Dave's Family Guest Teaches in Nicaragua

In May, Nicaragua Program Director Dave Schmid's family came for a visit. In this blog, Mrs. Mary Schmid shares an account of her experience in the community.
A big thank you to Mary, Dave and the entire Schmid family for all your help and support!

Our son David is in Nicaragua, and we decided to visit and see him at work. I myself am a teacher so I was quite interested in how they taught the different age groups their English classes. After a couple of days sight seeing, we arrived at Manna Project's after school English classes. Dave and Kayla were teaching future participles.  

After the lesson they asked myself and other family members to go to different tables and work with the students. My table had a woman my age, in her fifties, named Lorena and two teenagers. We read together and then did different writing activities. I loved looking around the room and seeing my family from New Jersey smiling and assisting their Nicaraguan students. The students were only so happy to do their work and try to get the right answers.

While teaching in New Jersey, my class is all the same age. I do have some eager learners, but not as many different levels as Dave and Kayla were faced with.  They were able to challenge the high achievers without frustrating the lower level English students. I was very impressed.

The joy in that room was felt by all. We enjoyed serving our far away neighbors, and they were very receptive students.  We were happy to be a part of something so meaningful.  After class, we were invited to come to dinner by Lorena, and my daughter was holding a baby that belonged to a parent of one of her students. In a matter of about an hour, we felt like we belonged, we were bonding from the outset.

Our family realized that age doesn't matter when learning. If one wants to learn and better themselves they are the best students to teach. They are happy to have the extra help, and attention compared to the student that has to go to school because it is the law. Manna Project has young men and women who are very willing to give of themselves, and students who work hard to please their teachers, and try to better themselves and their lives by learning English.

I was happy to return to the United States, but will miss the hospitality of the Nicaraguan people.

Wise Words from a Program Director's Mother

A guest blog from Joyce Calvo-Chen


So what is it like having a daughter work for Manna Project International?

I was shocked when Carissa first told me she was applying to Manna Project, and if accepted would be living in Nicaragua for 13 months! I had definitely been spoiled having Carissa in college only 15 minutes away from our home. After she graduated, I originally thought she would be working in New York City and was already having a hard time accepting that! The day finally came for her to leave on a grand adventure to Nicaragua and as any parent may have, I cried as we said goodbye at the airport, and then again in the car ride… all the way home. I knew it would be a long time until Christmas break and began counting down the days…

Once she started telling me about her experiences in Nicaragua, her first week in Spanish school and living with a host family, I knew she was in the right place. She was so happy and with wonderful loving people. From what I could see, she was having such a beautiful experience right away. I was relieved hearing about Carissa’s new home and so excited for her.

I never would have been brave enough to do something like that and I was in awe and so proud of her. Those words cannot describe how I felt and how I feel now.

When she came home for Christmas I was so happy to be reunited with her again! It was Carissa’s first day home when she received a Skype call from her host family in Nicaragua. She was speaking Spanish to them and I could not believe how well she was able to communicate. Her second family in Nicaragua already missed her and I could tell that the little girls in that family love her so much!

She continued to share her experiences with our friends and extended family that came to visit for the holidays. She showed us photos and videos of herself teaching English, helping the women with their jewelry cooperative, and the different communities where she works. After looking at her photos on Facebook, seeing the beauty of Nicaragua and how many experiences she has had with her new friends I am so happy for her. Despite my initial sadness and heartbreak from Carissa leaving, I am able to forgive her knowing Nicaragua is exactly where she is supposed to be.

-Joyce Calvo-Chen