Christina Faria is a student at Worcester State University (WSU) who joined MPI Nicaragua in March of 2018 on a week-long Alternative Spring Break trip. She and the other WSU students spent the week shadowing MPI's health, education, and livelihood programs as well as working on a special project with the kids after school program, Camp JAM. The following blog includes some of her reflections on the experience.
When I signed up to travel to Nicaragua on an Alternative Spring Break trip to work with Manna Project International I really had no idea how incredible this experience would be. Five Worcester State University students and I got together before the trip to brainstorm and plan some activities for the Camp JAM kid's after school program we would be working with while in Nicaragua. We decided to make tie dye shirts and also bring little banners that the kids could decorate for an art exhibition with their families. Let me tell you, the excitement on the faces of these children will forever be in my mind. I am not exaggerating when I say that the entire experience was filled with the most genuine laughter, happiness, and joy. I honestly don’t know who loved it more, the Camp JAM kids or us.
It is actually very difficult for me to find the right words to describe how life changing my trip to Nicaragua was. Spending a week in the Manna House and having the opportunity to live and work with all the Program Directors was such a unique, eye-opening experience. I believe the reason they work so well together is because everyone is there for the same common purpose: to serve the local communities. I was just amazed at how well everyone shared the space and responsibilities. Everyone was so friendly and always willing to share or help in any way they could!
Arthur and Susan were our lead PD’s. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a better duo! They greeted us at the airport with friendly faces and open arms. They really and truly were the engine that kept things running. Every single day, they worked hard to accommodate us in any way we needed. They spent a lot of time planning and making sure that every day went smoothly. I am so grateful for all of the time I spent with them. They are truly two of the most incredible people I have ever met in my life.
I have been back in the states for about 3 weeks now. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how much I learned in Nicaragua. I am constantly thinking about how positive the energy was, how friendly all the people were, and just how unbelievably beautiful of a place in the world Nicaragua is. My service in Nicaragua was just one week of my life, but it certainly left an imprint on my heart that I will cherish always.