Written by Ed Temple’s son Elijah, of Calgary, AB

Opportunity International Canada (OIC) is a charity that has been facing poverty head on for the past 40 years. Christ’s call to serve the poor is what directs and energizes the organization’s efforts, says Ed Temple, OIC’s Alberta director of philanthropy. Those efforts include exciting new tools and strategies to tackle poverty and related issues worldwide.

Elijah wrote about his experience in Nicaragua, which he wants to share. This is his story:

Hi, my name is Elijah and I’m 12 years old. On April 17, my dad and I flew out of Calgary into Houston where we stayed in a Holiday Inn. The plane ride was pretty good even though I was scared of crashing at first — but I knew God would be there even in dark times. We got to stay in Houston for the day; we went to a Mexican place for dinner and got to visit the NASA Space Center. There I got a penguin plushy in a space suit, I named him Icy. During the time at the Space Center I went on a tour and got to see different cool spaceships and a learn a lot of detailed information.

The next day, at about 4:00 in the morning I and my dad flew out of Houston to Managua, Nicaragua. There we met our country host named Ivania. She showed us around, including our hotel and the places we could eat. Our hotel was one floor, and we had a pool which was great because it was so hot (between 30-35 degrees Celsius). Since we could not drink from the tap, we had to get a lot of drinks to quench our thirst.

That night, we met Ivania’s family including her husband Juan and four kids — my new friends! Together, we all went out for Nicaraguan food. The next day we met our team and went to see a presentation on poverty and Nicaragua. Then we got to have lunch right at the client’s place — her business was a restaurant.

My favourite part of the trip was going to Jinotega — there they grew a lot of coffee and had a kind of camping base where they also had a restaurant; that’s where we ate that night. I also really liked going to see an active volcano with Ivania’s family.

“What really moved me was the way families cherished each other deeply, even in the face of poverty.”

What really moved me was the way families cherished each other deeply, even in the face of poverty. We visited many clients and their businesses in Managua where they had received a loan. The one that stood out to me the most was a single mother named Tanya. She was very responsible with her business; she sells bread, tortillas, phone cases, music and movies. She mentioned that tortillas did not make much money, but she continues to sell them because that’s what she started with.

What surprised me even more was that she lived in a one-room house, yet she still showed responsibility by buying land and renting it out to her family. Although she is a single mom, I saw how hard she worked for her kids and how she was helping her family and neighbours. This is all thanks to a single loan.

Nicaragua has been a great trip and I’m hoping that other kids and adults can read this and have the desire to visit Nicaragua, helping to alleviate poverty and make a difference in the world. It is just great seeing for myself how Opportunity International helps people change their lives through a loan.