Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apply to Be a Summer Vol or Program Director!

Passionate about serving underprivileged international communities? Love the Spanish language and want to improve your grasp of it? Interested in children's education, teaching English, business development, nutrition, and/or sports & exercise? Want to take the lead in running, and even creating, service and development initiatives? Come serve abroad with Manna in Nicaragua, Ecuador, and possibly help start a new site in Guatemala!

College senior looking for something different before graduate school or the workforce? Apply for a 13-month Program Director position!

Still in school and looking for an enlightening and fulfilling summer opportunity? MPI Nicaragua and Ecuador take one- and two-month summer volunteers to assist with programs and to learn our communities and countries of focus.

Visit and APPLY NOW!

Monday, January 25, 2010


Thanks to the efforts of all our supporters, Manna Project was among the top 100 vote-getters in the Chase Community Giving competition. MPI will receive $25,000 from Chase Bank. $5,000 will be allocated to each site's programs. Here in Nicaragua, that money will, among other things, go to the purchase of teaching English as a foreign language books, workbooks, and teaching guides so that we may standardize the material in and quicken progress through our multiple levels of English classes. Some of the money will also go toward the $24,000 needed to keep Casa Base de Salud community clinic in La Chureca open. The remaining $15,000 will go to operating costs, which are often difficult to fundraise for but essential to Manna's continuation.

We at Manna owe a huge thank you to Chase Bank, but especially to all of you who took the time to vote for us in the Chase Community Giving competition.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Returning to Nicaragua - Six Months In

After a three-week holiday break, MPI Nicaragua's Program Directors (PDs) have returned to the Manna house. Returning to a place that is at once foreign and familiar has been a surreal experience. By now, we are accustomed to dodging ox carts, potholes, and horses on the highway. Here, it is completely normal to be offered a duck for 20 córdobas ($1) while waiting at a red light. It is also accepted to ignore those lights when convenient.

Six months in, we know that no explanation is necessary when you don't feel a stoplight clown or windshield wash is deserving of a cookie or a few cents; a smile and a joke will do just fine. We know that no offense is meant by a public observation of weight gained or the shade of your skin, and that none is taken when the answer to a request is "no."

When your instinct is to feel you and your country are judged when you deny a dollar to someone who begs it, you may be called "pinche," or stingy, but follow with a high-five and a laugh and you will find it reciprocated. When a family appears intimidating, know that they would gladly welcome you into their home and offer you the national dish and drink of gallo pinto and pinolillo. If you are fortunate enough one day to find yourself in Nicaragua, save a bit a mental stress and trust in the frankness, the humor, the resilience, and the kindness of its people.