Alabama Greek Missions to visit Nicaragua for relief trip

Ashley Tripp

As soon as finals are over, 35 students from Alabama Greek Missions will board a flight to Nicaragua from Dec. 16-23. The group will be staying in Trapichito, an isolated village with a population of about 200.

“We will start our days with building a new home for a family that has been sponsored by Delta Zeta, Pi Beta Phi and Phi Mu,” Valerie Rodriguez, the president of Alabama Greek Missions, said. “We will spend our afternoons playing with the local children doing arts, crafts and games.”

Margaret Coats, vice president of Alabama Greek Missions, said she is amazed what one organization can do to completely change the hearts and minds of the people down in Nicaragua.

Rodriguez and Coats founded Alabama Greek Missions in 2010 and traveled to Costa Rica for their first mission trip with a similar group from Louisiana State University.

“While we may have faced some challenges through the process, knowing that all of our hard work will result in a lasting impact in their communities and families is what keeps us going,” Rodriguez said.

Over the years, Coats said the mission trips make her more appreciative of the resources she has in the United States.

“It’s a good opportunity for people to do something tangible instead of just writing checks,” Coats said. “You get your hands dirty while also seeing other parts of the world.”

Myreete Wolford, marketing director for Alabama Greek Missions, said the experience she has shared with the organization is unmatched by anything else.

“It is greeks coming together, no matter their letters, and impacting the world one mission at a time,” Wolford said. “AGM has impacted me in every way, whether that be by allowing me to open my eyes during the first mission to Costa Rica or by expanding my abilities as a leader in the actual organization.”

However, anyone who has a passion in mission work is welcome to join the organization or attend the mission trips, greek or non-greek, members said.

“We just want everyone to get involved and by no means is this organization greek-exclusive,” Coats said. “We’re trying to grow and get people with all kinds of talents and goals.”

Wolford said no matter if you can join Alabama Greek Missions in Nicaragua with fundraising, everyone’s gifts are utilized and everyone is impacted.

In raising support for the mission trip, Alabama Greek Missions had a cookout fundraiser at KA sponsored by Pi Beta Phi, Alpha Gamma Delta, Phi Mu, Theta Chi, Beta Theta Pi and KA.

“This month we are planning to have a fundraiser at the Bear Trap on Nov. 6 with drink specials for everyone who comes,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez also said Alabama Greek Missions is going to host a toy drive during dead week and finals week, which will be collected and distributed to the children in Trapichito.

Coats said one of the greatest rewards of the mission trips is connecting with other UA students.

“AGM has taught me to look past everything here at UA, learn about people and get to know them on a personal level,” Coats said. “When you come back, you have that incredible support system.”