November 2014, Volume 18, Number 4


To Nicaragua With Love

Ariel McKenzie is one of 13 MDC students who recently went to Managua, Nicaragua, on a humanitarian program to help establish a library.

The 19-year-old nursing major had never been out of the country before, so the MDC service learning project had a profound effect.

“It made me think beyond myself to begin better understanding the wider world I haven’t yet explored,” she said. “I learned not to have a preconceived notion about a place until I actually go to visit it myself.”

McKenzie and the other students in the MDC group came from a wide variety of fields of study for the project organized by MDC professor Carola Pedreschi. They helped put a system in place for a library at the Instituto Diocesano Monte Tabor, which had books and a building for them but no formal system for checking out and returning items.

“This was last step they needed,” she said.

To be selected for the program, the MDC students had to write an application essay, fill out service learning paperwork and do their own fundraising.

But the efforts were all worth it, both for the MDC students and those in Managua.

“I had no idea what Nicaragua was like before this trip, but I learned about the culture and this community’s educational and health care needs,” McKenzie said. “Every student should have an experience like this.”

— WV

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