UDaB students partnered with Bridges to Community to build houses for underprivileged families in Nicaragua.

UDaB in Nicaragua

Inaugural UD Alternative Breaks international service project a success


1 p.m., Feb. 26, 2015--Sixteen students participated in an inaugural University of Delaware Alternative Breaks Program (UDaB) international service project in Nicaragua over Winter Session.

The group partnered with the non-profit organization Bridges to Community for a 10-day service project. 

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Led by site leaders Julia Conrad, a junior environmental science major, and Bimal Amin, a senior biomedical engineering major on a pre-medical track, students stayed in the village of El Portillo where they built two houses for underprivileged families. 

The students worked alongside the family members, residents of the village and local masons, mixing cement, laying cinder block and building the rebar structures that served as foundations for the homes.

Throughout the trip, the students immersed themselves in Nicaraguan culture. They ate local cuisine, which consisted primarily of rice and beans, saw tourist attractions such as Coyotepe Fortress and Vulcan Masaya, played with the children in the community, and learned the history of the village, as well as the political past of Nicaragua.

“This trip was more than any of us could have expected. I was so blessed and humbled by the beautiful country, culture and, most importantly, the people. This experience taught us to physically build houses, but also build character and lasting relationships,” said senior biochemistry major Gizelle Pendang. “I'm very thankful UDaB decided to [create] this trip because it has ignited an even bigger flame in my journey to help serve others.”

With the help of the Institute for Global Studies, UDaB hopes to expand its volunteering borders to other countries in the near future.

Currently, UDaB is preparing to send 249 participants and 25 site leaders on 11 spring break trips in late March. 

The participants were selected in the fall and will attend weekly pre-trip meetings throughout the spring semester to get to know their group and learn more about the community and issue area with which they will be working. 

Upon their return, participants will have the opportunity to apply for leadership positions as site leaders or executive board members for the next school year. 

For more information and photos on the Nicaragua trip and any of UDaB’s spring break trips, visit the Office of Service Learning website

For more on spring break trips offered by UDaB, see Facebook and follow @udabreaks on Twitter and Instagram.

Article by Bimal Amin

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