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Mission of Hope

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

By Bonnie Black
Today is A Team's last day on the ground here and we are just about set to put the key in the door and head for home at 4am tomorrow (although it will take us until close to midnight to actually be in Plattsburgh - if all connections go smoothly!).

We had many loaves of bread leftover, so this morning Jim Dumont and Bill Calmbacher took them over to CFC and they were used immediately! We have also completed the boxes for giveaway sneakers, clothes and toiletries to those who so desperately need them. A few of the boxes we took directly to the convent yesterday afternoon so that the very poor we saw on Monday will soon have some clothes, soap and shampoo.

Over the last two days, I made sure to take photos of the various schools and neighborhoods represented on Mission 27:
The Academy of Holy Names team of Kendra Kline, Renee Bean, Betsy Sullivan and Sr. Cathy Kruegler.
The Cliff Haven contingent of Alexa Cosgro, Alex Munn, James Carlin & Bonnie Black.
Alice Robinson, Matt Kennedy and Alex Munn were the Peru School group which raised more than $650 through a coin drive at their high school before coming down.
Sarah Merkel & Sarah Deeb of PHS raised $75 for CFC and they were accompanied by Meghan Ryan on her first mission, too.
Seton Catholic students collected almost $700 from a "quarter drive" at school asking their peers for loose change in the months prior to this mission: Alexa Cosgro, Rachel Daly, Andrea Maynard and Samantha Mulcahy.
Even a group of students who live in the Town of Peru decided I should take them, too, as they are representatives of different schools, but now feel as one.

Individual students who I would like to acknowledge, in addition to those already noted in the daily journals, are Jessica Finnegan of AVCS who raised $1400 from a spaghetti dinner at the Keeseville Elks Lodge a few weeks ago.
Mary Garcia, the first student accepted from Schroon Lake, raised over $1,000 at a ziti dinner in January and has just been recognized by the Soroptimists of the Adirondacks with an award for her promotion of the Mission in her hometown of Schroon Lake with a check for $250 and one for the Mission of HOPE. However, Mary intends to donate the entire $500 to the Mission of Hope. This is just one more example of the widespread impact the Mission is having and also an example of the generally excellent caliber of student that we accept on this mission. Joining her from Schroon Lake were veteran travelers Bill Calmbacher and Beverly Gogola.

Of course, the medical donations drive our work down here and we couldn't do it all without the help of the local pharmacies: Condo Pharmacy, Maggy Pharmacy, Peru Pharmacy and Keeseville Pharmacy - all major donors in responding to our urgent plea for meds.

I would like to correct a misunderstanding about the house which we will be able to use for while here in Nicaragua. Yamilette's sister-in-law and family las signed papers leasing the space to us - rent free - for as long as we would like. Even though we will be allowed to do renovations and perhaps put on an addition to better serve our needs, this is truly only temporary until we can find a proper piece of land and home for us to purchase. We need to find donors who are willing to assist us in the venture - planned for the future.

Our 'wish list' for our next Mission includes:
Batteries (AA & D only)
Umbrellas
Ponchos
Pillar candles (some citronella??)
Small white cups (3 oz)
Safety pins
Index cards (200)
HP inkjet 21/22 (2 combo sets)
Clipboards
Dolly
Paper towels (none in stock)
Scotch tape (only 1 roll)
Printing calculator (for Magaly)
Broom for sweeping courtyard
Golf cart
Mop handles
Brooms
Claw Hammer
Socket set
Hand saw
Circular saw with guard
18v batteries for power tools (Ryobi)
3.5 inch wood screws
long and short outlet screws
Tape measure
4-ft level
Plastic storage containers (13 x 14 x 22)
Vice grips
Tool box
(2) 50-ft extension cords
Calculator for students at Nejapa
Functioning computers for Nejapa and the Orphanage
School supplies for Orphanage
Sports equipment for Nejapa
Stove/refrigerator/silverware for Nejapa
6 long tables for Nejapa
Large cooking utensils for school kitchen at Nejapa

A few statistics on who we serve:
Nino Jesus de Praga is serving 525 students every day in our Children Feeding Children program and about 40% of the school is on scholarship through the Mission.
Nejapa has 50 scholarship students and it is ever-growing as is their enrollment, too.

One of the thoughts we had as we were visiting the poorer barrios and the chapels in their districts is that perhaps there could be 'sister parish' relationships started which could provide the Eucharist to them for the host and wine is very expensive down here.

There were short-term supplies of food for the Juan Pablo II baby orphanage brought on this mission, but we have calculated that is would cost $15 per month to feed one of these young children ensuring that their nourishment at such a young age (birth through 5 years) is met.

So, I now sign off as we are on our way to the internet café to send this and complete our sign-in for tomorrow morning's flight.

I hope to have been able to shine a small light on Mission 27 and all of its events, emotions and happenings. Listen to your traveler - even though they may not want to say too much for the next few days. They made need to process everything a little more and re-adapt to our way of life. Be patient. They will eventually bubble over with stories - their stories - of the impact of what has happened the last 8 days in their lives. And don't be surprised if you start hearing them say, "I think I am going to apply for the summer Mission!"

Farewell from Nica - blessing on all of you.

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