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Opening your eyes, ears, heart, and hands to our brothers and sisters in Managua

Going on a short term mission trip to Cultural Center of Batahola Norte is an experience of opening your eyes, ears, heart, and hands to our brothers and sisters in Managua. Each year there are trips to visit the Center in March and June. Our purpose in organizing these trips is not to build houses or dig wells. It is to build relationships and to dig into the reasons behind such overwhelming poverty.

In March members of the board travel to the Center to renew friendships, pray and reflect, meet with staff and administrative team, meet local board members and discuss the vision and mission of both organizations. The trip lasts 5 days. Guests who are interested in visiting the Center are welcome to travel with the board.

For the Cincinnati-based team who visits in June, there are several meetings to prepare the students and adults for their third world experience plus a 1½ day retreat. Upon arrival, the group has a tour of the facilities with an explanation of the various murals. The group meets with the scholarship recipients and choir members so they can begin having a conversation about their life experiences. They also do one joint work project like planting trees and bushes, painting a nearby grade school, or handing out reading eye glasses. There are always arts and crafts with the children who visit the Center each week. During their stay, the group visits the various classes at the Center meeting with students, both children and adult. They share ideas in the staff Bible study and all attend mass together. There are volleyballs, Frisbees, and soccer balls for the group to enjoy with the children each day.

The group also meets with Jesuit Volunteers International for a discussion of volunteer opportunities after college. Visits to schools, hospitals, centers for the mentally challenged can be arranged. There is an opportunity to visit a fair trade market and Huembes Market to shop. There are visits to the cathedral and other places of interest. Living simply is the goal so meals are shared family style at Casa San Juan, the hotel in Managua used throughout the stay. While there, four to six individuals share a room. They also visit the Fabretto organization in Cusmapa for 2 days. A visit to the rain forest outside of Grenada to canopy completes the trip.

Prayer and sharing are very important parts of the trip. Each night the group gathers together to discuss where they saw Christ that day. Transportation is an old school bus. We are a team while in Nicaragua, a team working with the people of Batahola for a better understanding of our world.

If you are interested in joining a mission trip, please feel free to contact us. The Cincinnati based group, which is from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, allows teens 16 years and older to join with them. All trips are currently on hold due to travel restrictions but we hope to be able to start them again soon.