Mission awareness trip to Nicaragua
Aug. 15-22, 2009
Ever since I visited the Christian Brothers in Bluefields in 1961, I have regarded Nicaragua as a country of poets, musicians, artists, gentle people and good baseball players. I am delighted that we are able to work with and walk with close to 10,000 Nicaraguan families. We also work with a large number of Nicaraguan refugees in Costa Rica. I am privileged to be on this trip, and I look forward to our walk through Nicaragua in 2010.
Listening to Nicaraguan staff
Even though about half our group got to the Palmera Retreat House quite late last night, we were all up bright and early this Sunday morning for prayer and orientation. We reflected on
1 Corinthinthians: ìLove is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love isnít selfish or quick tempered. It doesnít keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful and trusting.î
A good breakfast featuring gallo pinto (rice and beans) sent us on our way north 2.5 hours to the subproject in San Lorenzo.
The families of the 316 sponsored children and 15 aging appreciate the program very much.
Arielís testimonial is an example of this gratitude: ìI am the son of humble parents. I have been sponsored since 2007. I am in my first year of secondary education. In order to reach school, I have to walk one half hour and ride a bus another half hour. My dream is to become a professional in order to serve my community, without neglecting the parents who have given me life.î
We have been movingÖ
Monday found us visiting the subprojects in Chinandega and Tuesday in Leon. On Wednesday, we visited the areas of Masaya and Granada, and on Thursday Ö on to the the city dump area of Acahualinca. CFCA began serving in the Acahualinca neighborhood nine years ago.
This is a sponsored family of 12 children in Acahualinca neighborhoodó9 children and parents in the photo. Working hard, they struggle to make it on about $3 per day total income.
There are so many stories of inspiration in this neighborhood. On the part mothers and grandmothers, I would call it heroism. We have three children sponsored in a family of 12 (ages 8 months to 17 years). The father, Juan, 45, works as a helper in a restaurant at the Oriental Market, earning the equivalent of US$100 per month. The mother, Leticia, also worked at a restaurant until the birth of their newest baby. They face the harsh reality of sometimes not being able to make ends meet, but harboring in their hearts great love and a drive for self-improvement that encourages them to keep trying. They are a united and loving family, who show qualities of responsibility and honesty. We are honored to have the family as part of our CFCA family in Nicaragua.
We spent this beautiful day in Project Masaya, celebrating Mass with sponsored families and staff. A cultural program followed, featuring poems and folk dances. One poem written by famed Cuban poet Jose Marti and recited by 9-year-old Laura stole the show:
“Cultivo una rosa Blanca
En junio como enero
Para el amigo sincero
Que me das su mano franca.
Y para el cruel que arranca
El Corazon con que vivo,
Cardo ni ortiga cultivo;
Cultivo la rosa blanca.”
“I cultivate a white rose
In June and January as well
For the sincere friend
Who offers me his honest hand.
And for the cruel person who rips out
The heart with which I live,
I cultivate neither thistle nor nettle;
I cultivate a white rose.”
Visits to families resulted in the shortening of distances between sponsors and children and the sponsorship of one new little girl, 7-year-old Neyling. We met 10 of our scholars at the attractive CFCA center in Masaya.
We say “hasta luego” to Nicaragua with many prayers in our hearts. May the Lord bless the people of Nicaragua and our sponsored families. May the Lord bless these dear sponsors on their journey forward and in their advocacy efforts, and may the Lord bless each of you, our beloved CFCA family.