Nicaragua Reflection – Maddi and Melz in Managua


Signing on, this is Maddi and Melz…

Once again our alarms went off at 7am, which isn’t easy for us gals. After six straight nights of staying up way later than intended, due to Jessica’s endless cackle and Gianna’s puppet shows (that only Maddi attends), we dragged ourselves out of bed and to the front porch where Zoe led us in devotion. Despues devotion, we were delighted to find French toast being served for breakfast. That may not be a typical Nicaraguan meal, however, we are very picky eaters and that helped ease that 7 am wake up call.

We were excited to head back to Chiquilistagua (which is a public school in Managua), but unfortunately it was our last day there for the week. As we pull in to the school each day, we have been greeted by excited kids chasing down our bus. We literally have to stop the bus and get out in order to prevent harm from the kids because there are so many of them swarming us. As soon as we get out the kids are jumping in our arms and pulling us in all directions to go play soccer, swing, or play clapping games. Seeing the joy on these children’s faces each day – as we pull up – has been a highlight for both of us this week.

After recess we agreed to a rematch with the Chiquilistagua staff volleyball team (after we lost in 4 sets on Tuesday). We came in very confident that we would bounce back and pick up some wins. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it together and took a couple more losses. The competitive side of our team came out and we let our frustration get the best of us. We quickly got over the losses because it was time to move on to soccer with the older girls and boys.

On our third day of soccer we jumped right into the games with the girls on one field and the boys on another. We had the opportunity to play with/against the girls this week, which was extremely fun. As the week has gone on, we have seen gradual improvements in the girls each day, which has been one of the most rewarding things about this trip. As soccer players, being able to coach these girls in new techniques and actually seeing them apply those skills in our games has been huge for us. Even with a language barrier, we were able to connect and bond over our mutual love for the game of soccer. After the game we were able to serve and eat lunch with the players and staff, and it was awesome getting to sit down and have real conversations about topics other than soccer.

In the afternoon portion of the day, we were put to work. Our team was split up into three groups and each performed different tasks. One group painted a classroom, another painted a gate, and the last group helped repair broken desks. Although, the work portion of our day was not as fun as the “play” portion of our day, it was equally, if not more, rewarding. Being able to help make small improvements to the school all week has been very satisfying for both of us. The teachers have shown so much gratitude towards us because of all the manual labor we have done this week and it’s been an awesome feeling to know our work is appreciated.

Coming into this trip we had similar feelings of anxiety and worry. We didn’t fully know what we would be doing this week, how the girls were going to act, or even how we were going to react to being in a new place, but this trip went above and beyond anything we could have expected in the best way possible. We can both say that this place has forever changed our hearts.

And that’s all we have for this segment of Melz & Maddi in Managua. Thanks for viewing and Go Beacs. Si se puede!

Maddi Bartholomew, senior, Corvallis, OR
Melyssa Weber, alum ’15, Eugene, OR

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