meeting at ANF with various local agencies, also NGOs like we are, joined by Oscar Flores when he arrives. Projects and philosophies will be on the table for discussion.

Much is already lined up for all to do over our extended time in the country. I will do my best to keep you all up-to-date with our daily activities – even if you don’t receive a message each day, know that I will be making daily journal entries to send…sometimes two at a time, if necessary.

I look forward to being your eyes and ears on the ground here in Chiquilistagua, Nicaragua, for the next two weeks. Hasta manana!

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