United Reformed Church

Go with Greta and Connect to Nicaragua

Welcome to our free online teaching resource to help children, young people and adults become more involved in mission, global development and social justice.

In this section we’re visiting Nicaragua.

There are two elements to this resource, and each one is aimed at different age groups:

  • Go with Greta is the name of the materials aimed at children aged between 5 and 10
  • #Connect2 is the name of the resources aimed at older children in the 11 to 14 age range

For hard copies of the booklet, please email [email protected] giving your postal address and preferred number of copies.

Tap the tabbed pages below to download the each booklet or the five individual sessions for each age group.


These resources are aimed at children aged between 5 to 10 years of age and focus on Nicaragua.

You can download the whole booklet (PDF | 2mb) or download the individual sessions below.

There is also a supplement to help you adapt the sessions for the younger children in the age range.

Session 1: Here We Are

Where in the world is Nicaragua?

Can you find it on a globe? What do you notice about where it is? Nicaragua is pretty far away from the UK – 8,310 km (5,164 miles) – which means it takes more than 11 hours to get there by plane. It’s located in Central America, with a mountainous border with Honduras to the north, and Costa Rica to the south. Roughly triangular in shape, with each side about 310 miles (500 kilometers) long, it is also bordered by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

Its name comes from Nicarao, chief of the American Indian tribe that lived in part of Nicaragua during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The largest city in the country is the capital city, Managua, and other important cities include LeÓn, Masaya, and Granada. Nicaragua is known as ‘the land of lakes and volcanoes’. The country has many lakes and lagoons, plus 50 volcanoes, although most of these are not believed to be active. Out of all the 88 star constellations, 86 can be clearly seen the night sky over Nicaragua.

Flag, Coat of Arms, national anthem

This is the Coat of Arms of Nicaragua. This version has been used since 1971. It is made up of a gold-bordered triangle with five volcanoes behind a lake with a rainbow above, and a type of hat called a Phrygian or liberty cap. In a circle around the triangle it says ‘Republic of Nicaragua – Central America’. The five volcanoes represent the five states that make up the Republic of Central America, and the sun’s rays and rainbow represent a bright future.

You can see the coat of arms on the country’s flag, together with two blue stripes representing the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and a white stripe symbolising peace.

You can listen to the Nicaraguan national anthem on YouTube.

Population, economy and environment

Nicaragua has a population of six million, and is the second-poorest country in Latin America. Almost 80% of the population live on less than £2 per day. It is one of the countries most affected by climate change in the world and is one of the most diverse countries in Central America. Many people are descended from the indigenous groups of the region – the people who first lived there.

There are also people of African, European and Asian origin. Most live in the lowlands to the west, between the Pacific coast and Lake Managua. The local people call themselves Nicas, while people from other countries tend to refer to them as Nicaraguans.

The main exports of the country are crops, especially coffee, tobacco, sugar cane and bananas. Can you find any products of Nicaragua in your local supermarket? The currency is the córdoba.

Nicaraguan weather is hot and tropical, with average temperatures of 27°C year-round. There are two seasons of weather in Nicaragua: from May to November is the rainy season, while the rest of the year is the dry season. How does this compare with the UK? Along the eastern coast, the Mosquito Coast area gets the most rain in Central America, at 254–635 cm a year!

The official language in Nicaragua is Spanish. The majority of people, 97%, are Christian, with Roman Catholics in the majority. Most adults, 86%, can read, and the average lifespan is 69 years.

Many exotic birds and animals are found in Nicaragua: bull sharks, boa constrictors, monkeys, wild boars, toucans, jaguars, sloths, manatees, sea turtles, and a dozen species ofpoisonous snakes.

The national bird is the guardabarranco. Can you find some pictures of these animals and birds? There are more than 70 protected areas in the country, which help preserve the habitats of many endangered species.

What do you think might threaten wildlife in Nicaragua? Is it the same in the UK?


We thank you, God, that you have created a world full of diversity and variety – different countries, different seasons, different people, different animals, birds, plants and crops, different landscapes. Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world such as Nicaragua. Help us to understand that, even though we are far apart, we have much in common and can do things to help each other. Remind us that we are all your children and loved by you. Amen.

Active prayer

Make a paperchain of people, and decorate them to reflect a wide range of clothing, age, ethnicity, appearance etc. Join everyone’s paper chains together and form them into a circle, standing up, around a globe or a map of the world in the centre. Say “Thank you that, whoever we are and wherever we come from, we are all one family in you. Amen”.

Bible link

Acts 17:26-28 (New International Reader’s Version)

  • From one man he made all the people of the world. Now they live all over the earth. He decided exactly when they should live. And he decided exactly where they should live. God did this so that people would seek him. And perhaps they would reach out for him and find him. They would find him even though he is not far from any of us. ‘In him we live and move and exist.’ As some of your own poets have also said, ‘We are his children.’
  • I wonder what it means to live and move and exist in God?
  • I wonder why God didn’t make everybody the same?
  • I wonder when and where you feel closest to God?


Use pictures of the wildlife found in Nicaragua. Have two identical pictures of each thing. Cut one of each picture into six pieces and jumble all the pieces together, then spread them round the room. Give each team a complete picture and see which team can find all six pieces for their picture quickest. There are some pictures on the resources page on our website.

Greta wonders…

...Why is it good to find out about other countries?

  • What would you ask a child in Nicaragua about their life or their country if you were able to talk to them face to face?
  • Why do you think Nicaragua is described as a poor country?
  • What does the Nicaraguan flag tell you about what’s important for that country? If you designed a coat of arms for your country, what values would you want to represent?


Learn some words in Spanish

  • hola = hello
  • adios = goodbye
  • me llamo… =  my name is…
  • amigo/amiga = friend (m/f)

Look at how earthquakes affect buildings

  • fill a tray with jelly, and place a piece of greaseproof paper over it to stop things sticking.
  • construct your buildings using marshmallows, cocktail sticks or wooden skewers, and squares of cardboard. Be clear about behaviour with pointed sticks, and ensure an adult is on hand to make holes in the cardboard and the marshmallows.
  • stand your buildings on the waxed paper, and shake the tray gently – see how it affects the building.

Session 2: Childhood in Nicaragua

Children in Nicaragua are just like children in the UK. They like to learn and explore, play and spend time with their friends and their family. Some things about their lives are very similar to yours, but some things are quite different.

When I grow up, I want to be a coffee farmer. I would also like to grow cocoa. I really like cocoa. I also like roses. I would also like to grow vegetables like cassavas and also bananas. I like living on a coffee farm, I like walking around it.’ Ariana Blandon, aged 5

Look at the photos of some typical streets in León, Nicaragua. What can you see that looks similar and what looks different?

I wonder what your school is like? You can watch a short film about a day in the life of a Nicaraguan child on YouTube.

Not every child in Nicaragua gets to go to school – sometimes they are needed at home to work or look after their family. Most children get to go to primary school, but only a few go to secondary school. In some schools, there are not enough teachers, so two classes might share a teacher, and not all schools have enough classrooms, so some children might even sit outside to learn. The children all help to keep their classrooms clean and tidy.

Things are changing, though. With the help of a local charity called Soppexcca and Christian Aid, local communities are forming cooperatives where they help each other out. This enables them to build schools for their children that have the things they need to be both safe and good places to learn. What differences can you spot between the pictures of school classrooms, which are in Nicaragua?


Thank you God for all the hard work that the people put into working together as a community.
Thank you for organisations like Soppexcca and the way that cooperatives are helping children to
learn. We pray for those communities who still don’t have clean water or a proper school. Thank you
for active hope that change can happen. Amen.

Active prayer

Using Lego or building bricks, put a label on each brick for each of the things you might thank God for. Read each label out loud as you build a wall or a tower with the bricks. Thank God for all those things that build up community, that build up life chances, that build children up, and that build us up as individuals.

Bible link

1  Thessalonians 5:11 (New International Reader’s Version)

So encourage one another with the hope you have. Build each other up. In fact, that’s what you are doing.

  • I wonder if you can share a story of when you have been helped by somebody else?
  • I wonder what you could say or do to help somebody else learn something new?
  • I wonder what you would like to be when you grow up?


Play a game of beetle, but to build a school instead of a beetle. Take it in turns to roll a die. When you roll a 6, you can draw 3 sides of a rectangle with no top as the school building. You can’t draw anything else until you have drawn this. When you roll a 5, you can draw a roof on your school. Roll a 4 to draw a room next to the school to house a toilet. Roll a 3 to draw a teacher, and roll a 2 to draw a blackboard or whiteboard. Each time you roll a 1, draw a chair, until you have drawn five chairs. When your picture is complete, shout ‘Time for School!’

Children in Nicaragua like playing baseball, and also like playing tag games. Can you make up a game of tag that is linked to our theme?

Greta wonders…

...Which aspects of a school are essential and which are just nice to have?

  • Why do you think it is important for children in Nicaragua to go to school?
  • What would you tell a child in Nicaragua about your life?

Action point

Many of the cooperatives where the community work together are helped to plant and grow coffee. The money they earn helps to build the new schools as well as feeding their families. The cooperatives are part of the Fairtrade organisation which makes sure that people are paid fairly for the things they produce. Visit your local supermarket and find out which types of hot chocolate have the Fairtrade mark. Does your church use fairly traded coffee?

What about your school? Can you write a letter to encourage someone to swap to fair trade coffee?


All children have the right to learn and the right to play. Children in Nicaragua do not always get a lot of time to play, especially if they are girls, but when they do, they play more games outdoors than indoors. They are very creative, and find all sorts of things to play with, including making their own kites.

Can you use recycled materials to make your own kites? One method uses an old plastic bag or scrap paper, two sticks, string, tape, a toilet paper roll and ribbon. Cut out a square or diamond of plastic or paper and lay the sticks on it from corner to corner, crossing at the middle. Tape

the sticks firmly in place. Make a small hole in each corner of your kite and tie pieces of string, slightly longer than the sticks, to join the top hole to the bottom and the right-hand hole to the left so that they cross in the middle. Tie the end of a very long piece of string to the point where

the two strings cross so that they are all tied together. Roll the other end of your string around a toilet roll centre or a piece of cardboard so that you can control how much string you let out at a time. You could add a ribbon tail. Now let’s see how high your kite will fly! Perhaps you could decorate it with a Nicaraguan flag design.

Session 3: Environment in Nicaragua

Hurricanes Eta and Iota

Tropical cyclones are common in the country, with an average of one storm happening a year. A cyclone is a circular storm that forms over a warm ocean, bringing heavy rains and strong winds. A hurricane is another name for something that is essentially the same thing, the difference being which ocean they develop in. Coastal areas are particularly affected, and in Nicaragua they are usually seen from July through to October. However, 2020 had more storms than any other year since records began. It is the first year in which two hurricanes formed in the Atlantic in November, which is later than the time when hurricanes usually hit.

The environment is very important to me because it’s my lifeline. Johaira, aged 15

The high winds and floods that came with these storms caused a huge amount of damage to property. Within two weeks in November 2020, two hurricanes called Eta and Iota swept through Nicaragua. About 160,000 Nicaraguans had to be evacuated from their homes to keep them safe. Many people were injured or died in the hurricane, including children.

La Prensa, a local newspaper, reported people being swept away by a raging river south of the capital, Managua. Sadly, 13 people were reported missing after a landslide near the city of Matagalpa, including a 12-year-old girl. Many people lost their homes, crops and livelihoods.

Nicaragua’s vice-president, Rosario Murillo was quoted in The Guardian as saying that catastrophic physical damage had been caused by what authorities called the most powerful storm ever to hit the country. ‘Thank God more lives have not been lost,’ she said. Experts say that the temperature of the sea is rising, and this contributes to the strength of the hurricanes. The rising temperature of the sea is linked to climate change.

Christian Aid worked with its partners Soppexcca to provide food, medicine and hygiene kits to 5,000 people who were in desperate need. They also supported children and adults to feel less anxious about what had happened to them through recreational activities like drawing, drama, and play.

You can find out more about cyclones and hurricanes on the BBC Newsround webpage.This explains how they are formed, why they are given names, and what damage they can do. Did you know the winds in a cyclone or hurricane can get faster than 73 miles an hour? That’s faster than a car is allowed to drive on the motorway!

With climate change, we have diseases in the coffee and a lot of pollution. I have learnt about climate change at school. They teach us everything about it, what the future will be if we don’t take care of the environment. Johaira, aged 15


Dear Lord, we pray for your protection over the people in Nicaragua who suffer from these huge storms that destroy homes, crops and lives. Help us to be more concerned in helping to care and look after your creation. Amen.

Active prayer

Using the template from the resources page on the website, make a windmill. On each of the sails, write or draw a prayer for communities in Nicaragua that have been affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota, a prayer thanking God for his amazing creation, a prayer thanking God for your home, and a prayer for people across the world to cut down on the things they do that affect the environment.

Bible link

Psalm 24:1-2 (International Children’s Bible)

‘The earth and everything in it belong to the Lord. The world and all its people belong to him. He built it on the waters. He set it on the rivers’

We are called to look after God’s creation and act in ways that will restore and protect the environment. I wonder how can you play your part in looking after God’s creation?

Can you write a poem or a song about the wonder of God’s creation?


An adaptation of Fruit Salad

Everyone sits on a chair set in a circle, with one person standing in the middle without a chair.

The leader labels each player one of four types of weather: snow, rain, sun or cloudy. The one in the middle calls out a type of weather, and everyone in the circle with that weather type must swap places, and find another chair to sit on. At the same time, the person in the middle must try to find a chair. The person left standing is the new caller. Calling out ‘Hurricane’ means everyone must get up and change places.

Greta wonders…

Climate change is becoming a more urgent issue as we learn more about the impact of human actions on creation. Think about how climate change is affecting UK weather patterns, and how this has affected local communities. Have you ever been outside on a wet and windy day? What is it like? How would you feel if you had no home to go back to because it has been blown away?

Action point

Find out more about how hurricanes are formed. Did you know your actions, together with those of everyone else, can affect the weather, and that that affects communities like those in Nicaragua? What actions can you take to help climate disruption? You might walk to school, or put on an extra layer of clothes rather than turning up the heating.

Carry out a ‘How well I look after the environment’ survey of people in your church, family or school to see how they are doing in protecting the environment. Can you persuade them to do more? Things to think about include water usage, travel, recycling and reusing, what you eat, how you choose what you buy, how you heat your home, and how you use your garden. Discuss with the leadership of your church how it might become an eco-church.


Weather watch

Keep a weather chart monitoring the weather in a town in Nicaragua and in your part of the world each day for a month. You can do this by going to World Weather Online. How does it compare?

You can download a weather monitoring chart in the resources chapter at the bottom of the page or you can make your own.

Session 4: Celebrating my Country

Nicaragua is known as the land of lakes and volcanoes because of the number of lagoons and lakes it has, and the chain of volcanoes that runs from the north to the south along the Pacific side of the country. By 2006, tourism had become the second largest industry. The majority of tourists are from the US, Central or South America, and Europe, with the main attractions being the beaches, scenic  routes, and the beautiful buildings in cities such as LeÓn and Granada. Of the many volcanoes, only around seven are now considered active, and many of the rest offer tourist activities such as hiking, climbing, camping and swimming in the crater lakes.

Coffee, chocolate and honey

Nearly two-thirds of Nicaragua’s coffee crop comes from the northern part of the central highlands, to the north and east of the town of Estelí. Harry Espino is one of many farmers there. He is married with two children, and farms both coffee and cocoa. Harry has noticed that the changing weather affects his coffee crop. He likes the fact that cocoa is harvested more than once a year, so it gives him and his family a year-round income.

‘Cocoa is like having a cow which you milk every day; with coffee it’s a once-a-year harvest.’  Harry Espino, a farmer with two children

Climate change has been a problem, and has allowed many diseases to develop in the coffee crop. Harry started planting cocoa a few years ago with the help of the technicians from Soppexcca, who showed him how to sow, handle disease, and plant the grafted plants. For many farmers, the future with climate disruption may mean that they can’t grow coffee any more, as coffee needs cooler weather to grow. If the temperature rises, they will need to shift into cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate. Growing and producing different crops and products is called diversifying. It means that if one crop fails, there are other crops and products that still bring in money.

Bering Ramos, a young farmer, says that she didn’t have any idea how chocolate was made until she visited a chocolate factory that was close to her farm. While there, she was able to see the many processes that are needed to transform the cocoa to chocolate. Many cocoa farmers haven’t ever tasted chocolate!

Arlen Joel Lopez Pineda is a young farmer who lives near Jinotega. Climate change was affecting his crops. Soppexcca suggested a bee keeping project, and the following year he had good honey production. His farm also makes honey products like cough medicines, shampoo and honey chocolate – a creamy honey mixed with chocolate and peanuts.

Arlen explains that even farmers who keep bees are seeing the effects of climate change. ‘In the summer, it’s raining, and then it’s too hot and sunny, when it’s dry you have the flowers, and when the flowers are ready to be harvested by the bees, it rains, and the bees don’t come out of the hives. The farmers harvest the honey from February to May, and there are three harvests. In the dry season, the bees are fed with a liquid mix of sugar and water to keep them strong. After that, a special screen is put in and they get to work producing the honey. Once the honey is extracted, it is put it into a sediment tank, and then it is poured into the pots and labelled. Producing honey is something pretty. It is not polluting, and is helping to pollinate the flowers.’


Dear God, we thank you for the beauty of Nicaragua. We pray that you will help the farmers find the best crops to grow and the best time to grow them. We thank you for the bees of the air and for the wonderful way that you have designed them to keep every other aspect of your creation going. We pray your protection over the bees and that you will help people understand just how important they are. Amen.

Active prayer

Take your seed bombs (see the chapter below) and pray a prayer over the soil or area in which you throw the seeds, asking God to bless the soil for good germination and attraction to bees.

Bible link

(International Children’s Bible)

Proverbs 25:16 If you find honey, don’t eat too much. Too much of it will make you sick.’

Proverbs 24:13 ‘My child, eat honey because it is good. Honey from the honeycomb tastes sweet’.

  • Have your ever tasted the sweetness of honey? Why not try some on hot, buttered toast?
  • Honey is good and pleasant, but too much is not good for you. Think about other things in your life that are good or fun, but too much of which can be bad for you. Too much fast food can make you fat; eating too many sweets rots your teeth; too much cake, biscuits and chocolate can cause health problems such as diabetes; watching your computer or mobile phone screen all day can affect your sleep.


The chocolate game

You will need: A Fairtrade wrapped bar of chocolate; a plate; a knife and fork; some dressing-up items – at least a hat, scarf, and gloves; two dice.

How to play: Put the Fairtrade chocolate on the plate with the cutlery nearby and sit the children around it in a circle. Take it in turns to roll the dice, passing them around the circle. When someone rolls a double, they leap into the centre of the circle, put on the dressing up clothes, and start to unwrap and eat the Fairtrade chocolate, using only the knife and fork. They keep going until someone else rolls a double, then that person takes over. If there is a large group, make two teams and see which team finishes the chocolate first.

Greta wonders…

Why are farmers in Nicaragua having to change what they grow? What do the farmers in your local area specialise in, and have they had to change their methods of farming? In Nicaragua, many children would be helping on the farm as well as doing their school studies. Have you ever visited a working farm? What do you think it would be like working on a farm?

Action point

Make seed bombs. You need wildflower seeds (these are available from Commitment for Life), soil, flour, water and a mixing bowl. Mix 10 parts soil to 1 part flour. Slowly add water, and mix to form a sticky dough. Roll this into a golf ball-sized ball. Put seeds on a tray, and roll the ball over them until it is coated with seeds. Allow to dry for two days. It’s then ready to throw in your garden or on a patch of unused ground.

Could you arrange a trip to visit a honey farm, or arrange for a beekeeper to visit the group to talk about why bees are so important for the environment? Visit the British Bee Keepers Association website to find a beekeeper near you. Or watch Bee Movie (2007) to see the importance of bees to the environment.


  • Make Chocolate Krispies, and try using honey instead of golden syrup. See the resources chapter below for the recipe. Melt together 150g fairtrade chocolate, 100g butter and 4 tbsp honey or syrup. Gradually stir in 100g cereal. Allow to set.
  • Make a coffee bean coaster. You need old CDs or DVDs, coffee beans, PVA glue and varnish. Glue your coffee beans one by one onto the top side of a CD, and allow the glue to dry completely. Once dried, you can varnish with clear varnish and then enjoy your mug of coffee resting on a bed of its own beans and its aroma.

Session 5: Heroes and Villains

The villains

Nicaragua experiences the effects of two major villains – climate change and deforestation.

Climate change is brought about by humans around the world, especially in countries like the UK and the US, where too much carbon dioxide is produced by factories and in vehicle exhausts. As a result, weather patterns around the world are changing. Nicaragua suffers from earthquakes and hurricanes, but also from too much or too little rain. All of these are being made worse by climate change.

If there’s too much rain, coffee beans can suffer from fungal diseases. If there is not enough rain and too much sun, the beans can suffer from diseases like chasparria. This causes half the bean to become ripe too soon and look scorched, while the other half remains under-developed. Nicaraguan farmers are currently seeing a loss of about 30% of their crops; the figure used to be just 5%.

The changing climate also affects people’s health.

Deforestation happens when trees and forests are cut down, either for the timber or to use the ground for other purposes, such as building houses and roads, or to grow crops. The forests are the habitat of many plants and creatures, and the trees help to combat climate change as they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. They also contribute to the water cycle. Nicaragua has lost a large proportion of its rainforest.

The heroes

But it is not all bad news. There are heroes in Nicaragua who help to combat the effects of climate change and deforestation, and help the farmers to diversify into growing different crops.

Commitment for Life works with Christian Aid, who in turn work with Soppexcca. This is a cooperative, which means a large group from the community working together and supporting each other. The cooperative works with the environment and helps people learn about climate change and deforestation.

People find new and better ways to grow their crops, ways which help them and the environment. Farmers are shown new crops, such as cocoa, which will grow better and earn them more. Soppexcca also promotes human rights and equality, and provides schools, educational materials and uniforms, and medicines for the poorest families. It is a Fairtrade organisation that makes sure all the members of the cooperative get paid fairly for their work.

The Fairtrade Foundation is another hero in this story. When you buy produce with the Fairtrade mark on, you know that the people who produced it get a fair wage, and are able to feed their family and pay their bills with the money they earn.

Groups of farmers also get some extra money, the Fairtrade Premium, which they can spend to improve their community or their farming. Sometimes this means we have to pay a little more on the things we buy, but it is worth it to know that we are making a difference to someone’s life.

‘With climate change, I worry about my daughters’ and new little grandson’s future. I’m going to advise them, when they need to plant one tree, sow at least two. From him being little, I’m going to teach him to protect the environment.

With climate change I think we must teach our families to respect the environment and to do every action to secure and improve it because without it, we don’t have anything.’ Angela Zelaya, mother to Johaira (15) and Ariana (5).


Dear God, we are sorry that sometimes the things we do spoil your beautiful creation and make life harder for others. Help us to play our part in making things better. Help us to share what we have with others and help them, like the people in the cooperatives. Help us to take care of our environment, like the farmers are learning to do. Thank you for organisations like the Fairtrade Foundation, Soppexcca and  Christian Aid, who do all they can to make the world a fairer place for all. Amen.

Bible link

Colossians 3:23 (New International Reader’s Version)

Work at everything you do with all your heart. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for human masters.

  • I wonder if you can share a story of something you’ve done which would make God smile?
  • I wonder whether you ever think of God when you’re doing chores or homework?
  • I wonder what your dreams for the future are – for yourself, for the world, for Nicaragua?


Play a heroes and villains game. One team are the heroes, and the other team are the villains. One way you could do this is to stand up some empty drinks bottles or cans in the middle of the room like skittles – you may need to stand two cans on top of each other. One team has balls or beanbags and has to throw them to try and knock all the skittles down faster than the other team can stand them up again.

Set a timer, and see how many are standing when the time runs out. An alternative might be to have some buckets with a piece of recycling in each. The villains try to tip the recycling out onto the floor while the heroes try to put one piece in each bucket. Remember to recycle all the equipment after the game!

Greta wonders…

...What are the things you want in life, and what are the things you need?

Why do you think it is important that children know about the environment? Many people in Nicaragua grow cocoa beans, but have never tasted chocolate. How would you describe chocolate to them?

Action point

Check your own carbon footprint – this website from the WWF will calculate the impact you have on climate change and explain how your lifestyle choices can affect other countries as well as the UK.

Visit a local supermarket and see how many items you can find with the Fairtrade mark. Find out whether your church and your school buy Fairtrade coffee and tea. Write a letter to your MP to ask whether they use Fairtrade and local produce in their offices and in parliament, and explain why you think this is important.

If you have a piece of garden you can use, why not plant a tree? Or you could use the seeds of fruit or the tops of carrots or pineapples to grow a plant indoors.


Cut some rough templates out of card to draw around to get a feather shape – a long leaf shape with one end rounded and the other end coming to a point, about 15 to 20cm long. Use these templates to draw onto paper then cut out the shape. Decorate these feathers in any way you choose, as long as they are bright and colourful – you could use paints, collage, pens even real feathers!

Now cut two large wing shapes out of thick cardboard, each the length of the longest-armed child’s arms. Get everyone to stick their feathers onto the wings. Place the finished wings onto the floor and each child can lie down with their arms out over the wings while someone takes a photo. You could use these photos to make ‘Save the Rainforest’ posters.

Alternatively, for younger children, you could make parrots using an upturned paper cup, feathers, wool, paper and wobbly eyes.

Intergenerational Celebration

Decorate your hall or your Zoom backgrounds with images of Nicaragua, such as flags, banners, coat of arms, pictures of animals and birds. Can you make a big banner to say ‘Welcome’ in Spanish, the language of Nicaragua: Bienvenidos a Nicaragua? During your celebrations, perhaps you could try saying please and thank you in Spanish too: por favor and gracias (grah-see-ahs).

Make a marimba
You need seven A4 sheets of firm paper (used paper is good), string, glue,scissors, tape, a pencil and a ruler. Take your first two sheets of paper, and roll each of them around a pencil to make long narrow tubes. Then tape the edge and remove your pencil.

Roll each of the remaining sheets of paper in turn around a large glue stick to make shorter, thicker tubes. Before rolling your second tube, cut 2cm off the side of the sheet of A4, then cut 4cm off the next sheet and so on so that each tube is shorter than the last.

Make a sideways V-shape with your two narrow tubes, then fasten each of the wide tubes to them with string at top and bottom of the tubes. Put a dab of glue at each point where the string is tied then turn your marimba over and glue it to a firm piece of cardboard as a base.

Now play your marimba by gently hitting the bars with pencils, like you would play a xylophone.

Make maracas
You need two paper cups, some tape, rice or lentils, and pens, paints or stickers to decorate. Put a handful of rice or lentils into one paper cup. Turn the other cup over and tape it firmly to the top of the first cup so that the rice or lentils are contained inside. Now decorate your maraca.

Use your marimba or your maracas to play along with some typical Nicaraguan music. Why not dance along? Watch this YouTube video for inspiration.

To drink – arroz con piña
What you need: 1 large pineapple, 1.5 cups of rice, 1 cup of evaporated milk, vanilla essence, cinnamon and sugar to taste.

What to do: Cut the top off the pineapple – you could plant this and see what grows! Put the base of the pineapple, the peel and the core in a pan, cover with water, add the rice and a stick of cinnamon, and boil until the rice is soft.

Meanwhile, chop the rest of the pineapple into chunks. You can add sugar and vanilla essence to the hot liquid to taste at this point, if needed. Remove the scraps of peel and cinnamon stick from the mix and discard, then add evaporated milk and some of the flesh of the pineapple to the mix and blend in a blender or by pushing it through a sieve.

Drink with ice, and eat up any remaining pineapple chunks.

To eat – quesillo snacks
Meaning ‘little cheese’, these are popular snacks in Nicaragua, and are usually served with a little bag to hold the vinegar.

What you need: A corn tortilla, soft white cheese, finely chopped onions soaked overnight in vinegar, salt and sour cream.

What you do: Cover one side of the tortilla with cheese, and heat in the microwave until the cheese is melted. Add a pinch of salt, some onions and a bit of sour cream. Wrap and serve.

Fruit salad
A lot of different fruits grow in Nicaragua. Why not use some of them to make a fruit salad, or blend them together to make a fruit smoothie? You could try banana, mango, plantain, pineapple, papaya, orange, lemon, mandarin orange, passion fruit, cantaloupe, or even coconut. If you can find them, you could also try pitaya (dragon fruit) or sapodilla.

More recipes
See the resources chapter below for the recipe for a savoury and a sweet recipe from Nicaragua. Gallopinto is a meal eaten daily in Nicaragua, especially for breakfast.

Tres Leches cake is a popular festival cake, but this recipe is for cupcakes. Both recipes take a little longer to prepare, so will need to be made in advance.

See the recipe chapter below for more ideas.

Share a prayer
Share all you’ve learned about Nicaragua with each other and any visitors. Close with a prayer – what do you think is most important to talk to God about when you think of all you’ve found out about life in Nicaragua? What can you praise God for and thank God for? What might you want to ask God, and what might God be asking of you?

The intergenerational celebration is for all ages together. You may wish to invite families to join you. Or perhaps you could use these celebration idea to host an event for your church, and invite members of the congregation and the leadership to think about whether they could become a Commitment for Life congregation.

Weaving prayer
Weaving is one of the artisan crafts that you will find in Nicaragua. Patterns are often colourful, especially when they weave hammocks. Tie each end of nine equal-lengthed pieces of string to a piece of dowel or a broom handle or the back of a chair. Give each person a ribbon or a long strip of coloured paper.

Each person should write on their ribbon/paper their own prayer for Nicaragua, thinking of something that has really resonated with them during the sessions. It could be a thank you prayer, a sorry prayer, a please prayer, or a combination of these. Then, in turn, each person can weave their prayer in and out of the strings to make a colourful prayer hammock that can then be hung on the wall.

Play a runaround quiz game. Label the four corners of the room A, B, C and D, and ask some multi-choice questions about Nicaragua of varying degrees of difficulty, but all covering things we’ve learned together.

Participants go and stand in the corner they think is the right one for the answer. They are given a chance to change their mind (the leader shouts ‘runaround’). Anyone who gets the wrong answer is then out.

Alternatively, put the group into mixed-age teams. The leader has a list of words about Nicaragua. A runner from each team is given the first word, and has to run back to the group and act out the word for the team to guess. Then the next team member runs to get the next word. Every member of the team must take aturn being the runner.

See the resources chapter below for some sample questions.

No cheating!

The Hillsong song ‘So will I’ being sung, with a background video of a visit to Nicaragua.

Watch the video on YouTube

Group members may like to create a drama – or maybe a documentary as though for CBBC or Netflix – about Nicaragua, featuring some of the things they have found out during the course of the topic.

These free resources are suitable for the 11 to 14 age range and provide materials for teaching and exploring mission, global development and social justice over five sessions.  It includes suggestions for an international celebration.

It’s ideal for use by young people and those engaging with them in:

  • group weekly meetings to form the basis of a half-term’s session
  • holiday club gatherings
  • church events taking place over one or two days
  • face-to-face gatherings
  • online group activities

 Download or browse resources online

You can download the whole booklet (PDF | 1.46 mb) or view and download all five individual sessions, plus additional free resources, below:

Session 1: Here We Are

Nicaragua is in Central America, with Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

Nicaragua is home to six million people, and is  the second poorest country in Latin America – one of the countries most affected by climate change in the world.

About 80% of the population depends on agriculture for survival.

It is a republic with a socialist government, where education and healthcare are free, unlike the countries like the US, for example.

About 97% of the population identifies as Christian, with the majority being Roman Catholic.

The population of Nicaragua is particularly diverse. The Caribbean coast is home to six different ethnic groups speaking four different languages. Can you find out how Nicaragua’s history has led to so many different ethnic groups?

National Anthem

Listen to the Nicaraguan National Anthem. The lyrics are below:

Hail to thee, Nicaragua (English translation)

Hail to thee, Nicaragua! On thy land
roars the voice of the cannon no more,
nor does the blood of brothers now stain
thy glorious bicolor banner.
Let peace shine beautifully in thy sky,
and nothing dims your immortal glory,
for work is thy well earned laurel
and honor is thy triumphal emblem!

This current version of the national anthem was written in 1918 by Saloman Ibarra Mayorga, who won a public competition to produce new lyrics for the national anthem. One requirement of the competition was that the lyrics could only mention peace and work, as the country had just come to the end of a period of conflict and civil war. The lyrics were approved in 1939, and were officially adopted in 1971.

Nicaragua quiz

Print out the questions below on separate sheets of paper. Print out all of the answers on separate pieces of paper and hide them around the room. Ask participants to find the answers, and match them to the correct questions.

Q: What is the capital city of Nicaragua?
A: Managua

Q: Which two countries border Nicaragua?
A: Costa Rica, Honduras

Q: Where is Nicaragua located?
A: Central America

Q: Which five symbols are on the Nicaraguan flag?
A: Volcanoes, Rainbow, Triangle, Phrygian cap, Sun rays

Q: What is Nicaragua’s currency?
A: Cordoba

Q: What colours are the two stripes on the Nicaraguan flag?
A: Blue, White

Q: What is the official language in Nicaragua?
A: Spanish

Q: How many million people live in Nicaragua?
A: Six

Q: How many volcanoes are on the Nicaraguan flag?
A: Five

Q: Which two oceans or seas border Nicaragua?
A: Caribbean, Pacific

Getting to know Nicaragua

Take some time to look up towns and cities in Nicaragua on Google Street View. What do the places look like? What things stand out to you? What are the similarities and differences between Nicaragua and the UK? Try looking up the following places: Managua, Granada, Jinotega, the San Cristobal volcano, San Juan del Sur.

Bible link

Acts 17:26-28 (NIRV)

From one man he made all the people of the world. Now they live all over the earth. He decided exactly when they should live. And he decided exactly where they should live. God did this so that people would seek him. And perhaps they would reach out for him and find him. They would find him even though he is not far from any of us. ‘In him we live and move and exist.’ As some of your own poets have also said, ‘We are his children.’

Diversity: Reflect on the diversity of people and communities across the world. What similarities and differences can you see? God made each of us unique, with our own gifts and talents – what skills and talents do you think God has given to you, and to other group members?

Thriving: The passage talks about how God had made us to thrive. What are some of the challenges that might stop people and communities from thriving? Are there any challenges for communities inNicaragua? What actions can we take to help others to thrive?

Finding God: Where do you see God in your day-to-day life? How do you find God in the difficult times?

Make a difference

Identify three social justice issues that are important to you: one local/personal, one national, and one global. Share your thoughts with the group. Are there any common issues raised? Think about
the practical steps that you can take to help solve these problems. Commit to taking one small action before you next meet together.

Popcorn prayer

Corn is a staple food in the Nicaraguan diet. Use some popcorn to reflect and pray.

Hard kernels: Hold an unpopped kernel in your hand. Reflect on how, before it pops, the kernel is hard and inedible. For a long time, the hard kernels are not doing anything, yet inside them they contain something special, and the potential to transform into something very different. Give thanks to God for the people in our lives who support and help us to grow and reach our potential.

Popping kernels: When we heat the kernels, suddenly they explode and transform into something very different. Make some popcorn. Listen to the popping noises, and think about the different people,
places and situations that suddenly pop into your thoughts. Shout out these thoughts, and pray for them.

Tasting kernels: Taste the cooked popcorn and think about the transformation that has taken place. Pray for situations in which you would like to see transformation; for yourself and for others.

Session 2: Youth in Nicaragua

What is it like to be a young person in Nicaragua?

Fifteen-year-old Johaira Herrera tells us a little: My parents split when I was seven years old, so my mum decided to buy this property here and work in farming. The following months and years were very difficult after she decided to become a coffee farmer, because my mum didn’t know anything about coffee. She started with very little, but she had the training and workshops from Soppexcca. We grow what we eat and that makes me feel satisfied, because in El Cua town we had to buy everything we ate and my mum used to work a lot, but now we can spend more time together.

I studied for one year in the main town, but it was very difficult for me to get there because of the transport, and I was always late. So now I study on Saturdays, 7am-3pm. Now I help my mum with all the work in the house and on the farm. This way, I can learn how to work on the farm so when it’s time for me to work and to be independent, I will not suffer like my mum who didn’t know what to do with the coffee and the other crops.

Now that my mum is in the cocoa project, I need to know about growing chocolate. On my own, I have looked at other ways to learn. I’ve found some projects from the government related to cocoa, so I hurry and try to get the opportunity to learn more, because once our cocoa is in full production, I need to do something about it. This way, I could become an entrepreneur. I’m really looking forward to it, to have a business and increase our income.

Soppexcca and Christian Aid have helped us with the cocoa by training us with the help of technicians who have visited us, tools, plants, tree saplings and the workshops. All of us in the family were involved with the project.We all know it’s very important for the family income. I have a baby now, too. I am still at school, and my mum looks after the baby.

My favourite subject is maths. As a young person who cares about the environment, I find it a big struggle getting my voice heard as many people only think about money and less
about the environment, and I worry about my baby’s future.

Marlon Lopez, a Soppexcca technician, says:

In the communities, boys used to leave school at 12 to work on the coffee plantations but, because of Fairtrade and a change in the law, they usually go and work on the coffee plantations at 16, but still leave school at 12 or 13. It really depends if the school is close to their house. Around 12 to 13, girls and boys start looking around to get married, and the average number of children is five or six.


Does anything surprise you about what you have read? Do you think your life is easier, or harder, than Johaira’s? Why do you think that?

Johaira says that she is worried about the impact of climate change on her baby’s future. It may not seem that we can do anything about the climate in Nicaragua, but is that right? What changes can we make to our own routine that might make a difference?


Malteser rally

You will need a bag of Maltesers, paper straws, and a dish for each team/person. Instructions: Divide your group into two teams (or you can do it individually). Draw a start and finish line, and at the finish line place a bowl or saucer for each team. The players must use the straw to ‘suck’ a Malteser, carry it to the finish line, and place it in the bowl. When they have done this, they return to the start line, and the next player can go. At the end of an agreed length of time, the team/person with the most Maltesers in the dish wins. If they drop the Malteser, or it bounces out of the dish, they must go back to the start and try again.


Create a timetable for your day. What time do you get up? What time do you leave for school? How do you get there (car, bus, walk)? When do you get home? What chores do you have to do in the house? Is it the same as your friends?


Find out which of your friends lives furthest away from your school.


Chocolate Taste Test

Buy some chocolate bars and do a ‘blind taste test’. Make sure you include one sample that uses cocoa from Nicaragua (such as Nicaragua Juno 70% from Duffy’s Chocolate). Which is your favourite? Make sure the chocolate you buy is all fairly traded, as this makes a big difference to the people who grow it, people like Johaira.

Bible link

Matthew 20:1-16 (NRSV)

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.

When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’

When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’

But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

So the last will be first, and the first will be last.


Do you think it is fair that some people have to work so much harder than others? Why do you think Jesus told this parable?

Make a difference

Visit your local supermarket and see which, if any, coffee and chocolate products they sell are Fairtrade registered. If there aren’t any, write a letter or email to the manager and ask why there aren’t any available. Look at the ingredients listed, and see where they come from. And whenever you eat chocolate or coffee products, remember the work that the farmers and their families put into growing their crop. I wonder if the next bar of chocolate you eat might have been made from cocoa beans grown on Johaira and her mother’s farm?


Loving God
There are people all over your world who are struggling.
Our challenges are different, but we know you love us all.
Help us to be safe and to look after the world in which we live.

Session 3: Environment in Nicaragua

The people of Nicaragua live in constant threat of natural disasters and the chances of them happening is growing greater every day. So, what are the big four natural threats that the people face?

1. Hurricanes and cyclones

A hurricane or cyclone is a large rotating storm with high-speed winds that forms over warm waters in tropical areas. Hurricanes have sustained winds of at least 73 miles per hour, and an area of low air pressure in the centre called the eye.

As Nicaragua sits in between two oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific, these storms can start on either side of the country. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch killed about 3,800 people. Within the space of two weeks in November 2020, two hurricanes named Eta and Iota swept through Nicaragua. About 160,000 Nicaraguans were evacuated from their homes, and it was reported that many people, including at least six children, were killed in the storm.

Check out news footage on the effect of the hurricane on YouTube.


In what ways does the weather impact our lives in the UK? Talk about the worst weather you’ve experienced in this country. Have you ever seen news reports of weather causing serious damage or endangering lives? Scientists report changes in the weather patterns over the last few decades.

What do you think might be causing that? Do you think hurricanes are possible in the UK?


Construct a building able to withstand a hurricane

You will need junk (for example milk cartons, lolly sticks, sellotape, paper, blue tac), a tray as a base to attach the building to, an electric fan or hairdryer to create a strong wind, and a water bottle with a sports cap top to squirt water at the finished model. Obviously, ensure that no water comes into contact with electrical equipment. The challenge is to build a shelter that will survive high winds and being hit by forceful water.

2. Earthquakes

Nicaragua lies where two tectonic plates meet, and so is prone to having many earthquakes all year round. In April 2021 alone there were more than 100 quakes of different sizes. Of these, 12 were over 4 on the Richter scale, where 4 describes a light earthquake with buildings and objects shaking, but no major damage caused. In 1992, a major earthquake hit the country, killing more than 100 people and causing an 8m high tsunami. The most recent significant quake was in 2014, when more than 100 buildings collapsed and over 12,000 people needed assistance.

As Nicaragua is a relatively poor country, many buildings are not built to withstand earthquakes of this magnitude. While fewer people have died in recent years, the after-effect of an earthquake on the country and on individuals can last for years.

Can you think why this might be?


Earthquake Jenga

You will need a cushion and a Jenga game. Try playing a game of Jenga but start with the tower placed on a cushion instead of a solid surface. In Nicaragua many buildings are built on poor foundations which means they do not stand a chance when an earthquakes strike.

‘In Nicaragua, Christian Aid responded to Hurricane Eta with our partner Soppexcca. We provided food and hygiene kits to 5,000 people in desperate need, as well as psychosocial support to children and adults through recreational activities like drawing, drama and play.’ caid.org.uk/climate

3. Mudslides and erosion

Mudslides occur when a period of intense rainfall happens, and the great volume of water mixes with soil, causing it to turn to mud and move downhill. During Hurricane Mitch, more than 60cm of rain fell over the Castitas volcano, causing one side of it to collapse. The resulting mudslide was ten miles long and five miles wide. Nearly 1,000 people lost their lives, and many more homes and towns were lost.

‘My daughter and son’s farms …. are seriously affected by the weather and my daughter’s coffee (farm) is really small. When the rain came in August, we had a mudslide because of the very heavy rain. It was a new coffee plantation, wiped out.’ Yolanda Amador Morales


Cherry landslide

You will need a pudding basin, a plate, a knife, a bag of flour and a cherry. Completely fill the bowl with flour, and place the plate over the top. Quickly and carefully turn the bowl over on to the plate, creating a mound of flour. Place the cherry on the top of the mound. The aim is for each player in turn to cut away a section of the flour without the cherry falling off the top. The person who is responsible for the drop has to pick up the cherry with their teeth.

4. Volcanoes

Volcanoes are an opening of the earth’s crust through which molten rock, gases and ash can escape. Nicaragua has a large number of volcanoes, of which between seven and ten are believed to be active. In March 2021 the San Cristobal volcano erupted, covering the city of Chinandega in thick ash. While these eruptions don’t always cause deaths, the disruption and damage they caused often increase the pressure on an already poor nation like Nicaragua.


Why not create your own volcano by following the instructions and video at https://bit.ly/3tVVaXv


Why do you think that people live in areas that are so prone to natural disasters? Why don’t they relocate to areas that are less dangerous?

Make a difference

Find out more about the work of international and national charities that work to support people in areas that are prone to natural disaster. What kind of support do you think is best? What is the best way to choose which charity to support? Perhaps you could set aside a small amount from your pocket money or allowance each week which you save ready for any emergency appeals from your chosen charity.

Bible links

Isaiah 54:10 (NRSV)

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Psalm 46:1-11 (NRSV)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.


The writers of these two passages had clearly experienced natural disaster, but also trusted in God to see them through dark times. They talk about steadfast love, a covenant of peace, a refuge and strength, a very present (and very much in evidence) help. These are very strong descriptions – how do they make you feel, and how do you visualise God when you hear them? How would you describe your experiences of God?

Prayer idea

Write the words describing God onto stones or bricks, adding words of your own. Make a pile of the stones or bricks, thinking about how God is unmovable and strong enough to withstand the mightiest earthquake and hurricane. Thank God for the promise that God’s steadfast love and covenant (promise) of peace will never leave us. Pray for the people of Nicaragua, asking God to give them strength and help in times of need.

Session 4: Celebrating my Country

Are you proud of where you live? If you were hosting a visitor from another country who had never been here before, what would you want to show them? What would you recommend they do, or eat, or experience to give them a taste of the UK? What’s iconic about the UK, and what are the stereotypes that really are not true?

Nicaragua is a tourist destination. People come to see the architecture in the cities, the beautiful lakes, the beaches, the nature reserves and wildlife, the volcanoes and to take part in activities such as hiking, climbing, camping, and swimming in the crater lakes.


Do some research into holidays in Nicaragua. If you were planning a trip there, what would you want to see or do?

Nicaragua is a very diverse country, with people from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, and the culture is very varied. People tend to have a strong sense of community, and there is a strong culture of hospitality, especially in the smaller towns and villages. Most people speak Spanish, although many indigenous languages and dialects are also spoken. The most popular sport in the country is baseball, but football and boxing are also popular.


What you can find out about these famous Nicaraguans: José ‘Chepito’ Areas, Roman ‘Chocolatito’ González, Barbara Carrera, Bianca Pérez-Mora Macías, Rene Francisco Sotomayor? However, celebrating a country is not just about what makes it popular for tourists, or about celebrity and fame. It is also about the lives of ordinary people, the way they live and the work they do. Let’s hear from some of them

Inspirational people

Fatima Ismael, CEO of Soppexcca, based in Jinotega Despite the fact that we are in a depression of the economy, the young people still have the energy, and this is what you are seeing, and it’s the response of our work. When we started, we tried to wake up the hope in the rural population. At the beginning, we had to do some psychological work as they were depressed.

Despite the problems and the price of the coffee being so low, I can see the brightness in their eyes for the hope they have to work.

Arlen Joel Lopez Pineda is a young honey farmer, aged 25, who lives near Jinotega

We started with four young farmers in 2014, with Soppexcca support, for a project specifically for young people, who are family members of farmers. I had seen beekeeping before,
so when Soppexcca contacted us with the idea of the beekeeping project, I said yes. The next year, we had good honey production. The next year, more farmers joined us, and we helped train them. From 20 hives in the community, it went to 50. We add extra value by having different size jars. We also make honey products that helps coughs, shampoo, and honey chocolate, creamy honey mixed with chocolate and peanuts.

In the future, we want to grow and have our own trademark, and a certificate of hygiene from the government. We can then start selling in supermarkets.

Juan Alberto Zelaya Castillo is diversifying his farm from just growing coffee to growing cocoa

I’ve tasted the chocolate, they gave a bar and said, it’s from your cocoa plantation. It was nice, very good, tasty and have a good aroma. I thought,
I’m tasting the flavours of my land!

Heydi Espino is a 26 year old chocolatier

I never expected to work in chocolate. This is a unique experience and there are only two little manufacturers in Nicaragua, so I feel pleased. One unique thing about this factory, it is owned by young farmers, not foreigners. The one thing we’re working on is that Nicaraguans are only used to chocolate that’s sweet with lots of milk, so we are working to tell our customers to eat a good, good quality chocolate. Normally, Nicaraguans think that foreign chocolate is better than the chocolate made here. We are enhancing the cultivation of cocoa and for the customer to have a healthier product. I know it’s hard to convince a person, but in the long term we’ll achieve it.

Try some torrejas with honey

Whisk together 4 large eggs, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 65g icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp rum flavouring, ¼ tsp salt then add 60ml milk, 240ml double cream and whisk again. Set aside at room temperature.

Cut slices of slightly stale bread (a more solid bread is good) into 2cm by 10cm strips, and heat 2 tbsp unsalted butter in a pan for a couple of minutes.

Quickly dip the bread in the batter for a few seconds, then brown it in the pan for about 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar, and top with Nicaraguan honey.


Scrub Baseball

While you may not have enough space or players for a proper game of baseball, scrub baseball is a simplified version without teams. Players take it in turns to bat, the order being decided by who calls out ‘scrub 1’ then ‘scrub 2’ and so on the fastest. The other players are the fielders. The hitter tries to run to as many of four bases as possible and, hopefully, make a home run before the fielders catch the ball and touch the hitter or the base they are running to with it, or the hit ball goes straight into a fielder’s hands. They are also out if they miss three bowled balls in a row.

Make a difference

Many Nicaraguan farmers are diversifying their farms, and one way they dothis is by keeping bees, and harvesting the honey. However, we know that beesare endangered in many countries, as insecticides that kill them are used, andmuch of their habitat is being destroyed. Find out more about what you can do to help bees, from building a bee hotel or planting bee-friendly flowers, to campaigning for insecticides to be banned. Buy organi choney whenever you buy it, and maybe try not to buy it too often – just as a treat.

Bible link

Ecclesiastes 3:9-14 (NIRV)

What do workers get for their hard work? I’ve seen the heavy load God has put on human beings. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also given people a sense of who he is. But they can’t completely understand what God has done from beginning to end. People should be happy and do good while they live. I know there’s nothing better for them to do than that. Each of them should eat and drink. People should be satisfied with all their hard work. That is God’s gift to them. I know that everything God does will last forever. Nothing can be added to it. And nothing can be taken from it. God does that so people will have respect for him.


Yolanda Gonzalez said, ‘I am a Christian. God came here to help us, and the mission of a true Christian is to serve. If someone comes here, I will support them and if you have faith in God, everything is going to be alright. I live along with God.’ If we believe that God wants us to be happy and do good and be satisfied with all our hard work, how should this make a difference in the way we live our lives?

Prayer idea

Write a short prayer praising God for creation, and making a promise about one positive change you will make in your life to be happy, do good and be satisfied with your hard work.

Session 5: Heroes and Villains



Split the playing area into two halves (countries) and scatter an equal number of items in each. These might balls, buckets or beanbags, for example. Split into two teams. Each team’s aim is to run into the other country, grab one item, and put it down it in their own country. If touched by a member of the opposite team, they have to drop the item and return to the furthest point of their own country. Which team can get all the items?

While climate change is a villain worldwide, Nicaragua is one of the countries most affected by it, especially in the coffee growing industry.


What do you know already about climate change, its causes and its effects? The BBC's What is climate change? A really simple guide may be helpful. Have you been aware of any changes in the weather in the UK? Have older people you know noticed any changes over the years?

For every ten people in Nicaragua, six make a living from farming and agriculture. Changes in the climate mean that temperatures and weather patterns are changing, the availability of fresh water is decreasing, and health is being affected.

If there’s too much rain, coffee beans can suffer from fungal diseases. If there is not enough rain and too much sun, the beans can suffer from diseases like chasparria, which causes half the bean to ripen too soon (they look scorched) while the other half remains underdeveloped. Rising temperatures result in more hurricanes. There is less rainfall overall, but when it does rain it is heavier, bringing more risk of mudslides and land erosion. This is made worse by deforestation – areas of forest are cut down to make way for crops, decreasing the available shade, making the soil less stable, and meaning that there are fewer trees to absorb the dangerous CO2 and release oxygen into the environment.

Bernardina described the impact of climate change on their lives: ‘With climate change, we have less water to wash our coffee and we need lots of water. With the diseases that we’ve seen in our coffee, that’s how nature works when we don’t think about the consequence of our behaviour. We as farmers have been doing deforestation and stubble burnings and destroying protected lands in our communities, and now the rains are getting away from us. We have to understand it, as it’s our fault. We now regret it.’

Bering explained: ‘My father is 82. For his age group, it’s been a dramatic change of the weather. Before he used to see that the surrounding area was full of trees. Before, the soil was more fertile because we didn’t see this excess of chemical fertilisers. He says how much hotter it is now. Climate change is brought about by humans around the world, and especially in countries like Britain and the US, producing too much carbon dioxide through manufacturing and in vehicle fumes.’

Make a difference

Try the WWF carbon footprint calculator. This will give you an opportunity to think about some of the ways in which people in the UK contribute to climate change.

Is there a way in which you can become a climate change hero, by making a change in your own lifestyle to reduceyour impact on the environment and/or by campaigning?

Why not try upcycling and repairing some old clothes ororganising a clothes swap instead of buying new?

Can you do a litter-pick to clear up a local area, and identify materials which can be put in recycling?

Can you explore encouraging your church or your school to become an ecochurch or eco-school?

Christian Aid and Soppexcca are some of the heroes in combating the effects of climate change. They encourage organic farming, the planting of trees, and diversification to ensure farmers grow a variety of crops more resistant to climate change. Young promoters like 22-year-old Bering Ramos are chosen by Soppexcca to give technical support to farms. She said: ‘I talk to farmers about climate change. It’s one of the main things that we’re talking to farmers about, the right agricultural practices to improve and manage the crops according to the climate. Soppexcca and Christian Aid considered us as part of the cocoa project, so we’ve been working along and looking forward, we are increasing our incomes for the future and making my family’s lives better.’

Soppexcca is also using young people to help tackle another historical villain in Nicaragua – gender inequality. They empower women to develop their own farmland, and run gender workshops to educate whole families.

Fatima Ismael, the CEO of Soppexcca who is based in Jinotega, explained: ‘The gender issue crosses everything we do. We live in a macho country with historic oppression of women, and it’s easy to see in the countryside. Through the gender programme, we aim to enhance women’s rights and now, because they manage their own lands, we have had good results. We want to change them from housekeepers to be landowners and farmers, empowered with knowledge and economic resources.’

When men hear that there’s a gender workshop, some like to be involved, but others don’t agree as much and don’t participate. The older men sometimes aren’t as interested. They ask them to be part of the workshop, but they say, “I don’t have time”. And they ask can you send your wife, son or daughter and they say, “No, it’s a waste of time”.

Miriam Rizo, 23, Promoter for Soppexcca


Do you think you get treated any differently from others because of your gender?

Do people have different expectations of you? Do you have different chances? Do you ever treat someone in a particular way because their gender identity is different to yours? Has gender equality changed in this country? What can you do to make your own contribution to change?

Yolanda Gonzalez, is a woman who has benefited from Soppexcca’s work on gender equality. She said: ‘They give space for us women, and they empower us. We have men here that think women can’t have success, and across the country we can see that thinking. In my case, my husband gives me support in all that I do, we work together, we get along. We work in mutual agreement and I support him, and he supports me. This farm, though, is in my name.

‘I am a Christian. God came here to help us, and the mission of a true Christian is to serve. If someone comes here, I will support them and if you have faith in God, everything is going to be alright. I live along with God.’

Commitment for Life is the United Reformed Church’s global justice programme. It partners with Christian Aid and Global Justice Now, and congregations often pledge to support the work of one region with prayer, learning, advocacy, and action for justice.

Make a difference

Perhaps your group could find a way to raise some money to donate to Commitment for Life to promote its work with Christian Aid in Nicaragua. Also remember to pray, to learn, to speak out and to act to combat injustice wherever it occurs.

Intergenerational Celebration

Use the ideas and resources below to create your own intergenerational celebration of life in Nicaragua.

The intergenerational celebration is for all ages together. You may wish to invite families to join you. Or perhaps you could use these celebration idea to host an event for your church, and invite members of the congregation and the leadership to think about whether they could become a Commitment for Life congregation.


Play a runaround quiz game. Label the four corners of the room A, B, C and D, and ask some multi-choice questions about Nicaragua of varying degrees of difficulty, but all covering things we’ve learned together.

Participants go and stand in the corner they think is the right one for the answer. They are given a chance to change their mind (the leader shouts ‘runaround’). Anyone who gets the wrong answer is then out.

Alternatively, put the group into mixed-age teams. The leader has a list of words about Nicaragua. A runner from each team is given the first word, and has to run back to the group and act out the word for the team to guess. Then the next team member runs to get the next word. Every member of the team must take aturn being the runner.

See the resources chapter below for some sample questions.

No cheating!

More recipes

See the resources chapter below for the recipe for a savoury and a sweet recipe from Nicaragua. Gallopinto is a meal eaten daily in Nicaragua, especially for breakfast.

Tres Leches cake is a popular festival cake, but this recipe is for cupcakes. Both recipes take a little longer to prepare, so will need to be made in advance.

Weaving prayer

Weaving is one of the artisan crafts that you will find in Nicaragua. Patterns are often colourful, especially when they weave hammocks. Tie each end of nine equal-lengthed pieces of string to a piece of dowel or a broom handle or the back of a chair. Give each person a ribbon or a long strip of coloured paper.

Each person should write on their ribbon/paper their own prayer for Nicaragua, thinking of something that has really resonated with them during the sessions. It could be a thank you prayer, a sorry prayer, a please prayer, or a combination of these. Then, in turn, each person can weave their prayer in and out of the strings to make a colourful prayer hammock that can then be hung on the wall.


The Hillsong song ‘So will I’ being sung, with a background video of a visit to Nicaragua.

Fruit salad

A lot of different fruits grow in Nicaragua. Why not use some of them to make a fruit salad, or blend them together to make a fruit smoothie? You could try banana, mango, plantain, pineapple, papaya, orange, lemon, mandarin orange, passion fruit, cantaloupe, or even coconut. If you can find them, you could also try pitaya (dragon fruit) or sapodilla.


Group members may like to create a drama – or maybe a documentary as though for CBBC or Netflix – about Nicaragua, featuring some of the things they have found out during the course of the topic.

  • Quesillo (PDF | 99kb)
  • Rice Krispie Cake (PDF | 153kb)
  • Gallopinto (PDF | 121kb)
  • Torrejas with honey (PDF | 90kb)
  • Tres Leches cupcake (PDF | 148kb)
  • Arroz Con Pina (PDF | 138kb)

  • Charades (PDF | 88kb)
  • Climate change windmills (PDF | 170kb)
  • Windmill instructions (PDF | 222kb)
  • Runaround quiz (PDF | 143kb)
  • #Connect2 quiz (PDF | 151kb)
  • Weather activity chart (Word | 82kb)

  • Green Spiny Lizard (JPG | 162kb) Credit: Dick Culbert/Creative Commons
  • Yellow-winged Tanager (JPG | 248kb) Credit: Dick Culbert/Creative Commons
  • White-headed Capuchin monkey (JPG | 13.15mb) Credit: Cephas/Creative Commons
  • Bull Shark (JPG | 888kb) Credit: Albert Kok/Creative Commons
  • Jaguar (JPG | 6mb) Credit: Charles J Sharp/Creative Commons
  • Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (JPG | 301kb) Credit: Dick Culbert/Creative Commons
  • Leatherback sea turtle (JPG | 7.72mb) Credit: Alastair Rae/Creative Commons
  • Tayassu Pecari (JPG | 1.18mb) Credit: Chrumps/Creative Commons
  • Ocelot (JPG | 1.3mb)  Credit: Tom Smylie/Public Domain
  • Nicaraguan Slider turtle (JPG | 1.03mb) Credit: Bananekiwi/Creative Commons
  • Spectacled Caiman crocodile (JPG | 2.21mb) Credit: Gail Hampshire/Creative Commons

Take action!

We hope this resource inspires children to learn more about the problems facing the poorest people by listening to the stories told by our partners and learning about the issues.

It shows that we can pray and ask God to send the Holy Spirit to bring about justice.

And we can act by working for justice, using our voices and writing to our MPs, joining in the campaigns hosted by Christian Aid and Global Justice Now, speaking up at school, work, in church and online.

We can share our gifts and money to support the people in these four regions. Learn more by going to:

United Reformed Church