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Mission of Hope

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Daily Journal: Thursday, February 24, 2011 (Late Edition)

By Bonnie Black
This Mission is now officially closed. As the A Team sits in the Augusto Sandino Airport in Managua awaiting their 2am flight to Fort Lauderdale, there is much on which to reflect. Let me tell you how today began….

…by 2:15am, most everyone was up and getting ready to get on the bus into the airport. Sister's van departed and the big, yellow bus pulled to the gate, tried to maneuver left, went in reverse, tried a second time, then decided he best turn right and go around the block back up to the main road.

To be honest, the 8 of us returned to bed for a short time.

After a few more winks, we continued the shutdown process. Each of us took off in different directions taking on a variety of tasks. Within about 4 hours, we had most of NiCasa stripped to the condition in which we entered on February 15th. With so much construction still left to do, all of us decided that the summer mission will be another new experience.

As you know, I got time today to go up to the Flores' house and send the Journal Notes from the past two days as well as the photos that help interpret the various assignments your family members have taken on during Mission #41.

One of the first things this morning was Chico and Rene arriving to assist us in the various transportation needs we had while closing down. Chico was very excited about putting up the plaque given to Mission by the community the other day. We were thinking of somewhere on the Clinic walls, but he said that the community would like to see it outside of the front gate. After all, it is their gift to us, so we felt that abiding their wishes would be a nice acknowledgement to our mutually beneficial relationship. It looks great - hope you take a look at the photo on the Press Republican website!

Bev, Bill and Joy tied up the Kitchen area by early afternoon; Megan and Zach had tackled the dorms and bathrooms; James completed the inventory on the Home Depot room; Roger completed the pharmacy inventory and clinic setup, then ran back out to La Chureca Clinic to retrieve some paperwork left there, only to find them closed. We also had the assistance of Rene, Chico, Justin and Ilona which helped immensely. They were able to purchase the detergent and soap that Victoria needed to do all of our towels and sheets over the next few days; they returned our water bottles for a refund. Later Mauricio and I sat to reconcile expenses and prepare the bank deposit for tomorrow while Zach and Megan made a visit to Victoria's with the laundry with Justin. I took off for the airport midday to return one of the two vans we had rented for the week. And then…

While I did that, Megan, Zach, James and Roger went to a nursery to look over potential lush greenery and flowering bushes for NiCasa. The planting season begins in May, so it is too early to put anything into the ground, they were told - certainly not due to the chance of frost, though!

At 5pm when our Clinic closed, our Leadership Team met with Dr. Zamorra and Marta to discuss a variety of procedures we would like to amend over the next month. It was a good meeting and one of the best with medical staff.

We headed away from NiCasa just around 6:30pm, bringing to a close Mission #41.

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 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?" Give them some space, give them some time. In due course, you will hear the wonderful stories….especially when two or more are gathered. You will hear the laughs, you may even hear the sniffles. You will learn more about this transforming experience in due time.

Thanks for allowing me to share Mission #41 with all of you. As they say here, "Hasta pronto!"

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