"One of the aspects of Manna that really drew me to apply was it's very unique, strong relationship with the communities it works in. There are many programs that can teach English or do microfinance which don't get me wrong are very helpful in developing countries. However, the people we are helping are not numbers, but people with personalities and families and life stories. They have experiences and values that can be shared and are important to understand toreally touch them in an impacting way. Just like my own family, they face struggles and hardships as well as find happiness in the celebrations of births and graduations. This is why since coming to Nicaragua and meeting the community members of Cedro Galan and Chiquilistagua, I have never once felt like an outsider or a person incapable of understanding their culture. Instead, I have been welcomed with open arms and been invited into each of their families.
Two nights of the week I am invited into Lorena's home for a delicious dinner while we sit in rocking chairs on the front porch talking about life. She hugs me tightly and says "adios mi bebita" when it's time to go. Despite the rain, Jaqueline and Proyanka carry me through the lake of a road to their house so I can teach them English on a Friday night. They don't hesitate to give up one of their sweaters so I don't catch a cold and give me their only candle when all the electricity is cut off. Tammy and her mom Lupe come over to my house to have fun in the pool and eat some lunch. As Tammy and I are catching up in my room, I am nearly knocked over when she throws her arms around me and says "you are my aunt!"
These are just a few examples of the love and acceptance I have received since coming to this beautiful country. I am reminded of the beauty of human connection every day and I know I will forever be impacted by the kindness I have experienced here. Every day I can feel myself learning how to become a better person and I have the beautiful people of Nicaragua to thank for that."