If you wish to take your family on a one-week adventure that will affect not only your lives but the lives of thousands of children and their families, I have just the trip for you.
Last summer I was an intern with a missions program that gave me the opportunity to travel to Managua, Nicaragua. It wasn’t only to have a great vacation experience, but also to volunteer at feeding stations, farms, orphanages, and deliver food to some of the poorest families in the city.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
I along with nineteen others arrived in Managua not knowing the full impact we would have on these people. We boarded a bus from the airport which took us right down the street to the extravagant Camino Real Hotel. There we experienced gorgeous gardens, a swimming pool, tennis courts, spas, food, and an exotic bird cage. I highly recommend the Camino Real to anyone who decides to visit Nicaragua for themselves.
During our stay we traveled to a volcano that was simply stunning. We also enjoyed the street buffets that I believe have the best food in the world. If shopping is your thing, then the local markets are just the place to be.
Although everything was picture perfect, there was another aspect of this trip that I loved the most. The real reason I would recommend you visit Managua would be to meet the people who call this paradise home. I want to give you just a few of their stories and how each of them changed my life.
On our first day we sat with the community women and harvested beans. We also peeled, bagged, and loaded them on trucks. Later that evening, we prepared food for the village children. While I sat with these incredible people, I watched as they were very careful not to waste even one. Every single bean would be used to keep a child from hunger. I tried to ask as many questions as I could with my limited Spanish ability and was surprised to learn that these people labor each day for only food. They come just so they can get food in their stomach and have the satisfaction of knowing that the next generation won’t succumb to starvation. I sat there with tears realizing that while these precious people live meal by meal, I stress over the simplest things. For the first time, I was really seeing, and knowing I should be doing more with my life than just existing. I was suddenly distracted by the flood of children coming from a distance holding their little cups and plates to receive their only meal of the day. Yes, this was really seeing.
In that week, I felt both happiness and heartache. I experienced happiness from knowing I was helping in some small way and heartache as I watched children eating rotten food in a landfill. Before leaving, I listened to a little orphan girl as she told me that children here weren’t even considered citizens. They didn’t have birth certificates because they were so poor. She said that speaking English could change that, and her chances for a better life would triple.
I realized from that trip exactly what I am going to do with my life. My plans are to get a degree in education and spend my summers in Nicaragua teaching the children there to speak English and giving them a chance, a chance at a better future.
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