On May 26th, USGE National President Stan Stapleton, and USGE RVP Lynette Robinson as well as other USGE members, family and friends arrived in Nicaragua to build a school in the community of El Puma. The following are Stan’s reflections:
We are half way through our SchoolBOX experience and it has been both wonderful and enlightening. The organization works with the community, municipality and Ministry of Education to create learning opportunities for the children of Nicaragua. The team approach clearly works and you can see it in the community participation.
The warm welcome we received was emotional, especially the hugs from the children. Speeches and dancing were the highlights of the Fiesta.
We are getting accustomed to the heat and humidity. The first day on the work site was difficult. The second day was much better and we managed to get quite a bit done. We did a tour of downtown Chinandega after our day at the work site. The larger communities focus a lot on building parks for the children.
On Monday we worked for part of the morning and then joined the school and community in a Mother’s Day celebration. Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 30 here and is one of the major holidays. There were poems, dancing and games. Lynette Robinson, RVP, joined in the fun with the teacher and participated in the potato dance. In the evening we went to Leon for a tour and supper. I fell in love with the city almost immediately and hope to return for a broader experience.
The people are warm and friendly. The children are enthusiastic and engaging. I have spoken to a number of them and like children everywhere they have dreams of becoming Doctors, Engineers, Teachers and so much more. SchoolBOX is part of those dreams and in a small way so is USGE and all the volunteers.
The SchoolBOX staff are committed to the children and the communities. You hear the passion in their voice whenever they talk about the work they do and their eyes tell you it comes from the heart. They are facilitating a wonderful volunteer and cultural experience for everyone. I cannot say enough good things about the SchoolBOX team. The only problem I have with the staff is that they are keeping a very close eye on me and I haven’t had the opportunity to get into trouble yet. Stay tuned. The trip is not over yet! All the best to everyone back home in Canada.
Don’t forget to check back for more updates on their trip and their progress. To learn more about SchoolBOX, please click here.