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Mission of Hope

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

By Bonnie Black
Here we are, "A Team plus One" closing down the facility and assuring the rest of the donations are allocated as designed by our Leadership Te a.m. back home. Just before 3:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. your time) the main group departed the yard with many hugs going around. I received an email from Sister when they got to the airport that told us, "There were villagers along the main road waving goodbye. At this hour. Unbelievable gesture."

Everyone made it through except for the 2 vanilla bottles in someone's carryon which will be brought back home as part of one the A Team suitcases that will be checked.

Our morning here began with closing down the women's small room and bathroom, getting all of the clothing and bedding sorted and counted to go to Victoria's, and kitchen dismantling. We gave the leftover bags of rice and beans to our "Children Feeding Children" programs here at Nino and also at Nejapa as well as the milk that was in the refrigerator this morning.

Oscar, Mauricio and I went over to the Mother of the Divine Son School in Nejapa for a meeting with Father Jalder. We discussed sponsorships tied to academic performance, delivered more of the vitamins for the students as well as this quarter's dose of antiparasite meds, future projects (for which we asked for a proforma to bring back to our Leadership Team for discussion) and the process of an application for home shelters beginning in February. We also emphasized the necessity of having the foundations completed within a day of receiving the materials so we do not run into the delay we had this past week. He is thinking of a guitar ensemble of young people who could play at school as well as for the church services; his thought is 15 guitars. So, we will ask people at home to consider donating those instruments and we will see what happens.

Then we stopped for lunch. Guess what - we had rice & beans for lunch! Right now, we are 'eating down' the refrigerator so there is no wasted food. We also had Nora's salad and the delicious cream sauce she prepared for last night's dinner with tortillas.

This afternoon, we continued on various tasks: more kitchen cleaning and storing, inventorying the office and storing all of the supplies, mattresses to NiCarlos for the bunkbeds, the storage of the fans and boxes as well as shutting down most of the men's room and bathroom. The men's room bathroom sink fell off of the wall this afternoon and we asked Chico - who happened to be with us loading tables to transfer to NiCarlos' - to install the new sink (we had one sitting on the lawn ready to go to storage, luckily!). And we 'paid' him in rice and beans!

We are receiving many letters for sponsors here at Nino, so Sister Debbie will have those to check over and get to the appropriate sponsor within the next month.

I just want to mention that when your loved one returns tonight, you may find him or her very talkative or, most likely, it will be a few days or even a week before he or she can begin to share their experience. Most of what we have spent the past week plus experiencing is emotional and physically draining. It takes a bit to begin to process it all as life here in Nicaragua is so very different than in the States. The division between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' is a chasm. We are so privileged to have so much available to us for convenience, health, recreation and work. It can take a while to process the re-entry into the US culture coming from an immersion here. Be patient. Use the photos they share with you as a way to gain a little insight into their week. Many are very playful while others show the stark reality of the poorest of the poor. They may not even be able to answer the question, "Will you go again?"

We are planning a get-together to which all family members and former travelers are invited. Sister Debbie will be sending out an email with the details within a few days after returning. Come, listen and observe the joy that is shared among everyone attending. Each person here has a new family - one that is special to its mission as well as part of the entire Mission Family - over 800 of us who have come over the past 10 years.

I will follow with an update, if there is anything of interest, but bleach, disinfectant, sweeping, mopping and boxing don't usually lend itself to interesting stories. It has been a pleasure to be your Nica correspondent over the past 10 days. Hasta pronto!.

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