Nicaragua Day 4, Part 2: FOOTBALL!!

First full day of work in Nicaragua could not wait to go to sleep, and was actually nodding off during our evening round table after dinner after a full day of work in the sun. Part of our round table after dinner is to talk about the things we accomplished during the day and to talk about our goals for the next day. One of the things that was recognized on day one was how each of us mingled with the locals when they came around to see what we were doing and that we would like to organize a soccer game with the kids at the end of day #2. The plan was that we would try to organize a game at the end of our work day around 3:30. This was something that really interested me and that I was looking forward to all day.

The location that we are building the clinic at is on the school grounds so there was a lot of kids around with many kids hanging out after their school got out at 12:30. The boys that stayed around, ages 6 – 12, really wanted to get involved in what we were doing and were trying to communicate with us as much as possible. After working in the 34 degrees weather all day I was ready to get a jump on that game and call it a day. After taking off my tool belt I looked at the boys and said football, the Spanish word for soccer and the excitement that they showed was really awesome. Next thing I knew there was kids coming from everywhere and we were kicking the ball around.  The kids were then looking to me to organize a game so what I resorted to was to have everyone through a shoe into the middle, this was tough to get across to everyone as I do not know Spanish so I did a lot of pointing and animating with my hands.

Once I had the 12 kids put in their shoes I through 6 to each side including mine and within 5 minutes the game was on. Wow, some of these kids could really play!! After 10 minutes two of the older boys stopped the game and were trying to tell me something, “granda” “granda”. I though they wanted to make the goals bigger because our game had some many kids now playing so I was nodding. One of the boys knew I was not understanding what he was saying so he grabbed my hand and starting leading me towards the front of the school, that’s when I grasped that they wanted a bigger playing area.

Once we got around to the front of the school we re-organized the teams because we now had over 20 kids and the game was on again. All of these kids loved to play the game even though we were not really playing in a field that I could imagine a game happening in, grass up to a foot high, cement sidewalk through the middle, and very uneven ground.

My 8 year old son plays soccer on every break at school and I would really like for him to see how these boys, who are relatively the same age as him, are able to play the game that they love not matter what they were playing on. At home we have cut grass, goal posts, new balls, and they have none of this, but still are able to play the game with passion. This was a really great way to end the work day and I am sure most of these boys will be hanging out tomorrow afternoon to have another game.

Mark Brandow

Nicaragua Day 4: Vertical Challenge


Big day today with a lot of productivity! The main roof structure is up with cross purlings going on.  The interior walls are taking shape and the bathroom and two medical rooms are compete.  With a few design changes we’ve modified the pharmacy  and added two more much needed medical rooms  With some challenges, Nathan was even able to get much of the wiring pulled through the conduit! Needless to say today was a success!

The school next door was in session today so we had a large number of interested kids peeking through the doors.  Many of them were eager to get involved and help.  As three of them joined me to cut the opening for the bathroom door, they stated to show a bit of interest in my size.  One was specifically memorized at the size of my shoes.  As time went on more kids came out.  Before you knew it they were all wanting to stand next to me! Some of the kids came up with a plan to “beat” my height, and soon there were buckets around me with kids standing on top of them. It was quite a site!

Anton Van Dyk


Nicaragua Day 3, Part 2: The Important Things

Today,  we went to start building the medical clinic in Nicaragua. I realized very quickly how bad my Spanish is and the only way I can interact with the locals is by saying a few words like “hola, como estas & gracias”.

The best part though? Running around with the young children. They are so excited to see technology like power tools, cameras, and safety equipment( like ear muffs and sunglasses that we are using to erect the galvanized steel roof structure.)

 We have gained a lot of headway already being only day 1 of work. Its really heart warming to think we are making a difference with the local economy and helping with better medical care.I really loved to see all of the kids smiling faces. It brings me alot of joy to help out this community of great people.

I feel I can learn a lot from them and how they live their lives. I can really sit back and see how much we have to be thankful of and learn we don’t really need all of the material things we have. Spending time with the people you love is so much more important.

Learning lots and continuing to make headway!

Jeremy Ross


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Nicaragua Day 3-Skittles, Human Jungle Gyms and more

Today we started the hospital project in Nicaragua. We are working on a site that shares property with a school, so there are tons of young children running around watching and are entertained by the new faces.

If you know me at all, you know I love kids; So this was quite exciting for me.

My go to move since we got here was to break the ice with skittles. I carry skittles with me because I am diabetic, and in case of a low blood sugar skittles work to pick me up quickly.  They also work well to connect with the kids.  Once I break the ice with skittles, they usually like piggy backs, being tossed in the air as high as possible, and basically treating me as a human jungle gym. If I could I would spend the entire day playing with the children, hearing their laughter warms my heart.

This is one of the young boys who I spent time today.Like the rest of them, he is pretty darn cute and the friendship we have started I hope to continue to build throughout the week and remember it for the rest of my life. How could you forget a face a like that!

-Jake Vandermeer



Nicaragua Day 2-Glad to be safe and sound!

What a start to the trip, not in any way we could anticipate. After many delays in Houston we finally landed in Nicaragua about 7 hours behind schedule. We met up with Wally & Rob loaded all of our luggage into the truck & trailer and started the final leg of our journey.

Unfortunately our bad luck had not run out and one of our vehicles was involved in an accident with a motorcyclist. Fortunately for us none of our team was physically injured, those in the vehicle were a little shaken up from it. The motorcyclist (Louis) was taken to the hospital and thankfully the most serious injury was a couple of broken bones in his leg. The driver (Rob) of our vehicle had to go with the police and so the rest of the team piled into 3 cabs. We finally arrived at the compound around 3:45AM local time,  24 hours after leaving Centra.

When we awoke Rob had been released by the police and at this point has been cleared of responsibility for the accident, which is a huge relief for Rob and us. We then enjoyed a delicious breakfast, had a tour of the property and saw a lot of variation in agricultural techniques as Wally experiments with the best way to grow crops here.

Later in the afternoon we loaded into 2 vehicles Nicaraguan style (sitting in the truck bed, hanging out of the back of the jeep) and headed down to Mojica for a Bible study and to see the work that was done by the previous team we sent two years ago. It was amazing seeing John & Corrine reconnect with some of the members of this community, pictures were updated (yes Garett we met the little girl who stole your heart) and we tried to communicate with our limited Spanish.

The community members expressed their gratitude for how we have made a positive impact on their lives and eagerly showed us around their homes. Jake made friends with all the kids by handing out Skittles but they still would not give him a high-five by the time we left.

It is now dark, dinner is done and the effects of about 8 hours of sleep for most of us in the last 48 hours is sitting in. Tomorrow we start the work on the medical clinic.

-Nathan Veenstra

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Nicaragua Day 1-Off we go!

At the Airport:

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Our day started bright andd early Saturday morning. Most of us met at Centra head office at 3:40 am.

Once we arrived at the airport we made the long journey through many check points.

Our flight was quicker than we expected into Houston but when we arrived at 1:15 pm we were told we would have to wait on the Tarmac for 45 minutes for a gate to open. Once we arrive we realized we just missed a tornado just south of the Houston airport.

Which led to a very long delay…. And many silly antics from our team. The airport had thousands of displaced passengers, cancelled flights, and a 3 hour customer service line up.

We were one of the fortunate groups and managed to all get on a flight to Managua at 10:30 pm Houston time….

Needless to say when our pilot arrived to take us on the rest of our journey the large crowd erupted in applause.

We were a little worried on boarding when myself and Anton were left behind because of the over booked flight. It was a nail biter… But we managed to just squeak on.

Our team is really looking forward to arriving at La Semilla to get a good night sleep. Our expected arrival is 1:15 am mountain time. Then the drive to the ministry.

Can’t wait to settle in and create some wonderful memories.


Tammy Cleven


Off to Nicaragua we go!

Packed and Ready to go!

Packed and Ready to go!

Bright and Early on October 31st, 2015 a team of 14 Centra employee owners will board a flight to Nicaragua. For the next 8 days, this team will work to utilize all its varying skills to build a Healthcare Clinic; but they will also work to connect with the locals to give them improved living conditions, donate much needed supplies and to have a bit of fun while they are at it.

This will be the second time heading to Nicaragua, but our first official trip tied directly to our registered charity, Centra Cares, and we are truly astounded by the generosity we have received. As a company we have raised $40,000 to fund the trip and building of the Clinic! In addition, we are able to take a large amount of supplies with us down, due to everyone’s donations.

Our team is eager to set off on this journey, and would like to thank each and every person who has helped us. Whether it’s through funding, donations, or support, all of it is appreciated!

*Keep Checking back over the next two weeks for pictures, journal entries, and updates of the progress and how our team is doing. You can also connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to receive instant updates all the time!*