Thirteen students, along with Mary Gregg, MS, RN, CNM, and Kathy Fernandez, PhD, RN, and their families, traveled to Nicaragua on a mission trip May 24-31. The MCCN contingent — which also included students Kourtnee Baird, Martha Bowers, Shaakira Case, Alvie Gaiser, Paige Hadley, Jessica Householder, Rebekah Hunt, Jeni Joyce, Alisan Miller, Carolanne Pearson, Alison Quinlan, Stephanie Rienschield and Deven Riley — was among four large college and high school groups totaling 80 people that stayed at a mission called Amigos for Christ in the city of Chinandega, about a two-hour drive north of Managua, the capitol of Nicaragua. This was the fifth trip for MCCN to the Amigos for Christ mission.

On the first day, all volunteers traveled to a national park to climb one of Nicaragua's active volcanos, El Cerro Negro. After that, they got down to work. Volunteers traveled to Valle los Morenos to dig trenches and lay pipe that will ultimately supply the community with clean, fresh drinking water and plumbing in their homes. The group also visited the schools El Moto and Miguel Christiano while Amigos for Christ staff instructed children about drinking clean water and washing hands. Volunteers also visited community members' homes where women demonstrated their fuel efficient, indoor kitchen stoves installed by Amigos. MCCN then visited a long-term care facility where students danced and ate lunch with elderly Nicaraguans. The afternoon was spent exploring Chinandega. The following day, all volunteers went to Monserrat to play soccer and softball. Unfortunately, some volunteers from each group, including MCCN, missed some activities because of illness. Evenings were spent at the mission to talk about the day, journal their experiences, play music and pingpong.

“My favorite part of the trip was experiencing Nicaragua through the eyes of my family and the students,” said Bragg. “Five of our MCCN students had been on previous trips to Amigos. I loved seeing them reconnect with familiar friends and build on their experience with more confidence and insight. Of the students experiencing the trip for the first time and for my family, I love watching them interact with the people, develop friendships, help one another and contrast life in Nicaragua with life in the United States,” she said.

Students and staff who participated in the mission trip will be presenting their experiences at a special Lunch and Learn scheduled for Monday, September 8, at noon. A location will be announced closer to the date of the event.

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