May 31, Tuesday – June 3, Thursday
On Tuesday we took a field trip to the small town (pop. 3,500) of San Juan del Oriente, where most of the locals work in some capacity producing artisan pottery. In addition to buying souvenirs, we learned about how the pottery is made, what some of the artistic designs on the pottery represent, what kind of revenue it brings families, and how pottery became this town’s main industry. Later we had lunch overlooking a large, gorgeous volcanic lake. In the afternoon we visited the Brazos Abiertos (armsoflove.org) orphanage, a wonderful ministry where we entertained the kids by playing some baseball and soccer with them. U.S. missionary Ted Rodgers told us how he heard God’s call to go serve in this ministry, without knowing where a salary would come from, but he knew God would provide. Today the orphanage provides a wide range of holistic services to about 50 children, caring for them even after they go on to college.
On Wednesday we talked with some of the people who make the clothes on our backs. Many maquilas that make clothes have sprung up near Jinotepe and surrounding towns in the last 20 years. They provide tens of thousands of jobs, but the work is hard and often unstable. Two maquila employees spoke to our group and answered questions about the work conditions and pay. In the evening we had a goodbye despedida for our families where the students thanked them for their hospitality and expressed their appreciation.
For our last day in Nicaragua we traveled south to the Pacific coast town of San Juan del Sur. Friday morning we will leave Jinotepe at 4 a.m., arriving in Goshen (if all our flights are on time) at about 9:30 p.m.
It has been a very full three weeks that will leave memories that last a lifetime. Doug and Maria have felt as rewarded as the group has been, and we hope that in two years we can bring a group of GC women athletes for a similar trip, in order to fulfill the GC motto of creating global citizens.