Fairfield Alumni Service Trips
October 6 - 13, 2012
With guide Rev. Charles Allen, S.J., Alumni Chaplain
Join Alumni Chaplain Rev. Charles Allen, S.J., for this rewarding, life-changing week of service. Our time will be spent at Hogar Belen in Diriamba, Nicaragua, an orphanage for handicapped and abandoned children run by the Mustard Seed Communities. Service will include work projects, playing and interacting with the children, and reflection and community-building.
Cost: $950 per participant, plus airfare to Nicaragua and incidentals
Space is limited. The trip will be booked on a first-come, first-served basis.
Call the Office of Alumni Relations at (203) 254-4280 or e-mail email@example.com for more information.
About Mustard Seed Communities
"When Msgr. Gregory founded the Mustard Seed Mission Program, his aim was clear. Given that the children are abandoned and have a variety of disabilities, feeling loved is especially critical to their well-being. Since he couldn't bring the children to the world, he decided to bring the love of the world to the children."
-Fr. Tony Gomez, St. Linus Church, Norwalk, Calif.
Mustard Seed Communities (MSC) is an international non-profit organization that aims to uplift the most vulnerable members of society, especially handicapped and abandoned children, and marginalized communities, through positive interaction of caring, sharing and training.The program began in Jamaica in 1978 and expanded to Nicaragua in 1999 and now cares for over 600 children in 14 communities in four nations (Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Zimbabwe).
Through their Mission Trip Program, MSC strives to create a spiritual environment for people to grow their faith while bringing the outside world to the children they serve. Each year, over 700 mission volunteers visit Mustard Seed Communities to participate in short-term mission trips.
Click here to view a video overview of the Mustard Seed Communities from its founder, Msgr. Gregory Ramkissoon.
The MSC Hogar Belen-Diriamba Program in Nicaragua
Our trip will take us to Hogar Belen-Diriamba, which opened in 2006 and is home to 24 children age preteen to adult. Agricultural and animal husbandry projects at Diriamba serve as a therapeutic alternative for residents, as well as a self-sustaining food source and income-generating project.
As part of our tours of the area, we will visit La Chureca, one of the largest city dumps in Latin American located on 38 acres outside of Managua, where there is a community outreach program called Christ in the Garbage Ministries. The program includes a monthly food distribution program to families living in the dump and Centro de Costura, the sewing center where local women are taught sewing, cooking, and English language skills.
Mission Trip Details
Volunteers experience many things on a mission trip. The children in Hogar Belen are living with a variety of physical and mental disabilities, and will most likely never travel far outside of their homes. In an effort to bring the world to them, we will spend time playing with and helping to care for them. We will also work on a variety of work projects, which can be created based on special skill sets of our group and the needs of the community.
Daily activities include
- Work projects, including: light construction, landscaping, agricultural projects, painting, building repair
- Playing and interacting with children of Mustard Seed
- Reflection and community-building
Highlights of the week include
- Attending Sunday Mass in the local community
- Time at La Chureca and Centro de Costura
- A day of sightseeing, including a visit to an active volcano
- The mission house at Hogar Belen-Diriamaba is dormitory style, with male and female dorms
- Large gathering space and kitchenette
- Dining hall where lunch and dinner are served
What you will need
- A passport valid for 6 months after date of departure
- Faith and commitment to raise or pay directly, a minimum of $950 per participant, which includes all transportation in Nicaragua, accommodation at the mission house, meals, work project costs, and mission trip insurance. Approximately 45% of the funds support the program in Nicaragua. Airfare and incidental costs on the sightseeing day are not included.
- Airfare to Nicaragua
Visit the Mustard Seed website for additional information about what to bring, and required forms.
Mustard Seed Communities is a 501(c)3 organization, and your $950 is tax-deductible. Consult your tax advisor.
In February 2010, a group of Fairfield alumni travelled to Nicaragua. The trip was a prototype of what an alumni service trip could be--eye-opening, informative, moving, life-changing. They spent five busy days immersed in the history, culture, and daily life of the Nicaraguan people.
Read the article in Fairfield University Magazine