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Parishioners from a pair of Catholic Churches in Syracuse are watching with concern a new cycle of violence in Nicaragua more than three decades after they began their connection with the impoverished Central American country.   But unrest in the larger cities has largely spared the smaller, rural sister communities the parishes visit and support. 

Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3

They’re as young as nine years old.  They come from gangs, or are orphans.  Some have been prostituted and trafficked.  Many started working before they were 10, and haven’t finished school.  The youth from the streets of Managua, Nicaragua are part of a group called the Nicavangelists, and brought their talents, culture, and hope to Syracuse Friday. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

More than a dozen Syracuse-area parishioners are spending this week in Nicaragua to help combat maternal mortality and support infant health.  Since the early 1990's, parishioners have been providing money and supplies to the Health Care Ministry in the in the Villanueva community.  Charles Clinton, one of the group’s leaders, notes how important the trip is to the community.

"You would see on the walls of the program center photographs of people from previous trips," Clinton said.  "They're in their memories, and definitely in their spirits."