by Rachel Zolotarsky
Hi everyone, my name is Rachel and I’m one of the Manna summer interns for Session Two. After being only four days in, I feel as though I have been part of this mannamily (manna family) for much more than just those few days. Coming in to this experience I had several expectations, but the reality of Manna and the communities we work with exceeded any previous expectations I had.
I especially feel a connection with two programs that Manna runs. The first being their English and Child Sponsorship programs. In Nica, knowing English is a gateway to an incredible amount of opportunities. The community members that take the English classes come out with great results. Of course the results vary and not everyone is a star, but most that I have encountered in the higher levels of 4 and 5 know enough English to classify it as a skill. With that skill, they can create a stable and comfortable life that brings them security and happiness. This program is evidence of how Manna and all those that volunteer, like the Program Directors and Interns, truly make a difference.
The Child Sponsorship program quickly became near and dear to my heart. As with the English programs, I see the true impact that Manna makes in the community. When people know that there are others out there that care for their well-being, their view on life could change. Their view on life could become more positive and hopeful. I definitely see this with some families. Children’s days brighten up when Manna Program Director's visit on Tuesdays and Thursdays; it’s clear in their eyes. Parents smile seeing the people that help make the difference in their childrens lives. It’s heartwarming to see because the reality of their living conditions and their past in La Chureca must have an impact on their morale and their view on life. I think that Manna reaches their full potential with all of their programs and understands that change takes time. It’s important to be patient because nothing is instant, and that is exactly the lesson that I have learned thus far in my experiences this first week.