Rutgers Prep and Me to We: Empowering in Nicaragua
A couple of days after school ended in early June, a group of dedicated Me to We club members and an advisor, Ms. Alexander, travelled to Nicaragua to explore the local culture, interact with kids and locals, and develop extensive leadership skills.
Rutgers Prep’s immense history of outstanding service never ends, even during the summer. Community members are always looking for more ways to help out in their own towns and abroad. This trip was indicative of students’ drive for volunteering and leadership.
Me to We is an international organization that centers on youth empowerment in all communities. The charity refers to itself as a “family,” reflecting its work in transforming singular concerns (“me”) to global issues and people (“we”).
Last year’s President of the Rutgers Prep chapter, Zain Islam-Hashmi ‘14, worked hard over the summer of 2013 and the coming months to organize and coordinate the event, as well as to ensure that everyone knew about the trip and anyone who wanted to come could. His work with the organization as well as with Ms. Alexander culminated in this rare opportunity of a trip.
In Nicaragua, the students involved primarily worked on building the base for a playground for the local children to use in addition to their school. Children in these types of underprivileged areas don’t often have a way to engage in enjoyable activities in kid-friendly Due to an extreme lack of rain, the students had to work hard to level the ground and the base. They mixed the cement with the water by pouring water directly onto the ground and doing the same with the cement afterwards. This strenuous process was certainly fruitful as their leveling provided a strong base for the playground. In addition to the building, the students also participated in a “water walk” with a local woman who had to travel far every day in order to procure water for her family’s daily activities.
This was an eye-opening experience as the students carried the water for the woman, discovering that it was extremely difficult, even with two people carrying it. The woman not only did this every day, never spilling a drop, but she often did it with her son in the other hand. Experiences with locals helped show another side of the world to these Me to We Ultimately, the dozen students involved in this trip had an amazing experience in Nicaragua and learned a lot about the different culture as well as some of the very real tribulations of poverty and conservation.
On the very last day, the local Nicaraguan children at the school taught our Rutgers Prep students some dances and expressed their delight at soon having a playground to run around in. Clearly, no matter where they go, Prep students and teachers are always making differences in any and all communities.
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