The Press Republican

Mission of Hope

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Friday, February 19, 2010

By Bonnie Black
Blogger’s note: Although I had to return to Plattsburgh for work on Friday, thanks to Barbara for taking the notes of the final evening meeting on Friday, February 19th.

Tonight's meeting is the last meeting. Lots of details and logistics to take care of as Mission 35 winds down. Four have already left Nicaragua and have arrived home safely according to theier emails sent to Sister: Alexa, Alex, Alysia and Bonnie.

Sr. Debbie will not be going on the trip to the market tomorrow because Sr. Karla and Sr. Miriam of the Servium Sisters will be coming to Nicasa on Saturday afternoon.

Two groups will be taken to the airport on Saturday:
- Group 1 leaves at 5:30am with Molly, James, Eliza, Rebecca, Roger, Nancy Cronin
- Group 2 leaves at 10:30am with Bobby, Kendrick, Joan, Fr. Sturtz, Bobby, Tara

Bill Murray will pick up the four people traveling to Montreal on Monday.

Lots of details for packing, everyone asked to help and most will be asked to bring a suitcase or a hammock as a carryon. Everyone will wear the Mission 35 t-shirts on the way home.

People departing on Saturday were asked to strip their beds in the morning. All towels, sheets and pillow cases to be folded and left on the mattress.

Everyone wishing to donate clothes when leaving, needed to sort them into two boxes: dirty and clean. If clothes are dirty, it will cost 5 cordobas per item to clean. Sneakers will be donated as well.

Partially used sunscreen and bug repellant can be donated by placing them in the two boxes by kitchen. Also work gloves - in pairs only!

Sr. Debbie shared a story about her nephew, Zach, who left his sneakers for his friend Chico – the former guard here who now works for the Mission guarding our medical shipments. Chico always asks for Zach whenever MOH is here, as he remembers his friend.

Marty cautioned all that while visiting the market, everyone should travel in groups and be very careful. Pay attention, be alert, watch for pickpockets. Sr. Debbie has arranged for Jonan to visit the Huembes Market and watch over the groups.

Yamilette thanked everyone on the Mission #35 on behalf of herself, her family and all the people of Nicaragua, for all that this mission had done.

Sr. Debbie mentioned that Eve McGill is the third co-founder. She, Yami and Sr. Debbie have often commented that with the help of all of the volunteers and missioners, their dream of helping the Nicaraguan people has come true. She told all that the Missioners are the best advocates once they return home. She suggested that everyone tell their stories about Mission and try not to get angry at those who do not understand because they have not seen what we have seen on Mission. In particular, for the High School students, visiting the HS cafeteria for the first time after mission, will bring home just how much is wasted in our country and how what we throw out, could feed an entire Nicaraguan village.

Sr. Debbie said that there will never be another – Thank God! - Mission 35. A reunion will be held in a few weeks with an email sent out to schedule the most convenient date for all. Sr. Debbie will send out a survey after the Mission to ask everyone's opinion on improvements or to make general comments.

Sr. Debbie thanked “A” team for all of their hard work. And also a special thank you to Bev, Joan and Nancy Cronin for their hard work in the kitchen.

Sr. Debbie commented that when we visited La Chureca, and had stopped to interview and take pictures, it was the same boy who had helped Sr. Debbie when she had stumbled at the Dump earlier in the week.

The mural at La Chureca turned out beautifully and all were commended for their hard work.

Sr. Debbie visited the Juan Pablo II baby orphanage with Sue, Vanessa, Yami and Barbara. It was very, very difficult as the conditions have deteriorated since January. Three of the orphans there received sponsorships this trip. Nancy and Bernie will sponsor Angel, Vanessa and Barbara will sponsor Allison as well as Rosemare. There are still three orphans left to be sponsored. Pictures were taken to encourage others to sponsor them. Help is desparately needed to keep these children fed and nourished during their first 5 years of life.

Rachael Oberding shared that, as a translator, she was able to talk to many of the children being sponsored and those who are looking for sponsors. She told of a young boy who will not talk or smile because he saw his father choking his mother. She said that she loves all the people that she has met and that they are very generous.

Sr. Debbie said she was asked to try to help a young high school girl that had been raped by her father to provide a safe house for her and her mother. Unfortunately, there is no system in place here to help, unlike the US where there are agencies who can provide the much-needed emergency assistance.

Karen said that they passed a group of people demonstrating for violence against women. It was felt that this was a good sign.

Sue told of our trip to the Banana Camp as we visited the people to take a video. One man was getting his hair cut by another man using a bare razor blade. Other women were washing their clothes on the street.

Molly has gotten close to a little boy who asked when she was leaving. When she told him he started to cry. Another little girl sitting next to her hugged her and told her not to cry and that she had beautiful eyes. The girl’s mother gave her a picture of the family. While Molly was very moved at their affection and sorry to leave, she felt that she had made a difference by coming to Nicaragua.

Karen commented that on their visit to La Chureca Clinic, a mother who had been previously to the clinic brought her baby in to be tested for HIV as well. All were happy to hear that the baby tested negative.

Sue commented that another woman came to be re-tested at the HIV clinic as she didn't want to believe that she was HIV positive. She left the other day not wanting to get treatment advice from the Clinic doctor, but returned today to talk to the doctor further. Sue was relieved to see this as it appears that she will be returning for treatment.

Karen went on a Rice and Beans walk today and was gratified to meet a little girl name Linda whom she had met the other day. She had been surprised then that the little girl had only taken one hair bow from her bag rather than a handful.

Fr. Sturtz was happy to be able to participate in the anointing of an elderly lady on the Rice and Beans walk. Fr. Sturtz was very happy to find out she was the grandmother of Danya, the young girl being sponsored by Paul and Sue.

Sr. Debbie was happy to report that Yami’s LOST SUITCASE has been found with all items intact!

Rachel shared a note written by a little girl she met: Thank you for sharing your friendship with me. Thank you for teaching me to be better, I love you.

Nancy Jordan commented on how impressed she was with the Medical Team and Roger on this mission. She mentioned that Roger had sat for 3 hours straight doing lead testing on the children. She also commented that the women that came for Pap tests were very anxious. Nancy was honored to walk with them and assure them that they would be safe. Karen added that Nancy would relax the women so much that they would be laughing during their examination. A young pregnant woman also got the chance to listen to her baby's heartbeat for the first time.

Sr. Debbie advised that Women's issues, poverty, globalization, injustice are now our causes. Laughing and crying on Mission is normal and will continue when we return home. This support of the Mission team will continue also.

Kendrick thanked everyone who participated in taking a group to Mombacho today. Special thanks to James for getting up early and taking everyone on the trip.

Per Sr. Debbie, one of the nice aspects of Mission 35 was that all adults assumed the roles of chaperones or guides as needed.

Sr. Cathy told of 2 little boys at La Chureca throwing stones and sticks from under a mango tree to try to knock some fruit down for lunch. The boys did get enough fruit for lunch.

Marty said that the students on Mission 35 have been exceptional. All students were agreeable to helping and doing necessary chores and are to be commended. He enjoys seeing students that go on multiple missions and watching their growth. He believes that many of these students will be phenomenal as adults and is confident in putting our future in their hands. The success of this mission is not in big things. But instead, we can all talk about miracles that happened on an individual basis. He thanked the HS students for making this a very special mission.

Sr. Debbie said she can't imagine being able to handle what the students have handled on mission when she was their age. As a HS student she was selected to go on a trip to South America but her mother would not let her go. Ultimately, the plane she was supposed to take crashed in the Andes. She doesn't believe that she could have ever handled all things on a trip. She told the students that they are the cream of the crop.

Jeremy Eppler then joined the meeting for more than the few minutes he was able to spend on Monday night.

Rachel thanked all the adults for their help and support and for putting up with their loud noises.
Sr. Debbie officially closed the meeting with a song called, “The Tears of God”.

Blogger’s note: And so ends Mission #35. Unique in its own right with the word “reflex” as its mantra! For those of you who have been reading along, please know that your loved one(s) is special – and blessed to have been part of this mission. They may come home and tell tales of the daily events; they may not be comfortable talking much at all. Realize that in time, you will learn their stories – of the group, the people they met, the ‘happenings’ of the days they were in Nicaragua, and the hopes they have for themselves and for their new found friends in Nicaragua. They have left a part of themselves there – perhaps to return someday again. But, the memories will be theirs – and yours – for a lifetime. Enjoy their photos and the stories that go along with it. Hasta luego!


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