This article about a humanitarian aid trip to San Jose, Nicaragua, is a first-hand account by Eliza Stocking, a regular contributor to “The Central Virginian.”
For the past eight years, I have traveled to Nicaragua to participate in humanitarian aid work through the Warrenton United Methodist Church in Warrenton.
During my involvement, I have participated in a handful of activities including construction projects, school lessons, medical contributions, food and clothing distribution, working with orphans and a hospital renovation project.
Since the beginning of this year, I have joined in two such missions, focusing on helping the residents of the small village of San Jose, right outside the city of Matagalpa, in the mountain region of Nicaragua.
Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America. It has widespread unemployment and has the second lowest per capita income in America.
Approximately 48 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, 80 percent survive on less than $2 daily, and 27 percent of all citizens of Nicaragua suffer from malnourishment, the highest percentage in Central America.
The country, as a whole, is still striving to recover from the revolution between the Sandinistas and the US-backed Contras during the 1980s when a considerable amount of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed.
Peuntes de Esperanza (Bridges of Hope), a nonprofit group based in the city of Matagalpa, hosts our team, as well as others from the United States and Canada year-round. The teams complete numerous mission projects including well repairs, medical missions, construction projects and working with orphans.