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February 17, 2013

Mission of Hope heads to Nicaragua

PLATTSBURGH — North Country Mission of Hope volunteers will install a new kitchen in a Nicaraguan school this week, so students’ moms can cook for them there.

“When,” said Sister Debbie Blow, “they have food.”

Government-owned schools in the Central American country, the organization’s executive director said, promise to provide such nutrients as milk for the impoverished children who attend, but often that happens maybe once in a school year.

And this school in the barrio of San Luis, about 5 miles from Mission of Hope’s Nicaraguan compound, NiCasa, in Chiquilistagua, “is extremely poor,” Blow said. 

WIDE AGE RANGE

She and 52 volunteers head to Nicaragua for the largest mission of the year this week — nine-member Advance Team leaves today and the rest on Monday.

“On this trip, the youngest volunteer is a high-school freshman and the oldest is 83,” Blow said.

While Mission of Hope’s home base is Plattsburgh, and many in the group are high-school students and adults from the North Country, others come from five different states for this trip. 

Projects will include construction of home shelters for about a dozen families, paid for by donations both local and from afar, including Forrence Orchards in Peru, Elizabethtown Central School and families who live in Peru, Schroon Lake, Boston and Florida.

Other efforts will include a health fair that will provide water filters for 47 families, delivery of school supplies given by Plattsburgh’s A.M. and Noon Rotary Clubs.

NO DESKS, BOOKS

One of the projects will provide aid to a public school that has 1,500 students and no desks or textbooks. 

“We will be doing some renovations and starting a school garden there,” Blow explained. “The garden is a joint project,” with the American and Nicaraguan students working on it together.

Another task will be providing an irrigation system for La Finca, the farm owned by Parajito Azul Disability Center.

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