More News on the Nicaragua Intergenerational Mission Trip (scheduled for the end of June)

More News on the Nicaragua Intergenerational Mission Trip (scheduled for the end of June)

Here’s some more info. the trip to Nicaragua… this time from the Presbyterian USA Missionary assigned to work with CEPAD, the Protestant Council of Churches in Nicaragua that will be planning our trip…
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A Sample Itinerary:

Sixth Presbyterian church, Pittsburg, PA
June 16 – 28, 2011

CEPAD Staff: Anita Taylor, 85523-04 (cell); Doug Orbaker, 2289-0301, 8740-5082 (cell); Luis Vasquez 8987-8536; Harold Blandon 8639-6488, 8477-7903; Yelba Rivera 8842-5551

Lodging in Managua: CEPAD Nehemiah Guest house (NGH), tel: 270-5017 or 270-5018. Taxi directions: de la Rotonda El Periodista, 200 varas al sur, 200 varas arriba, contiguo a la Universidad del Valle.

Delegation Objectives:
To reflect as Christians how we can be more faithful as we learn about and try to understand other cultures.
To get to know Nicaraguans in their daily life with all the challenges and hopes they have, spiritually, socially, economically and politically.

Thursday, June 16
8:25 pm arrive, TACA Flights 315, transfer to CEPAD Nehemias

Friday, June 17
7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Introductions, general orientation, review of schedule
10:00 am Intro to CEPAD & its relationship with PCUSA,
12:00 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Presentation on the history and current politics of Nicaragua,
3:30 pm Tour of Managua city
6:00 pm Diner
Evening – Learning activity about how Nicaragua fits into the world economy

Saturday, June 18
7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am leave for Matagalpa and CEPANA (The CEPAD Model Farm)
12:00 pm lunch at CEPANA
1:30 pm tour of CEPANA, work on the farm
6:00 pm Dinner

Sunday – June 19
7:30 am Breakfast
10:00 am Church in the community
12:30 pm Lunch at CEPANA
Afternoon – visit with kids, hike, relax
or Visit weaving co-op in El Chile
6:00 pm Dinner

Monday, June 20
7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Visit the local health post to learn about health care in Nicaraguan
10:30 am visit School nearby, learn about education in Nicaragua.
12:00 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Work on the farm
6:00 pm Dinner
Evening – debriefing of CEPAD farm, discussion of homestays in El Porvenir

Tuesday, June 21
7:00 am breakfast at farm
8:30 am Leave for El Porvenir
12:00 pm Lunch in Leon
Dinner in El Porvenir

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, June 22,23,23 in El Porvenir

Saturday, June 25 Breakfast in El Porvenir, Say “Goodbye,” leave, go to beach, lunch at beach, overnight and dinner at Hostel in Leon

Sunday, June 26 Breakfast in Hostal in Leon, then return to Managua
12:00 pm Lunch at CEPAD Nehemias
1:30 pm Final Reflection time
6:00 pm Dinner with the PCUSA Mission workers in Nicaragua

Monday, June 27
7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Leave for tour day
Lunch & Dinner in restaurants

Tuesday, June 28
10:00 am leave for airport for TACA Flight 7716 at 12:40 pm

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“We never have had a problem with youth wandering around by themselves. Our center in Managua is away from any place where kids might want to wander.

Once in a while we have tried to give a group a look at the lives of wealthier Nicaraguans by going to a mall, and they can wander there very securely. In the communities, there just isn’t anything to do, most people go to bed shortly after dark. (MICHAEL’S EDITORIAL COMMENT: The malls are just malls, except that the common areas are actually usually open-aired, though roofed plazas. Only interesting to me if you are really tired of the difficulties of life in a poor country, and need to escape and pretend that you are someplace more like back home. For the shortness of our stay, I don’t think that will be an issue.)

The work that groups do varies by time and place. In January some housing construction will start in some of the communities near Matagalpa. In May/June we will be working on a storage building on the CEPAD farm, and also working on setting out about 60,000 coffee tree seedlings. (MICHAEL AGAIN: looks like we will be on the CEPAD farm.)

Yes, living for a few days with a family that you don’t know is difficult, especially when there is such a cultural & language difference – I don’t want to act like that doesn’t exist. However, I can assure you that someone in CEPAD staff and leadership does know every family that offers home hospitality and has confidence in them. Very few families have the space to put up 2 people of different gender unless they are a couple. Usually it is 2 or 3 women in one place, 2 or 3 men in another. Very rarely do we have one person alone unless that person has visited Nicaragua before.

Congregations vary in different communities. At the CEPAD farm, there is a congregation building a new building about 500 yards up the road. We have had very close relationship with this group and most groups go there for worship. In other communities we have sometimes split and had people in 2 or even 3 congregations for worship depending on the size of the group. (MICHAEL: many Protestant congregations are very small, and their buildings or thatched roof “rancheros” are even smaller, so they could not necessarily welcome all 10 or 12 of us.)

Arriving on one of the Midday flights (American, Continental and Delta all do) is a little bit more convenient in terms of program for us, but often less convenient for groups that have to make a couple of flights to get here. We are glad to have you come whenever you can get here. A couple of people in the group with which i am working now had to leave their homes at 3:30 am to get the connecting flight to be her midday. An evening flight would have been much better for them. See what works for you and we will work around it. (MICHAEL: I think we should rough it, make the 6 am flight, and get to Managua about 12 noon or 1 pm. This is deliberate: it’s much more inviting to arrive in Managua for the first time in daylight; at night, it can seem sort of menacing…)

Usually we do welcome. introductions, orientation, a bit of history and current situation of Nicaragua, and introduction to who/what CEPAD is/does here in our center before groups head out to communities where groups do their service projects and work with families.

We then come back into Managua in time for a full day of “touristy” stuff before going back. A typical day for a first-time group might include the Masaya Volcano, a tour of the islands near Granada, some time hanging out in the central square of Granada, and a chance for souvenir shopping at the Masaya Market. We usually finish off the evening before with a nice dinner out.

Sometimes a group wants to schedule an overnight in another (more touristy) place and we can make those arrangements also. It depends on your timeline. (MICHAEL: We need to figure out how much time we have. Nicaragua is a small country, and CEPAD’s long day of touristy will let us see the high spots, but it will be a long day after our days of service work. If we wanted to have an overnight at the beach or climb the tropical rain forest volcano on the south end of the island of Ometepe (where at the top of the volcano there is this crater lagune called Ojo de Dios (the eye of God) that resembles Jurrasic Park), we could just add that on, and maybe get a bit of vacation, restful or active.)

Hope all this helps. We understand the parental concern. I can assure you that we’ve never had a youth get lost, and the only injury I can remember was a young man who tripped playing basketball and chipped a tooth. The same accidents can happen at home or here, but we work very hard to prevent them.”