Large crowds of protesters, police barricades and masked men with guns roaming streets. A house burned down killing those inside including a five-month old baby, arrests and disappearances and police road checks examining phones for any evidence of anti-government postings. Over 500 dead and 350,000 people out of work.
Unfortunately, these kinds of reports are all too common; so common in fact, that horrific as it sounds, it just isn’t big enough to make it on our major news outlets. What I have just described above is the situation in Nicaragua as it has unfolded over the last six months.
Painful but Necessary
This is, of course, not the kind of situation you want to send secondary students into. In September, we decided to cancel our annual School2School trip to our friends at Centro de Fe in Managua, Nicaragua.
By that time, we already had a very eager team of 18 students—easily the largest we have ever had. We wanted these students to experience a School2School partnership and so arrangements were made to go to Belize.
For almost everyone, this was an exciting decision. They had no personal connection to Nicaragua and Belize seems like an exciting place to go. An added bonus—they speak English in Belize. But for those of us who have been to Nicaragua (I have been four times), it was very sad. Even for those who have only been once, strong relationships were developed. There is a keen desire to return.
But, as I said, it is just too risky.
In September, I attended the Christian Schools Canada conference in Ottawa. Edudeo, the organization that sponsors our School2School partnership arranged for 19 representatives of school organizations in Africa and Central America to attend this conference as well. Nilda Navarette, our primary contact and translator for the past four trips to Centro de Fe attended. To see her again and to talk face to face about the situation in her country was a blessing. We even had some fun dressing up for an activity at the conference.
We talked about maintaining our relationship with Centro de Fe. Having some kind of regular communication and exploring new ideas such as someone (an adult) from ACS still going to Nicaragua to make a personal connection, were a few things we talked about. We also want the students at Centro de Fe to take part in the activity day that we would have all done together, so they don’t miss out on an experience they looked forward to for many years.
Looking to the future
Situations such as that in Nicaragua do not tend to get resolved quickly. At this point, there is no way of telling when ACS may be able to send a team to Centro de Fe. For me and others, that is so very disappointing.
I ask as a community, we pray for Nicaragua, for peace and resolution, for safety. Pray for Centro de Fe and other Christian schools who are finding it increasingly difficult to remain in operation in the current climate. Particularly pray that these schools may be agents of transformation, to bring Christ’s redemption to a broken situation.
In addition, I met with the principal and head of schools from the school in Belize we will be building a relationship with. In spite of my disappointment regarding Nicaragua, I am excited for the possibilities in Belize.
I look forward to see what God has prepared for us to do.