Mission Trip to Nicaragua - My Family Travels

I recall staring into a portion of cut out ground, a hole, approximately 6 ft on each side containing several bodies. Meanwhile, the blistering sun beat down upon my shoulders while around me wild animals approached ever closer. In the distance, twin volcanoes broke the horizon, preeminent in the noon-time sky. The sounding of a bell, and the resultant rush of Nicaraguan students out of the primitive classrooms, awakened me from my reverie. I realized the bodies below were fatigued members of my mission trip group, whose perspiring masses appeared to converge into one lifeless being through my sweat-filled eyes. My colleagues and I were working on the future site of what would be hailed as a miracle by the children there, indoor plumbing.

The experience that would change my view of the world began towards the end of the summer of 2008: a two week long mission trip to a poverty stricken, secluded town located on Ometepe Island, a chunk of land located in the middle of the landlocked Lake Nicaragua. Our group, a collection of college underclassmen and me, left from Orlando to begin our expedition to Nicaragua through the World Leadership School organization*. The travel time was a full day, tempered by my excitement of being able to experience the culture of another country, conversing in Spanish full-time, and the almost perceivable sense of adventure which filled the air.

The task of relaying the conditions and experiences I had while in Nicaragua is daunting. Any average American is so dependent upon what are today considered necessities, that they do not realize what luxuries other people would consider them. Electricity, warm water for a shower, and sanitary drinking water are taken for granted in America. Even more pressing is the abject destitution of the people that I met, in the form of clothes washed and dried in the river, crude materials for construction transported to and from their source by an ox cart with a Roman coliseum like design, and similar examples.

However, simple rural life has its share of perquisites to compensate for the dearth of luxuries. The qualities of human nature can come out, unspoiled by the greed and lust that plague many materialistic Americans. For instance, a bicycle was donated by my group to a dozen local boys who were able share it without any contention. I benefited from these encounters in many ways: I was foremost humbled by the experience and also presented with opportunities to use my gifts to help out these people. I was able to facilitate several English classes for the Nicaraguans to prepare them for a rising tourism industry and to contribute to a positive boost to their economy. The experience gave me the knowledge that I can make the world a better place to live. This has strengthened my desire to become a doctor, so that one day I may return to Nicaragua and give back for the most valuable lessons I have ever learned.  

*The World Leadership is an organization created “to unite young people around the world’s most pressing problems and empower them to become leaders.”  See http://www.worldleadershipschool.com/index.html for more information regarding their activities.  A blog and picture slideshow pertaining to the trip may be accessed via the following web address: http://valencia-nicaragua-2008.blogspot.com/


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