Manna Project International : communities serving communities
As a soon-to-be college graduate, the prospect of raising an amount equivalent to roughly 450 Papa John's pizzas or 1,000 AMC movie tickets was nothing if not a little daunting. However, sifting through the plethora of post-graduate "real world" possibilities for the path my life could take provided a far greater difficulty. After four years of a high quality private liberal arts education, often taken for granted, opting for a year in Nicaragua to teach and direct programs in community development would be one of the more rewarding opportunities at this point in my life. After a few months of soul-searching and long discussions with my friend and co-Director Robin, Manna became the clear match to my interests.
The tag line for the Manna Project, a small non-profit based in Nashville, Tennessee, is “communities serving communities.” Their goals rely upon the relationships they have established between community members and Project volunteers in Nicaragua’s capital Managua as well as communities in Cedro Galán and Chiquilistagua. As a Program Director (PD), I will pick up the program ideas and lessons-learned where outgoing PD’s have left off, as a one-month overlap provides this time for incoming volunteers to become familiar with projects already in place.
Manna emphasizes the word ‘sustainable’ when talking about community development work because no one can identify a program’s necessity more than the people most directly involved, living in the communities themselves. Manna’s aim is to answer to these communities’ needs, to work with community leaders and to continue programs that have been successful and will continue to be successful in the future. Ultimately the goal for Manna is to hand these programs over to the communities themselves in hopes that such change will snowball into a wider reaching and even more sustainable development.
Nicaragua is Manna’s first site and will be rife with longstanding and meaningful relationships created at the organization’s founding. I look forward to becoming a part of this family and helping in any way I am able to! Please join me in my upcoming endeavor whether it be checking my weekly blog or helping fund any part of the journey!