The Past two days have been pretty intense here in Nicaragua.
On Wednesday we went to Chaco Cente, a working farm out in the country, where former captives of La Chureca are living, farming, going to school, and participating in a community where they are able to grow, feel safe, experience redemption through Christ, and be free of the identity of a person from the dump. The school on the property is now open to local residents, and they said that it is the best school in the area. Parents have pulled their children from the public school, and now send them to Chaco Cente.
A few years ago, Chaco Cente was having problems with the water system. The city water was shut off in that area, and the newly freed residents began complaining that they were better off in La Chureca. “At least there we had water, here we have none, maybe we should just go back.” Deosnt that sound an awful lot like the Israelites after Moses helped bring them out of slavery in Egypt?
The solution was a simple one, build a well. Now there is no fear of running out of water for a very long time.
Later that afternoon, we went to visit Dan and Jessenia’s girls home. We went on a hike to this beautiful hill, and after a while of laughter, and taking in a beautiful view, we sat down to talk with the girls. As we talked Alesca, the oldest girls started to tell her story of sexual abuse by her uncle, and how no one believed her story till it happened again. Finally she was believed. She had never spoke of it to anyone, and as her voice shook and tears poured, she found freedom.
Tags: la chureca love light and melody Nicaragua NWCC photojournalism
The dump has continued to get smaller over the past year. Construction is under way to build a recycling center in the dump, which will employ local workers, but the construction which started last year, seems to be going very slow.
When we arrived in the dump, we stopped at the local school, and visited with some children for a short time, while Dan spoke to us about what caused people to stay in La Chureca. The loss of value in their life, the struggle of rules in the outside world, the fear of rejection, like an abused woman who goes back to her abuser, or a drug addict who cant kick the habit after a near death overdose, these hold the people of the dump captive. In a cycle of constant struggle. With little chance of freedom, until their spirit is healed.
WE met a woman named Jessenia, (not Dans’ wife) who is living with AIDS. The Doctors give her only a few more years to live. She recently was given her own home in the dump, and she invited us in with pride, to a small shack, that I fear could barely hold up to a heavy wind. She invited us in, and as she told us her story, I was struck by the faith that this woman posses. She believes that God will heal her, and that alone, shows a stronger faith than I have. After a 10 or so hot stifling minutes, we walked outside and prayed with her before we continued on our way through the dump. For us a moment of insight into her world and disease, for her a life fraught with the knowledge that this virus will end up taking her life. Very possibly sooner, rather than later.
Praying for Jessenia outside her home
a child stands outside his home, where a day earlier, someone entered and stole all the food his family had, as he played soccer with friends
Sun sets on another day in Nicaragua
Tags: Dan Speicher mission trips Nicaragua. la chureca non profit photography Non Profits/NGO's northway christian community photojournalism pittsburgh photojournalist travel photographer
Morning in the compund
Today will be our first day in the dump. It has been what I consider oppressively hot, but everyone who lives here considers it cool.
We had a great first day yesterday. We went to a wonderful church service in Managua, and it is amazing how different cultures, speaking different languages, can worship and pray together, as one body of the church.
The team met the kids from the girls home that Dan and Jessenia run, for the first time. Wow! They treated the girls, like they were cousins. I havent heard so much screaming and laughter for a long time, and it does ones soul a service to see kids just being kids, and college students acting like kids, both laughing, running, and singing at the top of their lungs.
We spent a good amount of time in the car, doing a loop from Managua to Masaya, and finally ending at the girls home, before finally heading home to the compound. Yesterday was a day of acclimation. Today will be a day of doing. Meeting people in the dump, most likely spending time at a school in the dump, and walking through seeing the oppression that weighs heavily on this small community.
Im not sure how much I’ll be blogging. I will be shooting lots of photos, but I dont want to post for the sake of posting. I want to be putting together a story to really show what Dan and Jessenia do here, so I may decide to just blog with photos from my iphone. but not today. Enjoy
P.S. Be sure to check out the trip blog @ www.mission2nicaragua.wordpress.com
Fresh Mango in the morning
Girls and a Clown; Lunch Sunday afternoon
Dan and Elias
Tags: Dan Speicher documentary la chureca love light and melody managua Nicaragua non profit photography Non Profits/NGO's Northway Christ photojournalism
A room with a view
Late last night, I arrived safely in Nicaragua with the NWCC team. Dan and Jessenia Bain met us at the Managua airport.
I had planned this on being a longer introduction, but i wasnt saving often enough, and when I went to publish the post, my internet had kicked out and I lost everything. So here are a few photos since I am heading to breakfast.
Tags: Dan Speicher managua mission trip Nicaragua Non Profits/NGO's northway christian community photojournalist
Today begins the second trip to Managua, Nicaragua with Northway Christian Community in less than a year. We are going to work with our friends and partners Dan and Jessenia Bain. If you didnt follow along last year, you can catch up with what happend last year HERE and follow the group blog that Pastor Doug Melder will be maintaining here.
I am seriously looking forward to this trip, and will be working later on with Dan and Doug to create a blog for Dans work in Nicaragua. This is a chance to relax and prepare before I head to Cameroon for seven weeks with the Cameroon Football Development Program. We will be using soccer as a platform to leverage HIV/AIDS education to students at more than 10 schools around the country.
As is always my style, or so it seems, I had to take a quick trip to Washington, D.C. yesterday to get my passport from the Cameroonian Embassy because I wasn’t going to receive it through the mail in time to make my flight at 830 this morning.
Im trying something different this year. I am trying to simplify my life. So one test of that, is I will be living out of a cary-on, and the only other thing that I brought is my camera gear and computer. The idea is that I can actually live as simply as I long to… Proof below:
Tags: love light and melody Nicaragua non profit photography Non Profits/NGO's northway christian community photojournalism
Both images (C) Dan Speicher 2011 captured and edited on iPhone4