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Mission of Hope

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Daily Journal: Monday, February 27, 2012

By Bonnie Black
The morning began early for many as our trip to Mombacho was set to leave at 6am. We all met for a brief gathering before their departure with Emily and Aislyn leading us in contemplative time. They read the poem “When You Believe” which was put music by Celtic Women. We then all joined in the Prayer of St. Francis before they loaded into the 2 vans for their ‘day off’ excursion.

Those who traveled to Mombacho were: Bill, Ben, Bev, Nick, Grace, Brandon, Haley, Mar Ellen, Anna K., Clare, Nancy, Vicky, Joan, Sr. Claire, Connie T., Amanda and Sandy.

Our BBB teams were made up of those going on the later trip: Tom, Andrew, Sarah R. and Megan. Kitchen of course, had already done their work with an early breakfast: Diane, Sally, Emily, Joy C. as they, too, were on the later trip.

The rest of us began the more intense Group Shutdown processes, specifically Paul W and Tom securing some of the shelving units in Home Depot before the trip to León Viejo took off…so we left around 8:15am: Sr. Cathy, Connie M., Aislyn, Paul R., Nicole, Diane, Anna D., Corinne, Paul O., Sara, Sally, Joy C., Andrew, Joy L., Henry, Brody, Paul W., Aidyanne, Sarah, Priscilla, Tom, Megan and I.

Allen and Kate were going to search for tack needed to actually connect the horse and cart he paid for at Jinotepe farm! They searched in a few places in Managua and on their way up to the farm and Jinotepe to see if it were available there, they delivered cartons to the orphanage in El Crucero as they were passing by. It wasn’t possible to find the tack Allen would like, but he picked up a bridle so it can be a bit functional. Mauricio will need to acquire the tack later this week. At the farm they also delivered healthcare packages with toiletries, some towels, shirts, pants, socks, toys and balls plus some rice & beans. They headed back home making a stop at San Luis school to deliver paint and supplies we had in storage that could be put to better use over the next few months while we’re not here. We have – they need…a simple solution! Afterwards, they went over to CPS and installed the principal’s bell and completed the remaining electrical outlet in main building.

The groups that took a trip had lunch out in different locales, but both went shopping at Roberto Huembes Mercardo. We didn’t have lots of time, but an hour is sufficient as so many vendors send identical items.

When we returned our guests for the semi-annual Pizza Party were beginning to arrive, so we moved into ‘host’ mode immediately. The locals who assist us in serving the community are invited and those who were able to come this time were: Magaly and her husband, Rose and Marta who are 2 of the 3 cooks we have feeding us in the evening (Nora couldn’t make it as Jairo, her husband, was in the hospital), the sisters from Niño Jesus de Praga including the new principal Sister Lucia, Fabricio, our drivers (Chico, Oscar and Ramon), Mauricio and Carmen.

After our guests had left, we joined together for a brief time before filling suitcases and heading in for an early bedtime. What we all wanted to know was why Sister Debbie was sitting with both knees wrapped and one leg supported on top of a plastic box. It seems that when she left the pizzeria, the same place she has gone for years, she missed the first step down and fell on to both knees. She said that each time Oscar has been with her, he has always warned/reminded her as she went to leave. James helped to break her fall, but she has notified her surgeon that they will need to meet once she gets home. “Such is life,” she remarked.

Connie Miller thanked all who helped with the gift distribution yesterday as it went quite smoothly. And, speaking of students, Kate helped Sister Debbie this afternoon with the CPS sponsored students who came for their photos.

Sister had been notified by Jackie at the San Luis school that she had a group of volunteers already painting the rooms with the supplies that had been dropped off – love that enthusiasm! Then she noted that the new principal at Niño praised all we have done for her school as she can immediately see the results.

Connie T. thanked all for helping to keep the viral illness that is going around the community from impacting us. She acknowledged that the Public Health Nurse that she is, will always put group health first. Everyone worked at maintaining the protocols put in place by our Medical Committee and we traveling home a relatively healthy group.

Sister then mentioned a fundraiser happening in mid-March co-sponsored by Sunrise Rotary, the City of Plattsburgh and the Mission: “Race the Base.” Watch for more info or check out Facebook: Race the Base, Run for Hope page!

We then listened as Sister asked us, “What have you done for the poor ones this week?” and she introduced Lori True’s song of the same name that we sang. Joy L. then asked us to close our eyes and think how we are surrounded by beautiful and loving people – “all of whom are not sitting in the circle with us. Tomorrow we will get on a plane – go back home – but when our hearts are down or souls feel weary, let us remember this mission.” She then asked us to hold hands and, one by one, turn to the person on our left and say, “May the love of my heart flow from my hand to yours.” After that centering, we sang, “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban….with many sniffles and tears. Afterward there were many hugs shared as we left the Pavilion heading in for final suitcase prep and weighing.

A Team then took over cleaning up the kitchen and preparing it for the mid – nighttime departure with snacks and fruit choices for all.

ADDENDUM: Tuesday – A Team shutdown:

When the large group went into the airport at 3:15am, James and Allen took one of our vans back only to find that they didn’t open until 6am…and the main group discovered that the ticket counter didn’t open until 5am. Their choice, though, was made with the objective of being the first (30+) in line.

A few members of A Team who had gotten to bed with the others before 9pm, stayed up and began to work on Kitchen shutdown…there were 3 of us who headed back to bed, though!

Once all of us were up or back from the airport, we moved into high gear to accomplish much this morning….around 6:45am. We use our checklists and watch the whiteboard for tasks that are still needed (like painting bathroom shelving, fixing rockers and plumbing, rearranging Home Depot before inventorying, stoppers for doors, completing financial records, etc).

James has a meeting with ANF today with Mauricio and Allen will go back to CPS with Chico so the glass window louvers that Mauricio is out buying (no stores that give receipts are open on the weekends!) can be installed. They will also complete minor details from this past weekend’s jobs.

This afternoon, I will be taking the remaining student photos that sponsors need and sending them along to Sister Debbie.

The rest of us are ‘home’ making sure all linens are inventoried then taken to our laundress for washing, kitchen items are inventoried and final cleaning is done. IF we get everything done by 6pm, we hope to have the traditional A Team final dinner out at a restaurant….that’s because we will have given any leftover food away pending our departure at 4:30am for the airport on Wednesday.


Please realize that each of your travelers will react a bit differently as they ‘re-enter’ their life back home. Some will be ready to recount everything – almost all at once! Others may not open up for a number of days as they continue to process their time here in Nica. Diverse reactions are to be expected. Please be patient. In time, they will begin to share and one of the easiest for them will be through photos. That’s when you’ll see the glint in their eyes, the smiles – and even tears. Remember, as you missed them, they have missed you and will also miss their new ‘family’ made this week. Some will be able to return to build on those friendships while others will have their memories – and their journals of the past week.

The Mission hopes you will consider ways to allow your loved one to remain connected through service at home, too. As Sister Debbie is fond of saying, “Your true Mission begins when you return home.”


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