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HUMANITARIAN TRIPS 2022

Updated: May 25

“Starfish Nicaraguan humanitarian trips have a direct impact

on your mental, physical and emotional state.

Emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

Even in moments that break your heart, and you feel like falling to your knees, your soul strengthens and your heart soars. You will not return the same person. You will be forever changed. The real question is…. are you ready?”

Testimonial by Terryanne, London, Ontario




Dates:

TRIP #1: January 4th - 18th January 2020 (15 days) 4 spaces left!

TRIP #2: January 25th- Feb. 3rd (10 days) If trip #1 is full.


Highlights:

  • Living and working in community with group and local volunteers

  • An adventure which includes service to others

  • Locally grown food, Cultural experiences and excursions

  • An opportunity to learn and speak a little Spanish


Group:

  • MAX 12 people from Canada, plus 1 driver, 2 interpreters

  • We expect to travel in an air conditioned Minivan (and a school bus when we have the children and teachers)


GENERAL TRIP ITINERARY:

An itinerary will be available later this year.

This is a general overview:

Our mission is to help to build a preschool near Xilou, a slum of Managua.




Lilliana built it out of packing crates several years ago. Last year’s hurricanes knocked most of it down. The preschool is very important to the community. At least 30 children attend and the mothers can then go to work, knowing their children are supervised. Our vision is below:





We will be employing local builders, who know what they are doing. We will be there to help.


TRIP DETAILS:


In addition to spending our time at the preschool, we are planning a trip of a lifetime! We will be visiting several cooperatives that work together and sell their handicrafts using fair trade practices, spending several days at the beach (San Juan de Sur) where we will be helping a dog rescue charity and visiting a turtle sanctuary. We will swim in a lagoon, created by an imploded volcano and an optional trip will be zip lining down another volcano.

The 15 day trippers will have the opportunity to travel to the north of the country, and learn about fair trade coffee and chocolate practices, possibly even meet a real life cowboy!


Working and living conditions:

The work will require some stamina as the temperature can be hot in late January (average high temperature 28 degrees, low in night 20 degrees) Air conditioning is not available in the school or in many of the places where we visit.


Food:

Nicaraguan food revolves around staples: rice, beans and tortillas. Cheese and eggs are also common as are many fruits and veggies. I personally find the food very tasty


Where will I sleep?

I am actively searching for the best possible accommodation. I have led 10 groups in the last 20 years, and I live in Nicaragua for part of the year, so I do have contacts and get the best Nicaragua has to offer at good prices. You will be expected to share. We will stay at the Best Western Hotel for the last night, which is just across the road from the airport.


What Is My Cost?

$120 a day ($1800 total for the 15 day trip, $1200 for the 10 day trip)


What is included:

Breakfast, lunch, snacks and soft drinks, all accommodation, all wages of locals (builders, interpreters, driver), transport. The price may include several dinners.


How do I pay?

I can accept cheques, however e-transfer is the simplest and easiest…


Deposit due ASAP $100

REFUNDABLE UNTIL 15TH AUGUST. THIS WILL HOLD YOUR PLACE.

If COVID policies are still unclear at 15th August, I will reassess this information.


The rest is due in 2 instalments: 1st September and 1st November.

I am happy to give advice and photos to help with fundraising for both the project and personal expenses.


NOT INCLUDED:

Flight, Insurance (medical and cancellation) any cost incurred in Canada, such as travelling to the airport, parking etc. optional excursions, souvenir money, tips, everything else. I will be giving out advice on flights closer to the date.


FLIGHT INFORMATION:

In April American Airlines, Delta and continental plan to restart their flights to Managua. As of yesterday an American Airline flight through Miami was $580, which is great value. Normally, the flights are around $800-$1100 return. We like Avianca, if travelling from Toronto, Areomexico, if travelling from Vancouver. We keep in touch with everyone and keep a good eye on flight sales. We suggest people travel in groups, but we do meet you at the airport, so you are not alone!


Passport:

Your passport needs to be at least valid 6 months to travel through the USA. No exceptions, they will not let you travel.


Documentation:

You will receive a tourist card on the airplane on the way to Managua, it will give you a 60 day tourist visa. They require basic information plus a $10 (US) visa fee as you go through customs (at this time, possibly subject to change). It is a good idea to have the exact money.


I will update, regarding Covid policy as we get closer to the date.


Money:

The Nicaraguan currency is Cordobas, US $ are accepted and almost preferred in towns. It is a good idea to have small notes. Marked or torn notes are often not accepted. We can obtain Cordobas once we are in Nicaragua. Canadian $ are not accepted, so bring US$ to change.


Insurance:

You are responsible for your own insurance. We suggest you have travel insurance. Out-of-the-country medical insurance is mandatory. I will need the policy name and number for my records.


Health issues: (other than COVID)

The CDC update their website on a regular basis: check it here: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/Nicaragua.htm


As of now no shots are required, however there are recommendations: diphtheria-tetanus (10 years), polio, gamma globulin shot for protection against Hepatitis A. There is typhoid, cholera, measles and malaria present in Nicaragua, but mostly in poor rural areas and the slums in Managua. The most common health related problem you may encounter may be diarrhea caused by bacteria. There are many pharmacies that are very proficient at dealing with gastronomic problems.


Safety:

Many people worry about personal security when travelling for the first time in Nicaragua. Much of the fear is based on preconceived notions of the people they will encounter. My team will try our utmost to keep you safe from harm. Wisdom goes a long way; do not walk alone at night, do not wear expensive jewelry, tell us where you are going if you plan to travel somewhere alone. Bear this in mind: Nicaragua’s capitol city can now be compared to an average US city for crime rates!


Baggage:

We love to give away items to help the families we meet. I will be providing a list of much needed items. I HOPE you will help us with carrying as much as we can so we may donate it to others when we get there. I have a list of much needed items.


Things to bring: (for yourselves)

  • Medication, sunscreen, bug spray, swimmers, work pants/shorts

  • Money belt for passport and money

  • Anti bacterial wipes

  • Camera

  • Good shoes for walking, working in

  • Hat for sun

  • Light waterproof jacket

  • Towel, wash cloth, soap

  • Journal and pen

  • Flashlight (walking in the night is really DARK)

  • Antihistamines if you have allergies

  • Aspirin, band aids, basic toiletries


Contacts:

Suzanne Campbell 250 222 7779

Terryanne Daniel 2263763600





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