I cherish my time and experiences with Bridges to Community. Perhaps the greatest impact on my personal life were the deep friendships I developed with fellow staff members and the overall sense of community that we all (North Americans and Nicaraguans alike – staff, board, community members and trip participants) fostered together across many barriers and divides: language, race, culture, religion, class and more. Building such relationships was both meaningful and very fun!
I also value the model of community development that began to take shape during my time, and I assume continues to grow through the dedicated work of Bridges staff today. I learned so much about the impacts of healthy development at the local level on the lives of individuals, families and communities. This experience continues to inform how I encounter the communities I work with today.
While I recognize and appreciate the very real and profound impact such community development work has on the lives of families and communities, my time with Bridges in Nicaragua stirred up a restlessness within me to dig deeper in addressing systemic root causes of poverty, inequality and other forms of injustice. The position I hold now with Presbyterian World Mission is designed to do just that – dig deeper. While I wanted to explore this kind of work with Bridges in Nicaragua, I recognize it falls outside of the scope of the Bridges mission. Nonetheless, I can say that without the experiences and relationships I formed while with Bridges, I would not be where I am today. In this way, Bridges led me to Peru, and for that I am so grateful. And without a doubt I continue to hold the lessons learned in Nicaragua very near to my heart while working alongside a people in Peru that I have also come to love and cherish and in a place that I now call home.