Concordia students experienced Nicaragua and the projects of Lutheran World Relief this May through a special partnership with the college and LWR.
Ten students and religion instructor Adam Copeland embarked on a Justice Journey to the Central American country May 5-21. Two LWR representatives accompanied them on the study away experience.
Concordia students gained understanding of large- and small-scale cooperatives, a school natural disaster safety program and water and sanitation programs. They also learned about how relief organizations manage projects and funding.
"I've learned that LWR helps people succeed by meeting them where they are...[the organization] teaches them what they need to know to become independent,” says Andrea Bonneville ’17, Nashwauk, Minn.
The students had opportunities to meet with farmers who were open about explaining their agricultural processes. Tori Hansen ’15, Plymouth, Minn., enjoyed the opportunity to see the differences between cocoa and coffee farms and how farming practices differed in Nicaragua from the United States.
“I loved meeting Ruben and visiting his farm,” Hansen says. “He had so much passion and pride for what he does. I was so impressed with his willingness to share with us.”
Copeland says there were dozens of stories of how people’s lives have been changed for the better through LWR and the farmer’s cooperatives. One that stuck with the students was meeting a farmer named Maria who had worked with a cooperative for three years. “We visited her farm on the side of a mountain,” Copeland says. “When we asked what she was able to do after working with the cooperative, her response was, ‘After last year’s harvest I was able to build my house.’”
Two of the students will serve as LWR interns this summer and will assist with awareness campaigns about relief programming.