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Mission of Hope

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Sunday, August 10th, 2008

By Bonnie Black
Today was our day to hit the road, but first, our Kitchen Crew had our breakfast ready: Judy & Marcel Charland, Abby Fordham and David LaTulipe. Quickly getting the bathrooms ready were Aubrin Breyette, Monica Smith, Jared Stanley and Kasey Garrand.

Did you know that Nicaragua is a disaster prone country and has been the epicenter of 8 of the last 28 major disasters hitting Latin America and the Caribbean?

Furthermore, in the last 23 years, Nica has been impacted by 190 earthquakes and tremors, 153 volcanic eruptions and 174 weather related disasters, making it very difficult for the people to develop.

By Bonnie Black
Today was our day to hit the road, but first, our Kitchen Crew had our breakfast ready: Judy & Marcel Charland, Abby Fordham and David LaTulipe. Quickly getting the bathrooms ready were Aubrin Breyette, Monica Smith, Jared Stanley and Kasey Garrand.

Did you know that Nicaragua is a disaster prone country and has been the epicenter of 8 of the last 28 major disasters hitting Latin America and the Caribbean?

Furthermore, in the last 23 years, Nica has been impacted by 190 earthquakes and tremors, 153 volcanic eruptions and 174 weather related disasters, making it very difficult for the people to develop.

This does not take into account the disastrous results of the civil war of the 70’s and 80’s.

Further, POVERTY was a reality long before any recent hurricanes. More than 62% of the children in the rural areas are malnourished and 43% of the urban population and 92% of the rural population lives in severe poverty, earning less than $212 US dollars per year or $.58 per day.

Both Hurricane Felix (2007) and Hurricane Alba (2008) devastations in Nicaragua have downgraded the well being of the people in the North of Nicaragua from the most acute and extreme definition of poverty, known internationally as severe poverty…to a poverty status that is not even defined in the development reference books of our world.

But all of these factors make Nicaragua the country we have come to call our “second home.” The earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and rains have created the most beautiful topography we have seen. Today we had our ‘day off’ and experienced the diverse geography of the country. One group left at 6:45am for Mombacho Volcano which is a cloudforest.

The other group left a half hour later for Granada and its boat tour of the many islands along the shore of Lake Nicaragua. Before the boat tour, we stopped in the city square of Granada and stood in the back of the Cathedral which was conducting Mass, walked over to the Temple of Music, the various statues and even into the lobby of the Alahambra Hotel which is decorated with a Moroccan flair! There were vendors in the square where most of our group stopped and a few picked up some unique items not usually found in the market. The group then drove to the Tourist Beach and got on two boats to tour the islands. We dubbed one the ‘party boat’ as those 9 people had a driver who put on some music for their enjoyment! Both boats stopped off at El Castillo, a fort built by the Spanish in the 1700s to intercept the pirates from the Caribbean who ventured into Lake Nicaragua to plunder Granada of the riches it had.

Both the Granada tour and the Mombacho tour had lunch at Pollo Narcy near El Coyotepe and then proceeded to the Masaya market – designed to look like an old Spanish fort in the middle of the town. Heading back home, we arrived in time for a prayer service conducted by Sister Debbie followed by our perennial pizza dinner sponsored by Whirley Industries – a little taste of home before we return to you.

Our guests for dinner tonight were the Servium Sisters who used to be at Nejapa until this past January; they are heading to Mexico, so we are (sort of) on their way. Also sharing a repast with us were the Carmelite sisters here at Nino and our 2 cooks, Rosa and Nora, along with Inocencio Velasquez and the sisters from San Jose Hospital in DIriamba. Magaly Velasquez with her husband, Hermando, and Martha Leiva who is our medical secretary in our sponsored clinics also came. It was the last time we will see Sister Ligia as she is moving on to Mexico as I noted in a previous day’s information.

It is hard to think that Mission #29 is coming to a close. We have a full day ahead of us tomorrow even though most are leaving at 8pm to catch the late plane back to Fort Lauderdale.

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