April 3, 2016

I Hate Goodbyes

Gateway 2016 School2School HANDS Team:

Today was a hard day. Students have been preparing for this trip for an entire year. They have fundraised, studied and packed, they have prayed, planned and traveled far. Today we had to say goodbye to the students that we have become so fond of at Bautista Libertad. A school of 500 students crammed into a hot, dusty, loud little school in downtown Managua. Their smiles and cheer, deep brown eyes and love for neighbour will go with us as we leave this place. It is hard to believe we have spent 10 days here already. And while we still have a full day on the worksite, there are many relationships that for now, are put on hold. Students exchanged Facebook information and took selfies together, but the time for being together is over, and that can be difficult.

It wasn't all tears and hugs today though. We started the day with devotions at Bautista Libertad - we discussed the health of the body, and how the Body of Christ is now evident to us as the church around the world, not just the different people that make up the church we attend.

Students then helped with small painting jobs around the school. A group of Gateway students helped paint a mural on Bautista's school walls. It was drawn and planned out by a teacher at the school and came out great!

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It seemed like health day at Bautista. In the corner of the school there is a little pulperia (snack shop) run by a local family. They sell mostly chips/pop/snacks. There are a few healthier items (plantain chips and pizza...). This little store does remarkably well. The majority of students purchase something there during recess. Today, a teacher and a few of the grade 10 students had a table set up across the courtyard with beautiful fresh fruit set out on it. They had pineapples, papaya, watermelon, cantelope, bananas and some unidentified small fruits that students could also buy. They sold out! I was so happy for them. There was also a group of nurses that came to the school today to attend to the health of some of the youngest primary students. They were given needles, a small tablet that dissolves in the mouth to get rid of parasites, and liquid vitamins. This happens a couple of times a year, and students are usually vaccinated for similar things to Canadian students: diptheria, polio, tetanus, measles, mumps and rubella. What a blessing that these diseases are nearly eradicated around the world, and in a country like this, where more diseases are around, and some hard to control, especially encouraging to see!

The little boys and girls were lined up for their shots, and after seeing one little girl cry when she got her needle, I took a picture of a little boy, who stoically approached the nurses, rolled up his own sleeve and gritted his teeth. Fuerte!

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After lunch with the Bautista students (beans/rice/plantains for the 21 time in case you're counting) it was time for the annual talent show. This has continued to improve over the years. Bautista students take it very seriously, and Gateway students realize over the course of the week that there is some practicing that should be done before they get on stage. This year there were fewer entrants, but of higher quality. A beautiful duet between a cello and violin. A couple of powerful skits, a sweet rendition of 10,000 Reasons highlighted BL's contributions. And Gateway responded (not that it's a competition!) with the Cup Song, Maki's rap, Zach/Bailey duet, Luke/Brayden playing Heart and Soul. What a fun time!

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The talents were done, it was then time for goodbyes. The students presented each Gateway kid with a small gift. We gave gifts to the grade 11s. We took pictures. Lots of pictures! Then onto the bus and back to the Nehemiah Center.

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Karla Maria
Apr 6, 2016 at 10:46 am

Sounds like a fun and emotional day at Bautista. Its a blessing that the team has been able to build friendships over the last 2 weeks with the community in Nicaragua.

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