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Interact Trip to Somotillo

April 1, 2015

Every other year, a group of Interact members and chaperones travels down to Somotillo, Nicaragua, where everyone is more than happy to spend their February break doing service work in the community. This year there were many new and returning members going on the trip and they were all extremely excited to have the chance to work together and help the wonderful people of Somotillo.

The 2015 Somotillo delegation worked on a variety of projects while in Nicaragua. A favorite project among the students was visiting various schools to pass out toothbrushes and toothpaste. While at the schools, the Interact members were able to interact with the children by teaching them English words, playing on the playgrounds, and participating in games of soccer. Another project was painting the waiting area in the maternity ward. After many hours of cleaning the room, painting, and repainting, the room was transformed into a beautiful, fresh looking space. It was really nice to return to the maternity ward and continue to improve the building after planting flowers and plants there on the last trip. The delegation also worked on renovating school desks. The group replaced the old tops of the kids' desks that were falling apart, painted other wooden desks, and stained the teachers' desks. A small group of students also assisted in the prescription and distribution of eyeglasses. In addition to these work projects, the group brought down a large supply of clothes, shoes, and sports equipment.

While in Somotillo, students from the previous trip were pleased to see and hear how their work and contributions helped and continue to help the community. Funds from the past trip have been used for Tuberculosis and HIV care and treatment; new mattresses were purchased for the jail; a lot of playground equipment has been replaced; and at the maternity ward there were 600 children born last year and 87 born this year as of February, while packages of food are made for new mothers in addition to teaching them how to garden so they can help provide food for their families.

By far the best part of the trip for many of the Interact members was making new friends and reconnecting with the children of Somotillo. It was easy to overcome the language barrier and become great friends with the Nicaraguan children while playing at the nearby park, getting ice-cream, going swimming on the last day, and talking every night in front of the hotel. It was a heartbreaking moment when the time came to leave Somotillo and the people there, but the friendships and memories made in that one week will last a lifetime.

Author: Mercedes Chen

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