Hello all. It's been a very long time since we got to tackle this blog and update you on what we've been up to- apologies for that. But for this coming summer, I'll be committed to keeping this alive and helping you stay connected on our adventures!
Okay, a brief update is in need. As you may know, we've been doing our work in Lebanon for over the past three years. We've encountered some tremendous youth, worked with amazing volunteers, and have had the privilege of making an impact on many blind youths.
Unfortunately, this summer, we are unable to return. The political instability has become increasingly dangerous, Syria's war continues to rage on, and our embassy has made it clear that they cannot offer help while we are there. Although we as leaders of ETI wanted to leave our safety aside and go back, the safety of campers and volunteers came into play. With hearts broken, we realized that returning this summer might do more harm than good.
But we didn't want to stay idle for this summer. We've never skipped a beat with our work and we aren't about to start now-- which is how we find ourselves today situated in the sunny cities of Nicaragua.
Nicaragua, the land of lakes and volcanoes and palm trees, although beautiful, has gone through much devastation in the past two decades. They've gone through a revolution, a civil war, corrupt government, and natural disasters. This has developed intense distress throughout the land, leaving more than 50% below the poverty line and making it the second poorest country in Latin America. There are more than 30,000 documented people in Nicaragua that are blind, and much more that have not been recorded. Only about 30% of the youth here complete primary school, while barely 5% of disabled children receive adequate education.
We're here this summer to personally assess the situation of the blind youth here and see if ETI and our programs can be a good fit. The next couple of weeks will be filled with meeting after meeting- with universities, local NGO's, blind schools, government officials, and many locals.
We're excited. We woke up this morning to a blast of Central American sunlight and the music of all types of birds here. I'll leave you this morning with our view: