Color My World brings friendship, education to Nicaragua
August 6, 2015 at 10:59am
Color My World volunteers from Bedford and Goffstown recently returned from volunteering in Jiquilillo, Nicaragua.
The program in Nicaragua was started in 2013 by the Hughes family of Bedford, who founded the nonprofit organization, Color My World, over a decade ago. The project has been increasing in popularity and growing in demand, said Angela Hughes, founder and program director.
During the trip from July 6 to 20, 20 residents joined a group of over 50 people from across the country who built houses for flooded residents, fed the impoverished in the garbage dump community of El Limonal, and taught English and art to the locals of a remote fishing village.
“Bringing more volunteers to Nicaragua is helping us to develop sustainable projects that are really having an impact on the community,” said Hughes. “We are not just going into the villages and passing out donations and leaving. We are funding, creating and meeting the demands of these poverty-stricken communities.”
One of the largest projects the group is working on over the next three years is a housing development for which Color My World donated the funds through the program to build several homes, said Hughes.
Jiquilillo residents are flooded by water rising from the ocean and need to be relocated. Color My World is working as a partner with other non-governmental organizations to fund a housing development for 175 homes.
“Residents worked side-by- side with our volunteers to complete their homes,” Hughes said.
Most participants say the highlight of the trip is feeding the mothers and the children who live near the community. Residents were displaced to the dump after a hurricane hit nearly 15 years ago.
Color My World volunteers go into the garbage dump, prepare a meal, and children and moms will come running with their buckets to get a scoop of the rice, chicken liver and veggie stew.
“It can be a little bit overwhelming”, said Noah Hughes, 14. “This week, we had fights over the dental and hygiene kits donated by Eagle Scout projects we were handing out with the lunch.”
Mattie Soghikigan, 17, of Bedford has been volunteering with the program since its inception. Teaching English to the residents is her favorite part of the program.
“I am not a fluent Spanish speaker so it was difficult at times, but helping the locals to learn English and expose them to more opportunities was an awesome experience”, Soghikigan said. “People always think that we have an impact on the community when in actuality they have a bigger impact on us. My perspective on life is forever changed due to this trip.”
Most participants would agree that working in a raw, remote area is not easy. The participants often have to battle 90-degree weather with 100-percent humidity, plus bats, crabs, spiders and scorpions that live on the sandy beach where the huts are located.
“It never gets easier” said Ambrie Scribner, 17, a second-year volunteer from Bedford High School.
Service is not new to the Hughes family. Each of their four children volunteers every summer in Nicaragua, and they also traveled to Costa Rica in July to help the community of La Carpio. Brian and Angela Hughes served a two-year, full-time mission to Japan for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1990-92 that inspired their love for service.
“Giving back to the community is something we want to implement in our family environment and this area is abundant in opportunity,” said Brian. “By inviting others to go, we are only spreading the love of this great work.”
Hughes’ son, Chase, 18, agreed.
“Our hope is that we can keep this program going for the next decade and continue to build long-term relationships that are meaningful in the community,” said Chase. “The relationships are really what make the biggest difference and make me want to keep coming back.”
For more information, visit www.colormyworldkids.org.
Ambrie Schribner of Bedford and Sophie Hines of Goffstown move a cinder block during a house-building project in Nicaragua. Color My World of Bedford is donating the funds for several homes to be built in the community of Jiquillio.Angela Hughes Photo-Ambrie Schribner of Bedford and Sophie Hines of Goffstown move a cinder block during a house-building project in Nicaragua. Color My World of Bedford is donating the funds for several homes to be built in the community of Jiquillio.
Susan Barnard and her daughter, Kendi, of Bedford help serve lunch, hosted by Color My World, to mothers and children in the community of El Limonal, Chinandega, Nicaragua.Angela Hughes Photo-Susan Barnard and her daughter, Kendi, of Bedford help serve lunch, hosted by Color My World, to mothers and children in the community of El Limonal, Chinandega, Nicaragua.
Elizabeth Hughes, of Color My World, gets her hands dirty building homes in the community of Jiquillio.Angela Hughes Photo-Elizabeth Hughes, of Color My World, gets her hands dirty building homes in the community of Jiquillio.