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Amigos for Christ on a mission
PERU- In October of 2011, Nick Milligan departed from Nicaragua, serving on his first missions trip with Amigos for Christ, telling his mom, Laurieann, “I need to go back. I have unfinished business there. My job is not done. I still have more work to do.”
Nick had accompanied his mother on that mission to distribute Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and train local hospitals and emergency personnel on their use. Neither of them had any idea how much of an impact the trip would have on them.
“What a wonderful opportunity to go back,” noted Laurieann. “It’s not for everyone. You have to find something that calls to you.”
“I was so happy to go back,” stated Nick. “I did a lot during the first trip, but not what I thought I could have done. I was pretty happy to have a second chance.”
The purpose of this year’s trip, for Laurieann, was to go back and retrieve data from AEDs that were used in life-saving circumstances that were deployed during their 2011 visit.
The Milligans were accompanied on the trip by Foster Tech students from Farmington, as well as doctors and nurses from throughout the state.
Nick couldn’t wait to get back there, and this year, Laurieann’s mom, Diane Grimmel, joined them.
“It’s such an emotional roller coaster,” stated Laurieann. “It’s truly a third-world country. They don’t have the resources to help themselves like we do. They’re hard workers. They want to learn. The children want to learn. My gosh, they’re such beautiful people.”
Nick explained a typical day during their 10-day trip to Nicaragua.
“We were up and at breakfast by 7 a.m. We slept in dorm-style rooms. By 8 a.m. we were on a truck or bus to our destination for the day. The village was about an hour away. We had to pack a lunch because we were gone all day. All we had was a plastic baggy for our food and some warm water. So, by the time we ate our sandwiches, they were pretty smashed up.”
“We worked until about 5 p.m. every day and then back on the bus or truck to get to our dorms. We ate dinner around 6 p.m. and then we had time to hang out until bed.”
Nick noted that their meals were generally rice, beans, a little chicken, and they had beef once during their 10-day trip.
“They don’t waste anything,” stated Laurieann. “We eat something until it is gone.”
During the day while Nick was off working to dig holes for water lines to be directed into a small village, Laurieann, along with other emergency-trained staff, visited the local clinics to train them on the AEDs.
“I can’t put it into words what it’s like to be able to help them,” stated Nick. “They didn’t have water in their village. So, we were digging holes that were five feet deep with pickaxes and shovels for miles outside the village. We didn’t have gloves to wear. We all had blisters on our hands, open cuts and were all bandaged up. Our hands were a mess, it was hot out, but none of that mattered. It was was all for a bigger plan. I can’t wait to go back next year.”
During a visit to the local fire department, Nick found himself inspecting a brand new Russian fire truck gifted to the village.
“It was crazy. It was brand new, hoses and things were still all wrapped up, but the department had no idea how to use it. They were waiting for someone to come and train them. So I was showing them different parts and explaining things to them. It was pretty crazy.”
“Whenever we had anything to show them,” noted Laurieann. “They were on the edge of their seats wanting to hear us and learn what they could. It was an amazing experience to know they all wanted to become more educated.”
In fact, Laurieann is pulling together resources for a fire brigade to travel to Nicaragua in 2013 in order to help train the volunteers.
While in Nicaragua, Nick and Laurieann had the opportunity to visit an orphanage.
“It’s not your typical orphanage,” noted Laurieann. “These are children with severe physical and mental disabilities. People just drive by and leave their children there. To see the teens interacting with these children was amazing.”
“I can’t wait to go back,” stated Nick. “My mom is helping me look into a possible internship through the summer. I need to go back for a longer period of time so I can help get more done. It isn’t a walk in the park. It’s definitely not a vacation. We worked hard while we were there and I know I can make a difference by going back again.”
Laurieann stated, “Words cannot describe the feeling I have for Nick being so willing to take this on. It’s not something you can make your child do. Through Nick’s education and his upbringing, he has learned that life is about giving to others. He came to this on his own and it’s very rewarding to see him out there, not to mention all the other teens he worked with.”