JustHope News

Dee Dee Jones and Julie Blake participated in a PartnerTrip with Federated Church of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, in November of 2017. We asked them to talk about their experience as first-timers to JustHope!

Federated Church group loading up at the airport
Federated Church group loading up at the airport.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you learned about JustHope.

We have been interested in joining a trip with Leslie [Penrose, JustHope's founder] for many years. DeeDee has known Leslie and Steve for about 30 years and attended churches where Leslie was pastoring.

We both have always wanted to travel, but as educators, trips like this never fit into both of our schedules at the right time. We both retired from education, and the timing was perfect. We were both nervous, but really excited. Knowing of Leslie’s sustained work in Nicaragua, assured us we would be in good hands with JustHope.

What did you first think when you landed in Nicaragua?

We were excited and nervous to arrive in Managua, but the sight of

A hard-working group of volunteers that helped build the Model Farm's Learning Center.
A hard-working group of volunteers that helped build the Model Farm's Learning Center.

Kara Luebbering, JustHope's Director of International Programs, looks back at a year of firsts for the Model Farm and shares some ups and downs that so often define the agricultural experience in Nicaragua. Yet with each challenge, we are becoming more knowledgeable about the program and the farming community we serve. Also, in this newsletter:

  • Nicaraguan School Year Starts Feb 5th
  • Upcoming JustHope Trips
  • The Future of Development - A World Bank Report
  • From Our Social Media Feed

Ups and Downs of the Model Farm's First Year

Building the Learning Center at the Model Farm.
Building the Learning Center at the Model Farm.

To get a harvest, you first have to plant the seeds, and 2017 can be defined by the seeds that we planted, both in a metaphorical and actual sense. JustHope’s Model Farm weathered the ups and downs that so often define the agricultural experience in Nicaragua. When planting, you generally put two or more seeds in each hole knowing that some will sprout and some will not. On the Model Farm, we applied the same logic to our endeavors; some ideas flourished, some did not, and some were half-way on the right track. Yet with each harvest, yielding crops or not, knowledge and lessons learned were bountiful.