Nicaragua is the second poorest country in western hemisphere. One third of children never enroll in school because they have to support their families. And of those who enroll only 40% of children who start school complete the 6th grade. Education is the key to prevention from hazards of poverty, labor and reducing sexual exploitation. Join us in engaging the community in Children Fun days, supporting the local church, and spreading the hope that there is in Christ.
Missionaries: Mike & Lisa Perkins themustardseedmission.org
Luis & Karen Chavarria fmusa.org
Children’s Day Camp
$20 would sponsor a child for a month
$50 to support church build
Candy and supplies for children’s day camp
Summer Trip: June 19-July 3 = $1900
June 26-July 3 = $1500
Late Summer Trip: Aug 30-Sept 6 = $1650
Student Trip: Summer 2015
- Children’s Day Camp
Nicaragua Information and History
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, but the least densely populated. It is estimated that approximately 1 million people were in exile as of the early 1980’s of which many are now returning. It is bordered by Honduras and Costa Rica. Its western coastline is on the vast Pacific Ocean, while the east side is on the balmy Caribbean Sea.
The country’s name is a portmanteau of Nicarao, employed by the Spanish colonists for the Nahuatl-speaking indigenous tribe and the Spanish word Agua, meaning water. Nicaragua has three distinct geographical regions: the Pacific Lowlands, the North-Central Mountains, and the Atlantic Lowlands. Nicaragua is mountainous in the west, with fertile valleys. Two big lakes, Nicaragua and Managua, are connected by the Tipitapa River. The Pacific coast is volcanic and very fertile. The swampy Caribbean coast is aptly called the “Mosquito Coast.” It is a warm and friendly land of lakes, rivers, mountains, volcanoes, sea, and sun.
Colonized by Spain in 1524, Nicaragua achieved independence in 1821 when it was a province of the Audience of Guatemala and became part of the United Provinces of Central America. It separated from the federation in 1838, becoming a completely sovereign republic. The nation’s early history was marked by the desire of U.S. commercial interests to make use of Nicaraguan territory. When gold was discovered in California, Cornelius Vanderbuilt’s Accessory Transit Company undertook a steamship and carriage business to link Greytown (present day San Juan del Norte) to the Pacific. Nicaragua’s strategic position has ever since been of interest to the United States.
The Republic of Nicaragua is an economically poor country. The employment rate of the country is very low. Coffee, corn, sugarcane, cotton, bananas, rice, sesame, soya, tobacco, beans, etc. are the agricultural products of the country. The fast growing industries are food processing industry, textiles industry, clothing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, petroleum refining industry, footwear industry, wood, and so on. The materials that are exported to the foreign nations are primarily beef, shrimp, tobacco, coffee, lobster, gold, sugar, peanuts etc. The nations that are involved in this trade with Nicaragua are US, Mexico and El Salvador.
Natural disasters, such as volcanoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, and the consequences of civil war have been a constant threat to this largest Central American country. With the Sandinista’s overthrow of Anastasio Somoza in 1979, ending his family’s 42-year dictatorship, Nicaragua came under the control of a junta. Eight years of civil war between the Sandinista regime and the U.S.-funded rebels (contras) ended in 1988. Peace brought democracy, but poverty and corruption are major problems.
Nicaraguan culture has several distinct strands. The west of the country was colonized by Spain and has similar culture to the Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. The people of western Nicaragua are mostly mestizos, and Spanish is invariably their first language. The poet, Rubén Darío, one of the most famous writers in Spanish language, was from Nicaragua.
The eastern half of the country, on the other hand, was once a British protectorate. English is still the first language of most people in this region, and its culture is more similar to Caribbean nations. There is a large population of people of African descent, as well as, a smaller Garifuna population.
Of the cultures that were present before European colonization, the Nahuatl-speaking peoples who populated the west of the country have essentially been assimilated into the Latino culture. In the east, however, several indigenous groups have maintained a distinct identity. The Sumos and Ramas people still use their original languages.
Cultural Sensitivity Tips
Remember that you are a guest in another country and it is important that you respect and honor cultural differences. The following are some tips to keep in mind during your interactions with the people from Nicaragua.
• Nicaraguans greet each other with a handshake, which sometimes is followed by a hug or kiss on the cheek. They are very affectionate people.
• Conversations may be difficult, since you will most likely not speak Spanish. A smile will go a long way. Try to learn some simple phrases like hello, good-bye, and thank you.
• Don’t make assumptions. For example, do not assume that everyone is a Christian, or that a person can’t read or speak English. Keep in mind that many Nicaraguans understand or speak English, and they may or may not share that information with you. Choose your words wisely, as they may understand everything you say.
• Be mindful of what you say around translators, drivers, and those who run the guesthouses. Often friendships are formed with those who serve most closely with the teams. This can lead to a false sense of familiarity and shared understanding. Please keep in mind that this is their home too. Many grew up and still live in the very communities in which you will serve.
• Don’t assume that because you’ve been there for a few days that you know how to fix things. We are there to serve and encourage. They lead, we follow.
• If you are invited into a home, be gracious and accept gifts that you are offered. If it is something you cannot eat, please reply with a simple “No thank you.” Elaborating about why you cannot eat certain things could be offensive.
• Be mindful of your reaction to situations and environments, even in the most desperate situation. Just as you would prepare the best for a guest, they too offer the best they have.
Things you should know when travelling to Nicaragua
Do you know the difference between Nicaraguan and American time? For Americans, time has authority. It’s limited. It has real value. Time should be saved, not wasted. Combine that with our love of efficiency, and we get frustrated when time is wasted. For Nicaraguans, time is seen as unlimited. Itineraries and schedules are merely guidelines. They put much more emphasis on deepening personal relationships and community. Something to remember when you’re struggling to be flexible.
When you visit a new place, you often enter a culture that is different from the one you left. The differences can make it very difficult to adjust to your new surroundings. Dealing with the differences can be very unsettling or exciting, but they are part of experiencing a new culture.
Spanish Language Guide
Please/ Thank you Por Favor/ Gracias
Yes/ No Si/ No
No thanks No, gracias
You’re welcome De Nada