In 2004 the first adult group from First Lutheran Church in Gainesville, Florida went to Leon, Nicaragua and completed eye glass clinics. Since then we have gone twice a year every year. In 2007 B.A.S.I.C. (Brothers & Sisters in Christ) was formed. This enabled people to sponsor a family and provide the cost of education for the children. Many people donated funds that provided sewing machines, bikes, bike taxies, clothes, food, horse and cart, tools for a bicycle shop, and homes. We have developed close relationships with many families in Santa Patricia over time. In 2010 we hired a teacher to run a night school at Santa Patricia for those who have never gone to school or wanted more education. This particular project was not successful but a great learning lesson to us. To date we have built 50 homes, sponsored xx families, and currently provide education for 101 children. On our last several trips we have had about 12 patients with chronic illness seen by a local doctor who donates a morning to see them. We have provided these people with 3 to 6 months of medications.
In February 2014, we will start training a person who will be trained as an optician as used glasses are getting hard to come by for our vision clinics. The startup salary of the optician will be covered by funds donated in the vision clinics and by BASIC. Supplies will be provided by VOSH Southeast but eventually we intend for the salary to be paid strictly by the sale of completed eyeglass orders. There is already a building at the mission center for this lab which was built with money donated from First Lutheran Church.
If you choose to adopt a family, you will contribute to this BASIC program. You will have to commit to the following things:
- Fund schooling for all children in the family ($140 per elementary aged child per year). Children can not attend school without the required uniform. This dollar amount covers the cost of the uniform,shoes, backpack, and basic school supplies. It also includes a two hour after school program including tutoring and a religion lesson.
- Starting a penpal relationship with your family. Don’t worry about not being able to speak Spanish. There are a number of people in the church down there that can translate it for them. They in turn, will hopefully write you back and we have people here who can translate for you. FYI-email is probably not very likely at this point since most of these kids have not had a chance to be exposed to a computer.Also, send a pre-stamped envelope for them! They have a hard time affording anything let alone postage.
- Trying to build a relationship with your family however you feel fits. There are many options and the sky is the limit on this!There are many other options that will come up in the future as possible areas to expand on with your family.
These items are all optional:
- Pay for home improvements on your family’s home. We will have future construction missions in this area and we can make sure your family gets their improvements completed.
- Pay for a new home! Some families are renting, don’t have a home,living with relatives, or theirs is not sufficient. The cost of a new cement block home is ~$3,000 US.
- Purchase clothing, household items, toys, etc. for your family. During mission trips to Nicaragua we can take your gifts down to your family.
- Visit your family! Come on a future mission trip with us and participate. On our R&R day during the week, you can meet and spend time with your family!
If after reading all of this you are as excited as I was about this program, please inquire to us how to get started. People can work together to adopt one family if that works better for you financially. How about this year, your family adopts a family instead of buying each other gifts?? We would love for you to join this wonderful program and help better someone’s life today!