What I do in Nicaragua

5:42:00 PM

Left to Right, Me, Kent, Chris, and Kurt

I get lots of questions about what it is the team and I do in Nicaragua. Some ask about surfing locations and vacation spots, others wonder if it's safe, but sometimes people have a hard time understanding what it is we do and why we do it. 
My first trip to Nicaragua, yeah thats me on top of the sign with bleached hair.. (it was 1998)
What we do is simple, we head down to Nicaragua and volunteer our time and resources. Everyone pays their own way and takes time away from the work and family. Since I was 17 years old I have been going on this trip, at least one week a year, almost every year. What started out as originally a church mission trip, became a team of men dedicated to making real change in peoples quality of ilfe. After an abrupt and turbulent separation with the church that had been supporting the mission we decided to just go on our own. Many of the same men that went on my first trip were on this last one, now 17 years later.

Kids playing in KM34 Community

The main reason why we our group became the "black ops" mission trip was a conflict of vision, many modern Churches (including the one we worked with) and NGOs want to dictate what the people need and how resources should best be used, the problems many times the people making those decisions have never put boots on the ground. 

A free t-shirt and VBS were not going to help fix this problem
But our group was more focused on working with local leaders, men and women we could trust to serve the community and give us a more realistic take on the environment that we were working in (Read Toxic Charity for more on this subject). 

So we partner with local leadership in conjunction with the Harvest Initiative (a US recognized 501c3 and a registered NGO in Nicaragua), our team comes in for 7-10 days and attacks engineering, structural, water system, and electrical projects in rural communities in Nicaragua. Other teams like ours from around the country do similar projects throughout the year. From drilling wells to building medical clinics our team has done it all, every year is different depending on the needs of the community. One year we might be drilling wells, the next year we could building a small medical clinic, everything is driven off what the community needs.

Young Girl cleans up after lunch at the KM34 School Site

The team is made up of men from different walks of life, many are entrepreneurs like myself, Chris owns a success topiary business serving large corporate clients and government agencies. Kent runs his own heavy equipment repair and maintenance business, serving the farming and dairy community. Brian is a real estate investor that spends months of each year working in the developing world, including our annual trip to Nicaragua.  Raul  is manager for AAA, on the cusp of retirement. This year we had a 16 year old student who decided to spend his Spring Break serving a community of people he had never met. We need more young men and women like him.

This was once a 1 room school house,now it serves over 200 kids in the KM34 community.

This trip we had a few projects to tackle, one was wiring this school and installing new ceiling fans, after a quick trip to the hardware store we dug in and wired up the classrooms and admin offices at the KM34 school in just a few days, installed a box and ran power out to the meter for the electric company to hook up.  

Brian wiring the breaker box for what will be the first computer lab in the area. 

In 2011, this school was just a single room and in just four short years has grown to 8 classrooms and serves over 200 kids in the KM34 community. While myself and part of the team were working on wiring at this and one other school we work with, the rest of the team was building steel entry gates for one of the more established schools. The exciting thing is that school we have built over the years have turned out some of the top students in the country. Last year just 6% of high school graduates passed the University entrance exam, almost the entire graduating class from the Little Benjamina school passed the entrance exam.

Kent making hinges for school gates and the basecamp workshop.

 Since my first trip in 1998 I have seen so much change for the better in Nicaragua, but there is always more to be done. We have made great lifelong friends both among the men that go on the trip and the Nicaraguan men and women we have worked with over the years. We have built schools, medical clinics, water towers, installed roofs, built windmill towers, brought electricity and indoor plumbing to schools and community centers, and thats just with a small group of guys offering their God Given abilities and acquired skills to help the community.

If you would like more information our trips or if you would like to go on a trip please use the contact information here on the site. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the Harvest Initiative please visit their site HERE

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