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Missionaries head to Nicaragua

Greg Wright and his team are scheduled to spend a week tending to people in the poverty-stricken areas of Nicaragua. They will administer medicine and supplies to children and adults who live in orphanages, dumps or in other poor-quality housing.

This is not Wright's first trip to Nicaragua. Wright, a physician's assistant at Oneida Healthcare Center, took part in this life-changing event in 2006 after getting a letter in the mail from the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission from Bloomington, Ill., asking for help. If another provider could not be found, the mission would be in jeopardy. It was something Wright had always wanted to do.

It wasn't the time spent there that he struggled with, but his time back home. In Nicaragua, children are so loving and people so grateful that it makes any anxiety go away. But when walking into Wal-Mart back home, the reality hit him hard.

"I looked around," Wright said. "There is so much stuff here."

Even in our worst times, we have a better life than the people he had just worked with, Wright said

"I was angry at patients because they were whining but it was me," Wright said. "My perception had changed."

He found himself not sleeping well and not processing daily life. After talking among themselves, the team discovered they were all struggling with the same problems since breaking up. Together they were strong and able to handle what they were seeing.

Each member of the team pays for their own trip, about $1,100 for the flight and about $400 per week for lodging and food. Donations help offset the costs and anything extra is given to benefit the orphanage. Sending money through the mail has turned out to be unreliable, so they prefer to give donations directly to Sandy Carter, who runs the orphanage in which the team stays.

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