Program Successes and Updates

Our transition phase is just about over! We are finally running our programs as a team and have been quite successful so far.

English classes are about a month into the semester and so far English 5 has already had their first quiz. The class is a small class and it’s nice to have students so eager to learn. They are not required to be at class; instead they choose to come on their own free time in hopes of learning English. English 5 is the highest level we offer as a program and everyone in the class has an advanced level of English. We have done various activities with them so far this semester including presentations, skits, listening activities, writing activities, and small group activities. Our most recent activity is a class debate. The two topics up for debate are global warming and the legal drinking age in the United States. They are in the process of researching their debate using articles we printed out. The global warming is a bit challenging considering the scientific vocabulary being used. We’ve been helping explain the vocabulary and I have full faith they will have a great debate on Tuesday!

Also, math tutoring for our Generation program (for youth preparing for careers in the medical field) starts this Sunday. Manna Project has hired a math tutor to help the students of Generation who hope to take the entrance test at UNAN in order to pursue studying medicine. The UNAN placement exam is extremely difficult and has a low passing average. For young adults within the communities to attempt such an endeavor is a success in itself, but our goal is to get them prepared as possible and the math tutor is a great resource. The math portion of the exam is one of the most difficult challenges, so the tutor will be working with them the next 15 Sundays each 3 hours long. Although I haven’t met all the students within Generation, a few have been gaining experience in the Cedro Clinic by shadowing and helping where they are needed. Kevin has come and volunteered three times since I’ve been here, and it’s been amazing to have someone so eager to learn as a helping hand. He’s been most helpful with the Spanish barrier between the patient and us as Program Directors during patient check-in and taking a patient’s history. I can’t wait to meet the rest of the students in the Generation on Sunday.

This week we had our second Milk Day for the Child Sponsorship program, and it was a success! It’s nice because we now know the kids by face since we have been visiting them weekly at their houses over the last month. The best part about Milk Day is watching the kids carry out their can of powdered milk with both arms wrapped around the can, and smiling as their parents carry the rest of the monthly supply of vitamins and oatmeal. The program has been successful so far, and we anticipate exciting improvements in the weeks to come.

The jewelry cooperative, Camino Nuevo (COOSMECH) has taken a turn for the best. The 22 women in the cooperative have been inspired to create new jewelry designs and I am proud to say they are to die for! They seem very excited about what they have created and we PD’s are even more enthused to show off these brand new designs. We are also hosting a NFL special order bracelet campaign, where the women will be making single and triple-wrap NFL team color bracelets to coincide with football season in the States! So, if anyone is interested in NFL bracelets handmade by the COOSMECH women, please let me know. Also, if you are curious to see some of the jewelry designs, visit

Nica life has been great so far. I need to keep practicing my Spanish, but hopefully sooner rather than later I will be able to say that I am at an advanced level of speaking. We have a four-day weekend next weekend and we have plans to go to Ometepe, a volcano island, for the time off. I wish everyone the best and I can’t wait for what else Nicaragua has in store for me!

-Jessica Whitney