Archive for September, 2009


How Do You Run a Library?

September 29, 2009

I wanted to spend a little more time talking about the actual setup of the library. While I haven’t been able to talk with Maria since I was in Nicaragua, the library would probably have to be in the school (which, for the record, consists of about three small rooms.) This does not leave much space for a ton of bookshelves. Bob, a leader at my youth group, brought up a good solution to this problem. If we could get some kind of cart to put the books on, whoever it is that works as “librarian” could pull it out in the day time and lock it back in that closet-ish area at night.

The books would probably be read in a designated area–for example, the classrooms, and never kept overnight. Thus, the chances of them being stolen–though not necessarily by the person who checked them out–are dramatically decreased. A second idea is to set up a “mobile library” of sorts, where fifty books or so are swapped out every couple months. Where would they go in the meantime? Well, maybe in the place mentioned below.

Another thing I would like to mention is Pochocuape. That is the community up on the mountain where we actually slept while we were in Nicaragua. Perry Brown has set up a wonderful compound open to the community. It is similar to what Maria has, only on a grander and significantly cleaner scale. The school, playground, church, and common room are constantly in use. While my mission right now is to provide the poorest children in La Chureca with something to read, I would love to provide books for the children of Pochocuape as well. So, we’ll start at the dump, and in the future I’ll let you know what we’re going to do for Pochocuape. Those kids stole my heart. =]

(p.s. I’m actually reading a book about how to start and run a library, and I emailed a local library to ask for assistance. They gave me some good things to look into, and a possible mentor.)


Moving Forward

September 28, 2009

Today I got a chance to share a little bit of the lists I’ve been making with my youth group. (They are the people I went to Nicaragua with.) They agreed to start collecting books as they come across them and to help me as soon as I have gotten a few more things done.

What I need to do right now is get a contact to communicate between me and Maria. Until then, I’m going to start making guidelines for book donations. For example, we will accept used books gladly, but they need to be in good condition. I’ll have to make more specific definitions of good. In addition, we need a mission statement and form letters that we can forward on to teachers, publishers, libraries, friends, ect. When I get that together I’ll be putting it here so you can use it, as well. =]

Also, I realize that we may get books that for some reason cannot be brought to Nicaragua. I want to find a local organization that could use those books. This way, I will be able to assure you that all the books donated are going to underprivileged kids.


Myyearbook: Thank you!

September 28, 2009

This post is specifically for those of you who have contacted me in one way or another on regarding this mission. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! You are amazing. Please, bear with me as I’m trying to get things rolling. I’m trying to get a hold of a lot of information, and define specific action plans.

I really want to respond personally to all of you, but I ran out of time last night. The response has been overwhelming–and mostly in a good way! I have tried to add or message several of you, but was unable to because I do not have your email. I really do want to talk with you. Please email me (pandagirl888-at-sbcglobal-dot-net) or leave a comment here.


What Has Already Been Done

September 27, 2009

Please visit these links to find more information about our involvement in Nicaragua.
(On the latter site, I was the one who wrote the July 21st entry.)


Boxes of the food used in Pochocuape and La Chureca (These ones are in the compound warehouse in Pochocuape.)

Here are a couple pictures from when I was there in July.
la chureca 4

After this we gave them new shoes

After this we gave them new shoes


A Sociological Perspective

September 27, 2009

Several of you have, with reason, asked why I am trying to give them a library instead of something like food or medicine, so I wanted to let you know where I’m coming from. I definitely acknowledge that they have a great many needs. Currently, they do have a feeding program in place, so I am leaving that up to FMSC. Medicine is certainly needed, but I know that some medical missions do visit La Chureca.
Perhaps I will partner with people to get medicine once this projects gets off the ground. For right now, I am focusing on the library because that is what God put on my heart. If you feel strongly that something must be done to cloth, feed, or house these lovely people, then maybe you should think about starting something. Why not? And I’d be happy to help.

Anyway, here is something I wrote for Sociology about La Chureca:

Based upon the information we have covered so far in the textbook, I would define the Sociological Imagination as the process of taking a personal issue and viewing it in the framework of common social dynamics.

The personal problem I am going to use to explain the Sociological Imagination is not personal in the sense that I live in it. Though the problem lies overseas, it has affected me deeply, and can undoubtedly correlate to issues in the United States. Managua’s city dump, commonly referred to as “La Chureca,” houses hundreds of families who live among the garbage they daily search for salvageable goods and food. Anyone who has walked beside them like I have asks the question, “Why do they stay here?” Or “What keeps us from moving them to a safe environment?”

Until I distance myself from the situation and evaluate the social structure, including recurrent patterns, I cannot begin to understand their behavior or improve their quality of life. Using the Sociological Imagination I focus on a larger group of people, rather than an individual family. Many of the families in La Chureca have been there for generations. Similar to some underprivileged urban families, the familiarity of an environment—coupled with lack of opportunity and resources—makes it difficult for a young person to begin a successful life in different surroundings. A young man who manages to survive on his own is now lacking a support system. Viewed without the Sociological Imagination, his situation indeed appears very personal, even though the pattern of social isolation will repeat itself with every person who attempts to leave the area.

Once again this raises the question of why we do not quickly remove everyone at the same time. To make this question simpler, we must make light of the fact that many adults, shockingly, do not want to leave. I met a man who had done fairly well on his own outside the dump, but moved back close to the outskirts, spending much of his time inside. Why? He could not convince some of the relatives to leave. While he managed to escape the rampant unemployment, virtually everyone inside La Chureca is reliant solely on the objects they uncover and are able to recycle or sell. If they were removed from the dump, they would have no source of income. In conclusion, the Sociological Imagination reveals to us more pressing needs than simple relocation: jobs and education.


Who am I?

September 26, 2009

For those of you who do not know me in person, I’ll start this out by telling you a little bit about myself, and why I have decided to adopt this mission.

Well, my name is Amanda and I am currently 17. This past July I went with a group of friends from my youth group to Perry Brown’s compound, where we slept and spent most of our free time. During two of our days in Managua we visited La Chureca. While information varies from source to source, some basic information stays the same: La Chureca is the city dump, and people live there. Wikipedia confirms what I saw in person: “Men, women, and children work daily despite the smoke rising from constantly-burning trash.”

I believe it was 11 years ago when a wonderful woman named Maria began to visit La Chureca daily to help the people as a witness of God’s love for them. Because God does love them. For those of you who have different views of God than myself, I’ll put it this way–these people are unique, deep, and valuable just like yourself.

Over time, a small school, feeding center in partnership with Feed My Starving Children (, and a small church have come into existence within La Chureca. However, the school is too small to educate all the children who want to attend. I have been trying to get someone to tell me the exact number, but what I think was said is 60 children attend and 300 want to. I’ll let you know as soon as I find the definite numbers. In any event, it remains that these children want to learn and they lack books. I love books, and tend to take their availability for granted. My goal is to put a library in La Chureca that not only benefits the children, but the adults as well.

I’ll be posting some more soon. Until then, check out Feed My Starving Children’s website at