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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Day 10: Cultural Day! 0 comments

Our Team:

  Today was such a fun day! We had the opportunity as a team to experience a cultural day together - where we could see and experience some of the land and culture of Nicaragua firsthand. We started our day by traveling to a local potter’s shop. The store is run by a woman and her son and family. We watched a detailed demonstration of how the pottery was made and how long it takes for one piece of pottery to be ready for sale, from start to finish (22 days!). The artistic craftsmanship of each piece is simply stunning! Afterwards, we spent some time shopping in the little store, deliberating and choosing pieces of pottery to bring back home. Each piece was carefully wrapped and packaged in order to ensure they arrive home safely.

     We left the potter’s store and traveled to a zip-lining company at the foot of the Mombacho Volcano. The lines run from tree top to tree top, passing over coffee plants and jungle forestation. The view is absolutely beautiful as you zip above the greenery! Even though some of us were nervous and uncertain as to whether or not we could do it, everyone went ziplining and had a blast as they rode the lines in a variety of styles including “Superman” (Or SuperChica), or upside down! Absolutely exhilarating!

    We had lunch at Tip Top Chicken in Masaya, a meal much like what you would find at KFC at home. Then we went to the famous Masaya Market for an hour of speed-shopping. The markets are packed with colourful items of clothing, paintings, jewelry, and tapestries. It is a busy, vibrant place where people shop and barter with the vendors.

    Our next stop was at Masaya Volcano. The Masaya is one of the active volcanoes, where you can actually see red hot lava at the bottom of the volcano - everyone was incredibly intrigued and enjoyed experiencing something so unique in person.      

    We stopped at Pizza Hut for supper (Yes … Pizza Hut!) and then ended the evening with a powerful and personal reflection time together as a team. What a great day!

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Day 9: Paint Strokes and Pool Splashes 0 comments

Our day started by watching a blacksmith presentation at the trade school on the grounds of the Nehemiah Centre. We watched a demonstration of how some of their beautiful ironworks were made and heard of the many areas where training and life-skills are taught throughout the school.

    Next, Peter made a presentation to the group, covering the history of Nicaragua. The presentation allowed us to understand more of the background of today’s people and culture in Nicaragua.

    Today was our second work day at the El Jordan school in Monte Fresco, where we worked to complete the paint job we had been given. It was an incredibly hot day (!!), but that didn’t stop our group from working diligently to complete the job in a thorough manner. Because we had worked so hard on our first work day and had accomplished so much, our job today was not as large as originally anticipated. This meant that we finished earlier than we thought we would and had an unplanned afternoon. We were given a sweet surprise … Peter saw the owner of the pool that we had visited earlier in the week, and he offered for us to use his pool again! What a great surprise! So we enjoyed an unplanned afternoon playing in the water and enjoying a relaxing afternoon together in the beautiful surroundings of the pool. What a pleasant surprise!

    Our evening again included a time of reflection, sharing and devotions, as well as time to Facetime home, play games and relax together.          

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Student Reflections: Lauren and Abbie (March 31) 0 comments

     Today was a day that wasn’t as busy as the other days, but it was still busy with new experience for all of us as a team! When we finished at our worksite, and the principal came and thanked us it really struck me that each segment of our trip is ending and for some of us, we won’t get to do this ever again or for a really long time. It really struck me how we’ve grown closer and more united as a team. It was really nice to be able to go to the pool, as a reward for how much we got done on the first work day, and finishing so quickly and working so well together to get us to the pool was really cool. Also, just having fun together at the pool, laying in the sun, and just being able to kick back, have fun and grow together as a team was really good for us. And something that’s important and meant for us on this trip. 

     - Lauren


     These past few days have been a blur filled with so much it can be difficult to recall everything that has come to pass. The farewells were sorrow-filled on both sides, tears were shed for the impact on our lives is something that will last a lifetime. The home visits were very touching, that they would allow us into their homes and willingly answer any question we threw at them. They are a beautiful people.

     - Abbie

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sweet Friendships and Hard Goodbyes 0 comments

 It is hard to believe how quickly this day came! We were at the place where we were finally feeling comfortable with our new friends … like we were getting to know each other on a deeper level. We talked together even with the language barrier, laughed together, played together, and truly desired to be together. And suddenly … it was the day where we would have to say, “Goodbye.”

    We started our morning with devotions, led by Gateway, where we discussed encouraging and spurring each other on. Then we took some time to tell each other what we were thankful for in each of the groups and our time spent together. It was an uplifting and affirming way to begin the day.

     We were divided into 5 groups and had the privilege of traveling to various students’ homes from the grade 11 class. In some situations, the homes were empty, as the parents were off working. And in other situations, we were able to meet their mother, parents, or even grandparents, and hear their stories and learn about their lives. The homes all varied in the size of the structure as well as the number of people dwelling there, just the same as at home. However, all were so proud to show us where they lived and give us a small snapshot of their lives. We were humbled by their openness, their deep faith that they so willingly shared, and the lack of desire for material things in order to find happiness or fulfilment.

    After lunch we enjoyed a “Talent Show” or a time of sharing with each other in the church sanctuary. Some of their classes sang songs in English and shared skits. Our team sang our song “Yo Tengo Gozo en mi Corazon” and performed our skit based on our team theme of “Love Needs No Translation.”  Lauren and Oscar also sang a beautiful song together. It was a wonderful time of sharing and celebrating together. The program ended with the teachers and students of Bautista presenting each of us with a gift, a locally made key hooks or wall plaques, colourful and representative of Nicaragua.

    We ended the day at the school by exchanging T-Shirts with each other and giving our Canadian gifts to their students. Many team pictures, group pictures and selfies were taken as we struggled to say “Goodbye” to one another. And suddenly … we were off!

    We went to the market for a brief time of shopping and then were treated to a restaurant where we had delicious El Salvadoran pupusas for supper. We were joined by Pablo and Elsa Gonzalez; Elsa was the Principal Pablo of our former partner school (she now teaches at NCA) and Pablo works for ACECEN. We were able to present Pablo with a $750 US cheque for school supplies for students in the ACECEN schools, all money raised by the Gateway community!

    We ended the day with our evening time of devotions, sharing and reflection. Tonight’s theme was one of gratefulness for the days we were able to spend with our friends at Bautista Libertad.

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