El Fin

Thank you so much to all those who have supported us! We are lucky to have such incredible friends and family. With all the donations we received, we were able to provide toothbrushes, toothpaste, medication, health pamphlets, and Christmas gifts to all of the villagers (that’s almost 500 people total!) Your kind and generous spirit has made this past Christmas an unforgettable experience for not only our mission team, but the people of Mateare, Villa Libertad, and San Marvin Salazar. We hope to continue this tradition for years to come, so thank you for allowing us to have such an amazing start.  

God Bless everyone, and have a wonderful, happy, healthy, prosperous 2012!

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Day 7 - Going Home!

More photos from Day 6!

Day 6 - Christmas in Mateare!

On Christmas morning, we woke up bright and early and practiced some carols in Spanish, all in our best attire. There was to be a Christmas service for the entire community in the morning, and we would then have clinic in the afternoon. 

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My dad gave the sermon, and completely in Spanish! He’s perfected this sermon over the years through various mission trips to Chiapas, Mexico. It’s been such a blessing and an inspiration to see how he’s used his calling in medicine to do God’s work in Mexico, and now Nicaragua. Even though he did not know a lick of Spanish, he wanted to give the sermon without a translator in the hopes that he could speak directly into the hearts of the people. I want to continue doing what he has already started and use medicine as a means to show God’s love in underserved communities!

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Next up was Sarah and I! We taught the health education component to all the adults after the children left for Sunday school. We also passed out the health pamphlets we had made. Sunoh normally did most of the talking but since he was caught up with the kids, I tried my best and rambled my way through the lessons. Hopefully they got the main point!

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Then, we passed out the Christmas gifts to all of the villagers and served lunch: hot dogs and juicy juice boxes!

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Finally, we set up clinic for the rest of the villagers we had not been able to see us the day before.

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Piñata!

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After clinic, we had dinner and then our White Elephant present exchange! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of that, but the winner of best present was James’s nutcracker that came with nuts filled with cash - $20 total! When it got dark, we had a bonfire to just relax and wrap things up. While feasting on roasted marshmallows and sparkling grape cider, everyone went around and shared their experience on the trip, or anything they learned. It was really nice hearing what everyone had to say, especially that everyone had truly enjoyed themselves. I spoke about how I had gone on several mission trips before, but this was the first time being the leader. In the whole planning process, I had faced a lot of frustration in not knowing what to expect, and wanting to be in control over everything. This is the biggest responsibility I have ever had and I wanted to make sure that everything was absolutely perfect, because it concerned so many people and I did not want to disappoint anyone. In reality, so many things didn’t go according to plan this week, but it still worked out because God was in control. It was amazing how much God provided, from the people he called to serve on this trip, to the donations that met our initial fundraising goal of $6000. I’m still unsure of my capabilities as a leader, but this was an incredibly humbling experience and I learned so much. I think leadership to me, is less about being ‘in charge’ and more about how God can use me. That’s the mentality I hope to take on from now on. 

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After the bonfire, we started a game of Mafia. Now, I have played Mafia plenty of times before in past youth group retreats, but I have never witnessed a more intense, deceitful, treacherous game in my life! Obviously killers lie about being innocent, but lying about being the cop? A villager lying about being the doctor just because he was bored, infuriating the real doctor?? (AHEM Daniel Kang) Mind. Blown. What a dramatic way to end the trip. 

More Day 5 photos!

Day 5 - Mateare

Finally, it was clinic day for Missionary Jung’s village! We decided to finally bust out our group t-shirts for the occasion. Before we set up for clinic, Anna taught us a song called ‘Leche’ that would soon become the bane of our existence because none of us could ever get it out of our heads! The song was terribly fobby and the Spanish did not make any sense but it had a goofy ‘shoobie dooba’ dance sequence at the end that was fun to do with the kids.

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We set up the clinic inside the church.

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Sunoh taught the kids the story of Jesus’s birth!

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Here’s a group photo of all of us in our t-shirts, courtesy of CustomInk (who were awesome by the way, they donated to our cause!) Please note the rather large sweat stains on all the boys’ shirts!

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After seeing about 80 patients, we finished the day relatively early and decided to finish our murals. All week our group (divided into two teams) had been engaged in an epic battle of the murals for the two classrooms on site. While José (the guard) deemed that Team Jungle was the winner (and rightfully so!), you can decide for yourself: 

Team Garden (Christina, Victoria, Christian, Jake, Daniel, and Sarah):

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Team Jungle (me, Sunoh, Sandra, Marisa, Paul, and James):

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After dinner, we took a trip to a mall about half an hour away! But seeing that it was Christmas eve, most of the stores were already closed. We decided to go to a supermarket nearby and get some ice cream!

It seems like fireworks are one of Nicaragua’s traditions in celebrating Christmas. All day we had been hearing loud booms and sharp cracks, which sounded disturbingly like gunshots! (or rifles, as Paul said). But on our way back to the compound from the mall, many families were out in the street, lighting up bottle rockets and playing with sparklers. At midnight, right after we wrapped up an intense game of Clint (won by Team Vietnam - Marisa and Christina) we ran outside to watch the fireworks that were lighting up the sky all around us. Although it did not quite feel like it, the fireworks were a beautiful reminder that it indeed was Christmas :) 

More Day 4 photos!

Day 4 - City Tour

Day 4 was spent touring the city of Nicaragua! After two busy days of clinic, it was nice having a little break in the middle of the week. But first, we visited all the nearby houses in the village to do a little bug exterminating, ghostbuster-style! It was an interesting contrast to see that despite their living situations, many of the families owned really nice t.v.’s and wii’s.

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One of the families remembered Sandra and I from our visit in August and still had the picture they took with us!

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Finally, we started off the tour by visiting a little spot (I can’t remember the name!) that was right by the beach. It looked like a tourist hangout, filled with cute little souvenir shops and nice, beach-y restaurants. Thankfully, the day was beautiful and sunny, unlike our first two days!

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Next, we stopped by the Casa del Cafe for brunch! This was one of the first cafés in the country and now a famous chain. Also frequented by tourists, the menu offers American foods like hamburgers and philly cheesesteak sandwiches. Baby Daniel also finally arrived to Nicaragua!

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After brunch, we set off to go see the Volcano Masaya. This volcano is just one of many in Nicaragua. It was kind of funny/alarming that all of the cars had to be parked facing the exit, just in case the volcano decided to erupt. The air was really thin and smelled like rotten eggs from the sulfur-filled smoke.

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I got carried up these stairs, courtesy of Mr. Choe. Apparently I was walking too slowly for everyone’s liking

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He doesn’t seem too winded after all those stairs, what a man :D hahah

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The whole group!

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Next, we visited Granada, one of the oldest and most important cities in Nicaragua! We stopped by a tourist spot overlooking the beautiful Lake Catrina.

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Sandra, Daniel, Charlie, Christian, my dad and I got to go horseback riding! However, my ride got off to a shaky start. The first horse I went on was not having it, he kept backing up and neighing in protest. There was a crazy look in his eyes so I got off cuz I was not about to get thrown off and die! Luckily, my second horse was much more chill. This was one of the most thrilling rides I’ve ever been on, since our horses actually got to trot and gallop (unlike most places that only allow a slow pace) but I was scared for my life at the same time. 

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We also got to do some Christmas shopping in the little souvenir shops. It was fun bargaining in Spanish, but overall, the prices were much cheaper than what I’ve seen in Ecuador and Mexico. Another nice thing was that storeowners were not as aggressive with heckling, but Victoria did catch a woman with her hand in her purse! O.o Luckily, she caught her before the lady took anything, and then she acted like nothing happened haha. When it got dark, we went downtown to find a restaurant around el centro. While waiting to be seated, we were approached by an adorable little boy who kept sticking around until all his bracelets were sold! He knew his cuteness would eventually win us over and it did! 

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We were seated in the part of the restaurant that was outdoors, which was a lot of fun. The street was alive with bright lights, sounds, fireworks, and street performers. 

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When we returned to the compound, we packed meds for the next day and played card games until we went to bed!

More Day 3 pics!

Day 3 - San Marvin Salazar

On Day 3, we visited a mission site started by one of Pastor Jung’s friends. Our experience at this location was an extreme contrast to the day before - everything was incredibly organized and all of the children were so well-behaved! Pastor Kim said this was due to him keeping a tight ship and the help of two trained elementary school teachers. His strict approach really helped the church take off quickly since he first arrived, and he brought running water to the village! Impressive.

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They also greeted us by singing a song in Korean!

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For lunch, we went to a restaurant called La Fogota that served traditional Nicaraguan food. Typically, they eat rice mixed with red beans (just like us!) marinated beef, and fried plantains. It was deliciousness

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Here are some more photos from the clinic:

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On the drive back, we devised a contraption for Sunoh’s head so it wouldn’t jerk around when he fell asleep. Voila! A head harness!

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Then he ACTUALLY fell asleep….and we had some fun.

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muahahaha