Bernie, one of our Step into the Gap volunteers, placed at St Mary’s Catholic Academy in Blackpool, takes time out to reflect on her recent trip to Nicaragua…..
So three months have flown by since returning from Nicaragua. Arriving home was a whirlwind and, since landing in the UK, it almost feels like a blur. Being in Nicaragua has been the biggest and most life-giving experience.
When I wrote my first blog before I travelled I mentioned the time I had spent reflecting. Nothing can ever compare with the reflections I now have, having met some truly inspiring and empowering people.
I have loved the last few months, being able to share with people the stories and photos of the people we met. I say ‘we’ because the experience would not have been what it was without the amazing people I travelled with, without them I know I would have been lost and after all….“When we are organised together we can do more,” Mozonte Community.
Being able to share has been amazing, especially with the young people I work with, not only in school, but also in groups out of school. I have led assemblies, lessons, scouts talks, parish talks and met with politicians to share how the climate is impacting people overseas. One of my previous employers would talk about the buzz you get when you have finished working with a group of young people; each day has a buzz of energy and enthusiasm.
Nicaragua has been a gift that has given life and that life is being shared daily. It can still bring a tear to my eye when I think of the young leaders we spent days with, alongside the Sisters of the Guardian Angels. The sun setting on a beautiful skyline after playing many games, we all stood in a circle and it was time to say goodbye. I don’t think any of us were ready to leave these young adults, just like ourselves.
This group of young adults had a fire within them that spread. Each one empowered with a spirit which has continued to burn in me since returning, enabling me to share with the young people at home.
CAFOD supports the Sisters of the Guardian Angel, who collaborate with the magazine Envio, published by the UCA (University of Central America) and offer analysis workshops. The young leaders, along with others, attend these workshops to find out that is happening in their country and how they can have a voice in the current affairs in country. For example, the government’s plans for building a Canal through Nicaragua. They can learn about it and find out how they are able speak up to protect indigenous communities and the environment for example.
“I’ve learnt how to defend the rights of others, and my own rights.” Anna – young leader.
This has encouraged me to value the voice I have and ask others to share theirs in politics, particularly this year, when there are lots of exciting issues to campaign for.
As Gappers we have recently spent time together to reflect and share our trips with each other. From this I have made a commitment to be the microphone and share quotes and information from the people we met on Twitter to #bethemicrophone to spread a message.
“Each one of you has to be God’s microphone.” Oscar Romero