42 years ago, Ann Marie Zonn visited Nicaragua and she is still there. She had a vision of helping the poor of Nicaragua. Through her dedication, unselfish efforts and commitment, the Nicaragua Mission Project has become an overwhelming success.
She lived in Teustepe for twelve years in cramped quarters and slept in a room as big as a closet, with only a mattress on the floor. In 1983, Anne Marie, tired of sleeping on the floor, had the brilliant idea to send a few things down there. It started with only a partial load "piggy-backed" with another and has grown tremendously.
Today Ann Marie has the shipping down nearly to a science. There were 23 semi-truck containers sent to Nicaragua in 2006 alone. After the containers are loaded with over 1,000 boxes, shippers take them away to New Jersey where they are put on ships to the port of Corinto on Nicaragua's west cost and then driven to the town of Teustepe where they are unloaded and sorted. Once a week, nearly 200 women and children line up outside the gates of the compound, waiting to receive their boxes of clothing, toys, and household furnishings. Each person pays a little for a box so that it is not a charity. The Nicaraguan people, although poor, have pride in themselves.
But there is more to the Nicaragua Mission Project than just sending goods in containers. There are other ways to help out as well. Ann Marie has a number of "projects" that people can take part in.