The first trip is almost here!
I’m going to Nicaragua for 11 days starting April 11th . . . and the possibilities are wide open. I’ll be meeting up with and helping as many different types of programs as possible so I can experience them firsthand. Thanks to Patrick Hale at the Rockway Foundation for tipping me off to the great work being done there!
Here’s what the trip cost me –
- Plane ticket: $789 . . . ouch. Ya, $111.90 of that is taxes and fees . . .
- Passport: $260.12 . . . ya, I procrastinated so I had to pay extra to have it expedited.
- 2 days “service” time and 7 days PTO paid by Wells Fargo (woot woot!)
Then its just lodging, transportation, and food (mmmm, handmade tortillas, slow-cooked beans, and carne asada . . . with a touch of diarrhea for me when I get back!).
Now I’m just working on contacting all the groups I want to work with. Here are the categories I’m going for:
- Micro-finance. (very small loans made to people who otherwise could never pull out of poverty by themselves. I loan you $30 of fertilizer and you pay me back a couple of months later, and you can use the excess for more seed the next time! I love this model). Thanks to Steve Wanta (Whole Planet Foundation) for helping me with this.
- Artisan helpers. (help skilled artists make products that will sell here in the U.S. instead of for pennies on the dollar locally or to tourists. This opens a huge market for them but still has to compete with factory production on price or sell their story well). Check out ALDEA and CTC International
- Infrastructure builders. (clean water wells, schools, city buildings). I’ll be meeting up with Project Schoolhouse once I’m down there, but unfortunately our schedule didn’t match so I can’t work with them in their outlying project – so I’m looking for others as well!
- Government programs (there is a Spain sponsored project to fix “La Chureca” – a problem that’s been around for over 40 years – and its making great progress). Look at these guy’s photo’s.
- Education. (renting books out to kids, teaching english, replacing black boards with white boards, small computer labs). Check out the work of the Rockway Foundation!
- Food, hygiene, and clothing.
- Medicine and disease prevention.
- Religious sponsored groups. (Forever a skeptic, I just want to see what the mix of helping/preaching is!)
Other than that . . . its all about the people. I’ll spend my time talking with individuals, interviewing them, and seeing what their day to day life is like – and their biggest challenges, and just having a blast getting to know them! I’m looking forward to some great relationships and a great trip!