Seeds of Learning Service Trip to Nicaragua
In October, ten members of our church embarked on a trip to Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Sponsored by FCC, we participated in a pre-school building project in La Laguna, a remote coffee growing community in the Nicaraguan highlands. The building and cultural exchange program was one of many organized by the nonprofit Seeds of Learning.
Our part of the project was to paint the inside of the classrooms and add an entrance; and, along the way, to meet the students, read some stories, teach a few crafts and get to know them and their teachers. Many of the parents are working to support their children’s education, and to get degrees themselves in agriculture, for example, to improve their coffee cultivation without relying on expensive and ultimately destructive fertilizers and pesticides.
We stayed in the small city of Matagalpa and traveled by truck and van to the work site each day, drinking in the weird combination of hot sun and cool mountain air. Seeds of Learning in-country staff, Mina and Chamba have worked with many groups from the U.S. and they taught us a great deal about the dignity and resourcefulness of communities that have seen more than their share of civil war and suffering, often abetted by U.S. government and corporate interests.
When we expressed self-consciousness about our own wealth and privilege, Chamba said that the people of the community have told him that they feel that we come from the U.S. to teach them something about helping others who are not part of our family, village or country. He said that many recognize and admire about Americans – not the government and not everybody – but many Americans are moved to leave their comfortable homes and go work alongside others to help where they can.
Seeds of Learning, with its in-country headquarters in Ciudad Dario, has worked wonders, creating lovely, organized and safe places for children to learn and provide support for the teachers with books and teaching materials.
Trip participants: Rev. Nancy Taylor, Brian Smucker, Alexanne Bassett, Patricia Henley, Nancy Denkin, Ellen LaBruce, Kathy Randles, Laura DeWald, Kasandra Elliott, and Megan Riddell.