On Monday, I leave for a one week trip to Nicaragua. I'm delighted to be able to do it. It has been a long time since I've been on a trip like this, and I know how incredibly life-changing these kinds of trips can be. I'm ready to meet new people and I want to show folks living a completely different life that friends in another part of the world care very much about them and I want my children to remember seeing their Mama taking trips like this.
I guess my trip is called a mission, though I'm sometimes funny about that word. I don't ever want to be part of a group that visits people in their homeland and plays the part of the 'Smart American that knows how it should be done.' I don't like that idea. I am more comfortable with the idea of my meeting new friends where they are, getting to know them and letting them get to know me. I like the idea of spreading love by feeding or laughing or dancing or learning or telling stories. I love that idea. (We'll be working along with TOGETHER WORKS NICARAGUA. Check them or find them on facebook.)
So, I have excitedly anticipated this trip. I look forward to showing the love of God by meeting new people to love and laugh with; and, of course, I look forward to taking photos of the beautiful souls I'll meet. All of that, coupled with my self-imposed challenge to leave my big camera at home and shoot only with my iphone, has been enough.
But . . . in the last few days, an amazing turn of events has occurred. I love it!
A couple of months ago, I ran across something on the internet about an organization to empower women and children in struggling areas to tap into their creativity, gain self confidence and help their villages by learning photography. I was immediately intrigued, but lost the webpage as I went off to tackle one of those minor emergencies that comes up from time to time in a real life - a child in need or a telephone call or some such thing. The story stuck in my mind, though.
After I realized that I would be joining my friend on this trip to Nicaragua, I thought back and wondered about trying to find the group I had read about. I kept it on my 'list' but continued to let other things slip in front of my investigation. Oddly enough, my fascination with Instagram (my username is deanamg if you are fascinated, too) brought the whole thing back to me! I happened to run across two words that struck me - picture change - and I KNEW that was the name of the organization I had read about earlier. I was delighted. I quickly began to investigate to find out more, and I hope you will, too! Find it here - PICTURE CHANGE and also on facebook. I have a feeling you'll be as swept up in the stories as I was. Check out the blog - amazing things are happening for people in far corners of the world. Check out the cool shop (http://picture-change.org/store/) and see the cool stuff available that is changing people's lives. I dare you to read the stories on the blog, and not be moved by what Kate, Picture Change's founder, is up to. Wow.
Now I'll speed up the story a bit. . .
- I find out the area where we'll be visiting.
- My friend who has been before tells me that the young woman who translates was given a computer recently.
- I find Picture Change again, and begin to read about a woman named Rosa who was a Picture Change student and is making strides in her life in Padre Ramos, Nicaragua.
- I hear my friend call the name Rosa, and I find it a neat consequence.
- I decide to send a message over facebook to Picture Change and let them know how swept away I am with what they are doing and to let them know I'd love to do anything I could while I'm in Nicaragua.
- Last night, I receive a message back - a wonderful, newsy note from Picture Change, explaining that Rosa where I'm going is the SAME Rosa that is a Picture Change student!
- I get news on the supplies that Rosa needs for the computer and printer (given to her by Picture Change) and today I purchased them to take with me on the trip!
- Kate discussed ways that I could help Rosa and others while I'm there with photography lessons and how to further the cause.
This whole thing has amazed me! I thank God for this chance and for the ways that these things came together. I didn't sleep much last night - I spent a lot of time imagining how exciting it is to have the chance to share something I love this much with new friends in another place in the world. I'm thrilled, to say the least.
So many of you have sent prayers and financial help to assist in this trip, and I thank you. I'll appreciate good thoughts and prayers as we are gone, and I cannot wait to take you with me on this amazing trip.