The boxes and bags are packed with donations and are all just under weight. The guitar is safely in its TSA approved case so that it will make the trip and we have a reliable guitar. We have gotten all of our shots, medications, and instructions for travel. The schedule is worked through for a workable plan, transportation coordinated, and we are ready to go!
Nicaragua is the second poorest nation in our hemisphere, just after Haiti. Public school is something that must be paid for and if you don't have the money, you don't attend school. Individuals with special needs do not receive any assistance and there are not therapies available. If a child does attend school and cannot keep up, there is not assistance available and eventually the student falls so far behind that they are asked to stop attending school. There are not therapies available for individuals with special needs and families are left to fend for themselves on how to help their children.
We have a team of two Music Therapists, a Recreation Therapist, and a Speech and Language Pathologist. We are excited to be taking a a larger team of therapists this year and we will be extremely busy. We will be working at three schools, two rescue homes, a family home with children who have been abandoned, and an orphanage for abandoned and abused children. In total, there are around 800 children that we will be working with in some form or another, whether group therapy sessions or one on one sessions. Care providers, teachers, and staff will also receive training from each of the specialties about the specialty and ways that they can assist their students and children with some techniques that will help with their development and well being. Some sessions will developmentally focused where others will be more focused on working through psychological issues.
We have the pleasure of working with schools and programs that have been started by missionaries and people who see the need for the children with special needs and those that do not have money for school. Some of the programs started with reaching out to those individuals who lived and survived at the dump. Individuals started schools for the children and provided feeding programs through sponsorships from here in the US.
We are excited to be working with the children and providing information to the care providers and teachers on how to assist their children to reach their potential and learn new skills. We are going to be keeping very busy given the amount of time and the number of children and locations that we will be visiting. We would appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we finish our preparation and begin our trip. Here is our schedule and some items that you can praying for:
August 1 Depart for Nicaragua
August 1 Arrival in Nicaragua and travel to Rivas
August 2 Work at Sol Maria Romero a special school for individuals with special needs ages 0-18.
August 3 Possible work with individuals with neurologic impairments living with their families
August 4 Travel from Rivas to Los Cedros
August 5 Work with a family home that has children (ages 13-17) that have been abandoned
Observe Esparanza School
Work with a rescue home for girls
August 6 Work at Esparanza School (300 students from preschool to high school)
Work with a rescue home for boys
August 7 Work at Colegio Cristiano Havilah School (400 students from preschool through 6th grade)
August 8 Continued work at Colegio Cristiano Havilah School
August 9 Work at New Life Nicaragua (an orphanage for abandoned and abused children)
August 10 Return home
Health and safety for the team
Effective work with the children
Successful trainings with staff
Adaptability and flexibility
Openness of the staff to training and sharing of knowledge
Each of the children that we will be serving--each has a story and many are heart breaking
Ability to provide the best that we can given the short time with each of the locations and children
We will do our best to update the blog on what we are doing and how things are going. We appreciate your support and look forward to the work we have the opportunity to do.