By: Vanessa M.
A few weeks ago I got the privilege of venturing to Nicaragua with my school, St. Roch C.S.S., as well as with students from St. Augustine C.S.S. I wanted to make a post about my experience but I think I found it hard to do so. I don’t think words completely and adequately describe my experience in Nicaragua, my phenomenal time with the community in Mozonte, and the time with my group/friends. Words are just not enough for me, but I do still want to share my thoughts about my time in Nicaragua (+ I told Maria I would). So, that is what I’ll do.
It seems like just yesterday my group and I were saying goodbye to our families. It seems like we were just arriving in Nicaragua yesterday and that we were taken back by how we even got there. Finally. Prior to that, we were planning, fundraising, getting ready, etc. At that moment, we were there and it felt so unreal. The fact that we were going to do something amazing by meeting new people and helping/working with others was extraordinary. This is something I dreamed of doing for a long time and I used to wonder how I possibly could ever do it. When I realized that I was about to reach one my dreams I felt ecstatic. I think my whole group did. All this set in when we stepped out of the airport in Managua. From that point on, we made memories in those 9 days.
The reason why I wanted to go on this trip was because I wanted to experience or witness a new reality, a new world, and new perspective. I wanted to meet new people, despite the language barrier. I suppose I felt a bit of imbalance in my life and I wanted to do something important in the world. I am so lucky because I not only got to do that, but also do that with an amazing group of individuals. Venturing to a new place seems a bit scary at times. However, I wasn’t scared because of the people I went with and the people I met.
There were so many things I saw in Nicaragua – many things that made me smile and some things that made me cry. The first time I cried was our second day in Mozonte. I felt like a billion thoughts were going through my mind and I didn’t know how to calm myself down. I felt guilty and a bit ashamed of the person I was back at home. I had a valuable talk with a few people and they made me feel better. They told me how they experienced the same feeling before. They made me see that I should not feel sad because I was surrounded by so much cheer and happiness in Mozonte. The children were a prime source of that. The community did not necessarily have everything in the world, but they did not need it because they were satisfied and happy with what they had. All they wanted was to simply connect with us, work with us, play with us, and share their stories so that we could then share them with others.
In Mozonte, I felt so at home there. While staying with my family, it did not even feel as if my real mom’s presence was absent. My host mom took her place by taking care of me when I got really sick and showing pure love. My entire family radiated love. I absolutely don’t know how to possibly thank them, because a simple ‘thank you’ would not do justice. I forever appreciate their humbleness and how welcoming they were. The language barrier did make it a bit difficult to communicate, but we tried to work it out by doing things like hand motions or signals. One day, I hope we will all be reunited and I’ll be able to speak more Spanish to them. Until then, we will continue to communicate through e-mail and I will have to work on my Spanish.
Okay well, I do not want to make this post any longer than it all ready is. I want to say that despite the rough times, the happy times conquer them completely. My experience in Nicaragua was life-changing. I wish I could name all the other good adjectives to describe it, but like I said before, words still would not be enough. After coming home, I did feel sad and a bit depressed –most of us did. But, we talked it out and now we look back on the great times we had together. This experience brought us so much closer. We miss the people, Casa Canadiense, Mozonte and the children who brightened up our days even when the sun was already shining, and so much more. We made incredible memories in Nicaragua and we are all talking about going back there next year. And I can’t wait because I really want to do this trip again!
In retrospect, I can say that this experience has engraved itself in my heart. I would like to thank our teachers, my group, Casa Candiense for offering this opportunity, Dave (our translator/doctor/organizer/tour guy/educator/everything else awesome), Carolle, Maria, and all those who helped support this trip. Without all of you, this would have never been possible. Thank you.
The 2013 St. Roch Nicaragua Delegation