Crossroads Comes to Town: Part 1
Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!
Around 1 AM on Sunday morning the first team from our home church, Crossroads Community Church, arrived at the Managua airport, ready to begin their adventure in Nicaragua. Similar to last year, Crossroads, in conjunction with our Nicaraguan partners, are focusing on a number of different areas, including healthcare, education, agriculture, construction and relationship building with the kids in the community and at the orphanage. This is where the trip started on Sunday morning. After a few hours of sleep, the team arrived at El Canyon to attend the Sunday morning church service and to enjoy a cookout with the kids from the orphanage thanks to the cooking of Maria Jose and her team. Once everyone had their fill of burgers and french fries, the team kicked off an afternoon of fun that included a volleyball tournament, a puppet show, a little lacrosse and other fun games.
On Monday morning the group split up to begin their respective projects. The healthcare team’s first clinic was in El Canyon, where they saw 151 patients over the course of the day. On Tuesday the medical team headed to a new community just south of El Canyon. Different from El Canyon, this small community receives little assistance and has never hosted a health clinic to our knowledge. The team saw over 160 patients, which was a huge blessing to this very impoverished community. On Thursday the healthcare team headed to Veracruz to do a half-day clinic. In addition to working in Nicaraguan communities, the team has had the opportunity to partner with Nicaraguans, including Doctor Don, a local nurse, and our great team of translators.
The education team also began its project on Monday morning in El Canyon. Over the past two years, we have learned that teachers in Nicaragua receive very little training and funds for materials such as crafts. For this reason, the team put together a craft to do with each class at the Martin Luther King primary school in El Canyon as a way to interact with the students and to give the teachers an example of something they could do. The education team also did this in the Bethel primary school, which is also overseen by the director of the school in El Canyon. On Thursday the team went to Veracruz do a skit for the students at Colegio Verbo. In addition to working in the schools, the education team helped to organize some of the school supplies that were collected by people at Crossroads.
The agriculture team started off their trip by visiting some of the community and family gardens Job, our agriculture specialist, has initiated in El Canyon. After visiting the gardens, the team began their first family garden by building a trellis for Granadia fruit plants and planting squash plants on the side of a hill. The team repeated this process with three other families over the course of the week. The hope is that these gardens will help the families be more self-sustainable by providing food and produce to sell. Our plan is to partner with each of the families over the first year of their production so that they will be properly trained and ready to keep it going for years to come.
On Tuesday morning the construction team started their first project. In Nicaragua rainy season means torrential downpours, which can cause huge problems without proper drainage. This was the case at the Bethel School. Due to the angles of the roofs, the outside hallways at the school become lakes during a rain storm. In order to solve this problem, the construction team partnered with two Nicaraguan builders to put gutters on the school. Shortly after one section of the gutters was installed, a rain storm arrived. Instead of the hallways filling with water, the gutters did their job and the kids were able to play a game where their once would have been a pond. On Thursday the team completed a roofing project for one of the families in El Canyon. This is a huge blessing to a family that would not have been able to do the project on their own.
On Wednesday afternoon, the team had the chance to visit Laguna de Apoyo, a lagoon formed by a sunken volcano. The team members were able to get some much needed rest and enjoyed the beauty of Nicaragua.
The trip to Nicaragua has been a great blessing to everyone involved, but it is just the beginning. Check in next week for Crossroads Comes to Town: Part 2!
– James Belt