The Internship: Part 1

Last week at MPI Nicaragua, 12 interns arrived at the Manna House—eager, excited, sweaty, and slightly nervous to see what the future would hold. Would their Spanish be sufficient to ensure survival? Would their digestive systems be a match for endless days of gallo pinto? Our fearless hosts, Mike and Heidi, presented our interns with a challenge: to dive into three or four programs in which they could fully immerse themselves to make the most seismic impact during their short stint on site.

The festivities began with the interns adjusting to their new surroundings with the help of "Cards Against Humanity," a fierce cookoff of Nicaraguan traditional cuisine, and Mike and Heidi’s infamous “quiz” (a.k.a scavenger hunt). Interns Kyle and Zach stealthily attempted to elicit answers from reluctant PDs while others delved into Nicaraguan geography and history to complete the quiz (for future reference—the map lies: there are only 19 volcanoes, as opposed to the popular answer of 40).

Meanwhile, the interns checked out each of the 14 programs centered around holistic community development. We each grew increasingly interested about the jewelry cooperative, the clinic, and Child Sponsorship—we couldn’t help but wonder: would program selections prove to be a major point of contention during the official intern program assignment ceremony on Friday?

In the midst of the weekly programs, the interns found themselves bonding with community members in Cedro Galan and laying the foundations for potential future homestays. Nevertheless, the decision ceremony approached, and curiosity loomed as everyone anxiously anticipated the selection process.

In the end, decisions were made somewhat painlessly, as each intern accepted their new responsibilities with excitement followed by a long-awaited celebration at Pops Ice Cream store (10 out of 10 recommend). Ultimately, Week 1 proved to be a success. The now well-acquainted interns headed off to a relaxing weekend getaway in Granada and Laguna de Apoyo (see Zach’s sunburn for details).

The beautiful sunset from Granada.

The beautiful sunset from Granada.

What will this next week hold as interns assimilate to their new programs and responsibilities? Stay tuned to The Internship to find out.


Meet the Interns!

Claire Butler a.k.a. “Chicky” — 19, University of Michigan

  • Loves chicken and impersonating Mike
  • Has yet to become sick of rice






Rachel Scoratow — 21, University of Richmond

  • Hip hop junkie
  • Tinder fanatic
  • Chronic ankle-sprainer







Kyle Witt — 20, Vanderbilt University

  • Robert Pattinson look-alike
  • Known to be 52% introverted






Amrit Bhinder — 24, UPenn alumni and future digital strategist

  • Drake aficionado
  • Deathly afraid of spiders
  • Came to become “rugged”






Zach Ripberger — 18, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  • Local celeb due to striking blond hair
  • Forgot sunscreen (has a sunburn the shape of Arkansas on his back)
  • Resident interpretive dancer







Mackenzie Battle — 20, University of Michigan

  • Knows the words to every song
  • Enjoys treading water
  • Can fit 20 grapes in mouth at one time







Esther — 23, USF alumni

  • Has worked every job imaginable
  • Talent: provides humorous side commentary

Savannah Weeks — 22, Belmont University alumni

  • Sings like an angel
  • Loves Beyonce

Maggie Thompson — 20, Loyola University Chicago

  • Runs marathons for fun
  • Can faint on command
  • Knows all the words to “American Pie”






Amanda – Occupational Therapy Student at GVSU

  • Ex-gymnast
  • Salsa dancing enthusiast





Elhaam –23, University of South Florida Medical Student

  • Resident med student and fashionista
  • Contour/makeup specialist









Allie Love — 20, Vanderbilt University

  • Friends with someone in every state except Montana
  • Killed a fly and then felt bad
  • Peaked in middle school when was featured on Dancing with the Stars