Dates: March 1-9, 2014 (Notre Dame Spring Break)
Cost: $1,800 – Plus cost of passport (if participant does not have one), immunizations, and spending money for travel/souvenirs.
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and home to 6 million people. The population is multiethnic, including indigenous native peoples, Europeans, Africans, Asians, and people of Middle Eastern origin. NIcaragua has a warm tropical climate, active volcanoes and is considered a biodiversity hotspot. Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Americas. 48% of the population lives below the poverty line and 80% of the people live on less than $2 per day.
We are traveling to Nicaragua in partnership with International Partners in Mission (IPM). IPM works with community-based organizations around the world that serve the needs of children, women, and youth. They strive to provide opportunities for partnership that are personal and effective, Their Immersion Experience Program allowins donors and friends to engage directly with communities across the globe.
Our group will travel in and around the capital while learning about Nicaragua’s political history and captivating people. The group will visit IPM’s Project Partners in the country and learn how local groups are working today to promote justice, peace, and hope for children, women and youth. Examples of some of the project partners that will be visited are:
Mujer y Comunidad - The goal of this program is to provide accessible healthcare to the population of the municipality of San Francisco Libre. This community has significant problems with child malnutrition, a lack of education beyond primary school, and a prevalence domestic violence. Mujer y Comunidad offers a number of services to the community including, holistic health, defense of women, sexual abuse prevention, and programs to educate children and youth.
Teen Night School - This program provides secondary education to teenagers who work during the day to support their families. The school is located in one of the poorest areas of Managua, where the crime rate is high and economic opportunities are few, where teenagers work in the informal market, often selling food and washing car windshields. The curriculum at the Teen Night School condenses a six-year secondary education into three one-year terms and offers evening classes so that the students can still work to support their families.
Students will also meet with the Sisters of Notre Dame who will share their work of reaching out to the poor and marginalized by addressing issues of oppression, violence and injustice, and ministering to people in many kinds of need, especially women and children.
Tentative Trip Itinerary:
Day 1: Saturday - Arrive in Nicaragua and go on a tour of Managua, the country’s capital city.
Day 2: Sunday - Continue tour of Managua and surrounding areas.
Day 3: Monday - Travel to San Francisco Libre to spend the day with IPM Project Partner, Mujer y Comunidad, which trains women in six villages in domestic violence prevention skills, income generating activities, and more.
Day 4: Tuesday - Meet with the Sisters of Notre Dame at the parish of Sangre de Cristo, as well as visit nearby mountain villages where they minister, which are among the poorest areas of Nicaragua.
Day 5: Wednesday - Learn about Nicaraguan history and present day challenges at La Casa de Jaime Mayer, visit the Women’s Sewing Cooperative and spend the rest of the day sharing with the families of Teen Night School, an evening school for at-risk youth.
Day 6: Thursday - Meeting with Yamelete about La Chureca (Managua Garbage Dump) and also learning about her cooperative Esperanza en Accion.
Day 7: Friday - Visit IPM Project CEPROSI (Center for Education and the Promotion of Holistic Health) to learn about women and children’s health promotion programs and income generating projects for this rural community.
Day 8: Saturday - Visit the town of Masaya, and spend the morning at the local artisan market, followed by a visit to Masaya National Park and Volcán Mombacho, an active volcano.
Day 9: Sunday - Depart for the United States.
Students have the option of enrolling in a unique course about Latin America, focusing on Nicaragua and Guatemala (BU291, International Immersion - Latin America, 3 credits, Wednesdays 5-7 PM, Spring 2014). This course will count for the Arch 2 requirement. The course is relevant to students with an interest in social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, and international business. Students who have studied the Spanish language, have been involved in campus ministry, or have an interest in Latin America will find the course very valuable. It is assumed that all students in the class will travel to either Nicaragua during Spring Break or to Guatemala in May of 2014.
Participants should expect simple accommodations. We will stay at family owned guest houses with which we have an existing relationship. Participants should also expect to eat the local food. The food is simple, safe and filling, with rice, chicken and bean dishes being the most common meal served during the trip. All food allergies and restrictions including vegetarians and vegans will be accommodated.