Recently a group of undergrads from Worcester State University spent a week with us in Managua. They visited all of our programs but spent the majority of their time working with our women's jewelry cooperative, Camino Nuevo. The group planned a variety of lessons and even learned to make some of the jewelry the women make on a daily basis. After their week we asked them one question: What Surprised You Most About Your Week with Manna Project? These are their answers.
Manna Project plays a big role in the community, that surprised me most. It's interesting to see how many different programs they run. I find it amazing how Manna does so much for theses communities. Seeing how the Program Directors immerse themselves with the people in the community was very interesting. Everything that the Manna Project does for the community is very inspiring. I want to return and work with them, to learn how to speak Spanish and to make a difference.
What surprised me most was how impactful the trip would be on my life. Having visited and having family from a developing country, I thought I knew what to expect. However, after being immersed in the communities Manna works in, where I could observe, be hands-on involved with, and connect with local people - I was shown how much I don't know, and how much of an opportunity this trip was. Being humble, appreciative, and generous are all characteristics this trip had illuminated as what should be priority.
For me it was just the shock of everything you hear about in class coming to life. To learn about poverty on that level is one thing, but to see it and experience it first hand is another. What surprised me just as much though, was just how much Manna has done for these people and the difference they have made. I didn't realize all the different activities and educational opportunities they have woven into the communities.It's amazing. People often get discouraged being just one person wanting to make a huge difference. It was inspiring to see Manna accomplish so much with just a small group of volunteers.
How you could already see the changes in the community that Manna Project has made. All of the programs have been really successful. The clinic is constantly growing and continuing to help the community, the women of the jewelry cooperative are working together and their business is rapidly growing. Also the English classes have so many students in them that want to be there and take their own time out of the day to go to the classes. It was a great feeling knowing that you are helping an organization that is really making a difference in their community.
How involved Manna was in the community. They provide activities and programs for community members of all ages. All the PDs knew everyone and their backgrounds. The PDs care. You can see it in their work and how much effort they put in. They are determined to make a difference. It was great to see them enjoy their work so much that they won't want to leave when their volunteering is over. Manna has great PDs and many qualities that makes them succeed.
What surprised me the most about my week with Manna Project was the determination and rapid progress of the Nicaraguan students learning English. Those who were willing to pay the extra cordobas just to learn another language absolutely amazed me because that is not a common sight in the States. Nicaraguan students, by a level four English class are almost fluent because of their hard work and ambition. Because English is becoming the universal language, Americans usually stay grounded, and are not as motivated to learn another language. Those studying another tongue in the States are usually forced, making them not as intrinsically motivated to learn, leading them to not grasp the language even after years of practice.