This is an update I posted to my GoFundMe for my Pulsera Project Trip. I thought some of you would like to read it, too 🙂
On Thursday evening I hosted a Facebook Live Q & A session, and I got some really great questions about my trip. I decided to host the session because several people have been asking great questions, and I thought this would be an easy way of sharing information about what I’ll be doing. I’ll summarize some of the questions here!
Q: Is your trip with the Pulsera Project a mission trip?
A: No, not really. This is an educational trip for teachers. It is with a non-profit organization that is not affiliated with a religion and focuses it’s efforts both here and in Nicaragua. The work in the U.S. is primarily through service-learning for students and Pulsera sales. I understand the confusion, because I am highly involved in my church. I will say that this organization models what I believe to be a more effective way of meeting needs (which is the true definition of mission work–not to be confused with evangelism). People used to (and sadly some still do) go places and give people stuff, but this is ineffective (watch Poverty Inc documentary for more info). The Pulersa Project is all about educating and empowering people to raise themselves from poverty through sustainable (and fair) work opportunities, micro loans, and education opportunities.
Q: If it isn’t a mission trip, what will you be doing there?
A: A whole lot of things! We are going to be getting an inside look at how the organization works, what they do with the money from pulsera sales, and who they work with. We will be meeting pulsera artists, as well as people from other organizations with similar missions. We are going to be observing the culture, the situations, and the solutions people there are working to formulate. As I mentioned before, a huge part of what the Pulsera project does is education in the U.S., so we (a group of 8 teachers selected from across the country) will also be giving input on new lesson ideas and contributing to that process. Of course there will be some tourism, too. For instance, one night, we will be going to see an active volcano!
Q: Can I fit in your suitcase?
A: No, but I really wish you could! I’m planning to take only carry-on luggage on this trip!
Q: Do you speak Spanish?
A: Yep! That is actually one of the requirements to be selected for the trip! The Pulsera Project has many cross-curricular opportunities, but they primarily work with Spanish Teachers and World-Language departments because the culturally authentic material they produce is primarily in Spanish, of course.
Q: How long is the trip?
A: 8 days!
Q: Is it a large group setting?
A: Nope, not at all. Actually, only 8 teachers in the U.S. were selected for the trip. It will be us, and a few people from the organization.
Q: Will you be sharing information from your trip?
A: YES, YES, AND YES! I plan to share information here and on my blog (cwilsonspanish.com). I hope to share cultural information, information related to teaching, as well as some personal experiences. I plan to keep this page up so that people who have supported this campaign financially and with their thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers can see the results of their generosity.
Q: Will this be your first time in Nicaragua?
A: Yes, it will. I have been to Costa Rica several times, which is just south of Nicaragua, so I am familiar with the climate, however this is my first trip to the country 🙂
Q: What are your goals in Nicaragua?
A: I have several. I would like to positively contribute to the lessons that the Pulsera Project provides. Not only have these lessons positively impacted my students, but my own teaching of them has permanently changed me as an individual as well. On a personal level, I love to learn, so I have a personal goal of learning more about the culture and continuing to improve my Spanish. Lastly, most teachers understand the burn-out you feel in May/ June. I’m looking forward to being re-invigorated by the knowledge that what we do works.
Thank you to everyone who asked questions! And again, thank you to everyone who has supported me in this trip! Stay turned for more updates -C. Wilson