Friday, June 17, 2011

Favorite Moments

I can't begin to recount everything that has happened in the last few weeks. I also can't believe that I will be home in 5 days. Times flies. My weeks have included lots of adventures and traveling, progress and hope for the program, sadness and despair for a few families from the dump, visitors and lots of laughs. Below are a bunch of pictures capturing some of my favorite moments.
 I've Spent a lot of time with Bismark and his family. This is his middle son Bismarksito, sporting my New York City Marathon shirt that I wore and loved for years. I'm glad its being put to good use!
 Diana, Margine, and Elias on the tire swing!
 I can't get enough of that smile
 A gorgeous sunset at the beach in Gran Pacifica
 another sunset shot
 The frogs came out at dusk!
 I don't know if Miguel understood what his shirt said, but he and Norman, our two coaches in La Chureca live and breathe the slogan!
 I had no idea blob tag would be so popular here in Nicaragua. We used the game to teach that you're more effective working together as a team than you ever could be alone and the kids just LOVE it!
 Visitors! Justin and Dave have been here for the last 2 weeks. Amazing!
 Off to surf.
 Norman has earned all of the kids respect. Its amazing to watch them stand in a straight line and listening intently to every word that comes out of his mouth!
 Stepping back to take it all in
 If I had a nickel for every fist pump I've had with Bismark I would be a rich woman.
 a picture after our swimming/ rock jumping/ hiking adventure in this gorgeous canyon close to the Honduran border in Northern Nicaragua.
 At Bismark's house after a hard day of work.
 group shot!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Commute to Work

I have written a lot about people and experiences- its what has been most important to me down here. However, I'm not sure I've done La Chureca justice. I don't know how I can possibly use words or pictures to describe the despair, the smell of burning trash, and the people who work day in and day out digging through the trash to find recyclable items to sell...

I took pictures on my "commute" to work yesterday. Perhaps this will give you a slightly better idea of what I see, experience and try to get my head around every day.
Random cars parked/ stuck in the middle of the road

Trash is not limited to the dump. Its EVERYWHERE...

Cars share the road with horse carts

Stray dogs and naked kids... (its common to see kids on their own. Everywhere)

The entrance before turning into the dump

The road right down in.

Piles of plastic waiting to be bagged and recycled

The center where recycled items are traded in for money

Construction for the recycling center

The pile where they're currently dumping trash

Houses right on the edge of the community
The people of La Chureca are incredibly resourceful
Laundry hanging on the line
The road through the community
The front wall of the school
The oasis inside

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shameless Plug for

Lacrosse the Nations now has a Causecast profile! This forward thinking site helps non-profits, like Lacrosse the Nations, post specific projects and needs along with advertising volunteer opportunities. We're really excited to be partnering with Causecast and to have an avenue for direct requests for our current projects. The site makes it really easy to request more information about a non-profit, volunteer for a project or donate to a specific cause. The site sends 100% of the donations directly to the organization for a specific project of your choosing and does not take a portion of the proceeds themselves.

Click on the link to view our causecast profile!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Program Updates!

For those of you interested in the organization, here is a program update and all we have been able to accomplish in the last 3 months! Its far exceeded my expectations and has been such a joy to be a part of!

I have exciting news to report from Managua! LtN is currently ironing out the details to start our second program here in Managua. Now that we have a life skills curriculum and a functioning, self-sufficient program at Colegio Esperanza in La Chureca, we are excited to dive into a second program here in the city. The 100 students in our program have really responded well to the life-skills curriculum in La Chureca. In an a very unstructured, dog eat dog community, our program provides structure, order, and motivation for a group of highly energized kids who need an outlet for their aggression and energy. The coaches have done an absolutely incredible job implementing the curriculum and gaining the students’ respect.

As we expand, we are partnering with Manna Project to create an opportunity for future interns to come down for 13 months at a time. The volunteers will help out  with the lacrosse program, and participate in the other programs within Manna’s community here in Managua. This sustainable approach will allow LtN to have a volunteer on the ground checking up on our programs and constantly seeking to improve what we do and how we do it!

We have chosen Chiquilistagua Public School for our second program site. After a few positive conversations with the director of the school, we are really excited to move forward with a director and a school who are really passionate about our program, and are flexible and willing to work with us to figure out the logistics! The school is located in the community where Manna has already built trusting relationships.

We are also excited to welcome a few new coaches into our LtN coaching staff here in Nicaragua. We are in the process of recruiting and hiring a few role models for our students to set a good example, convey the life skills curriculum, and give the kids an opportunity to have fun! We will support our new coaches to continue their education so they can set an example for all of the kids in the program.
We will keep the updates coming as we iron out all of the details. We will introduce our new coaches and share some details and pics of our new site before I leave Nicaragua and head back home in 3 weeks! The program will kick off in August when an LtN group will be down to train the coaches and introduce the kids to the sport! Thanks for all of your support and enthusiasm that has made this possible! Please let us know if you have extra gear lying around that you could donate to the program!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Nope. I'm not home yet... I went to Bismark’s home tonight for the first time. Bismark has been driving me around and helping me out for the past 3 months, but has become so much more than a “driver” to me. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting his family, attending his church, hanging out with his mom, and even playing some epic games of padiddle with him. However, today was the first time I saw his house.
Bismarksito ran and jumped into my arms once I walked in the gate of the house. He was excited to give me the grand tour. Bismark lives with his wife Diana, and 3 kids Dianita (8), Bismarksito (5) and Sarita (9 months). I was extremely humbled by how simply his family lives. They were extremely proud to show me the 1 room with 3 beds, a stove, fridge, toilet, outdoor sink, a few toys, clothes, pots and pans that they all share. They have very relatively few material possessions to call their own- very little clutter and crap. It didn’t surprise me at all. I have learned that the poverty and simplicity of life is not limited to La Chureca, the trash dump where I spend my days. Poverty is everywhere in this country. Middle class doesn’t really exist. The high class represents less than 10% of the population and keep to themselves in a very small fraction of this city.
Nor did it surprise me to see how happy and content his family is at home. They are not rich in material possessions but in the unconditional love they have for each other, their faith, their generosity, and their desire to give what little they have to others. Because their lives are filled with the things that are truly important, they don't have any need for any more stuff. I was filled with hope and happiness being there and being surrounded by their partly constructed new "dream" home, sitting in the front yard of their property. When Bismark has a little extra money left over at the end of the month, he buys another few cinderblocks and adds them on to the house. Someday- who knows when, the house will finally be finished.
Perhaps we spend too much time in our lives trying to fill the gaping holes with more things, more money, and more power. Perhaps we search for the wrong things to make us happy-maybe the problem is that we’re looking for things...
I hope to return home in 3 weeks! rejuvenated and content. My life is rich in relationships, experiences, adventure, faith and love. I have been blessed with more in my short 21 years than I could ever need- something that I hope to not take for granted.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Halle's Field with the Kids!

Wendy in action

getting ready for steal the bacon

the rains have arrived... and so has the mud

the more we laughed, the more he ran and fell


Laura and Jessenia

Bananagrams en Espanol!

San Juan del Sur with Ruthie and Cam!

Sunset in San Juan

Surfing in San Juan

The view from the balcony of our house. Not bad!