Written by volunteer Andrea Nießen:
As a former volunteer and fundraiser for Random Acts’ Hope2Haiti project, I went on this first Nicaragua trip with some expectations, curious about how the projects would differ or where they would be similar. Honestly before the trip I thought that no amazing cause would catch me again in the same emotional way as the orphanage project in Haiti did. I knew the new project was incredibly important, but a part of me could not believe that it would make the same deep emotional impact on me… I was seriously wrong! ;)
As we travelled to Nicaragua and spent our time there we all felt immediately that it was a special and very important difference we were making and how incredibly much this was appreciated by the people of San Juan del Sur. Here in Germany, where I live, people take going to school for granted. The kids and young adults we met in Nicaragua see it as a privilege; education as their way out of poverty.
Some years ago Random Acts raised money for a school bus and already this bus means so much to the students over there. One girl told us that before they got the school bus it was often not possible to be in school for the whole amount of time, they mostly could only arrive late and had to leave before school finished because they had to start on their way back home. Now with the bus it is possible to stay at school for the whole day of lessons. It was touching to see how much that meant to her and how thankful she was. I remember that I donated a few dollars back then for the bus project, but with other people doing the same we created a huge difference in her and in other students’ lives. It leads me back to one of the reasons why I started to volunteer. I have always believed that those of us with financial security can achieve so much by being generous to others, especially when it comes to less wealthy countries. There is so much we can achieve together with our wonderful supporters!
Speaking of our destination, Nicaragua is really beautiful. Aside from the work we did and the projects we visited we had time to enjoy and discover the country and connect with its people. Our team was amazing, we made friendships that will hopefully last for a very long time, and we made experiences that filled our hearts and soul.
Volunteering is very fulfilling. I do this during my vacations from my job, and often people ask me why I don’t go on a usual holiday trip when I’m not going to work. My response is always that I do it because it gives me so much back. Fundraising is an amazing experience, but going to the place you raised money for, working on something with your own hands, getting a special bond to a project is incredible. You really FEEL that you make a difference. You all should try it. ;)
To come to a conclusion: As Haiti did before – Nicaragua has a special place in my heart now. I hope I will be able to go back and see the finished campus, be able to show all our wonderful supporters at home what we all made happen together, and give them the feeling that they really made a difference. You all are such an important part of our work and we could not do it without you.