March 4, 2017
The Scotties arrived smoothly at Augusto Sandino International Airport this afternoon. After a short trip to the quaint, colonial city of Granada, the group bonded with their new leaders Jorge & Ashley over orientation. A few blocks away, they shared their first meal at El Tercer Ojo, on the main street, also known as La Calzada. The group finished the night with a salsa class and a dip in the pool at their hotel La Pergola. Tomorrow awaits!
March 5, 2017
Our second day in Granada started with a traditional breakfast of eggs, Gallo Pinto (rice and beans), cheese, and toast. We walked a few short blocks to Hotel Con Corazon to meet with UPNicaragua, our first partner organization of the trip! After some getting to know you activities with the girls who participate in the program we learned how to make paper bead bracelets. The girls make the bracelets to raise funds to pay for their educational expenses. We had free time in the hot afternoon sun, which some of us spent poolside. Others went souvenir shopping, and a few of us took naps!
Our last day in Granada was an eventful one. Tomorrow we head to the coffee mountains!
March 6, 2017
Ready, set, go! Our morning jumped off with a scavenger hunt in Granada’s Central Park. Only one group would take home the coveted prize (matching headbands for us and the UPNicaragua girls), but we all fought hard to win. Afterwards we began the journey to coffee country, our home for the next 3 days. We met our homestay families at their local coffee cooperative (Guardians of the Forest) and played an introductory game of telephone. Then we all headed out for our first night with our new hosts.
March 7, 2017
Today it was time to build a composting toilet. We formed an assembly line to pass materials to the construction site while others helped dig a trench to lay tubing. After a morning full of dirt and sand and gravel, we had a scrumptious picnic style Nicaraguan meal with our host mothers. This afternoon we learned to cook buñuelos, a traditional savory-sweet treat. They are fried balls made with corn and cheese. At the end you drizzle honey on top. Yum! Another group designed handmade puzzles in a woodworking workshop. Tomorrow, we will finish the toilet and say goodbye to Peñas Blancas!
March 8, 2017
Rising alongside the misty mountain, we donned our work boots for the last day of service work. We started with a rousing discussion of the merits and challenges of service work, and then trudged up the muddy hill to the Cruz families’ house. In just two short hours we wrapped up the toilet install. It was an honor to provide Bayardo, Olga and their sons a bathroom with all its amenities.
A drizzly afternoon proved perfect hiking weather for the group’s trip to the local waterfall – The Rainbow Waterfall. And what a sight it was! Dazzled by its misty breeze, we watched as the sun came and went, uncovering and hiding the infamous rainbow at its shore.
Our evening culminated in a farewell dinner with our host families. We said our heartfelt goodbyes over a meal of traditional Nicaraguan nacatamales.
March 9, 2017
Hangley & the bus arrived bright and early for our departure. We waved goodbye to Peñas Blancas and our families of the last three days and started down the mountain towards La Laguna de Apoyo. After too much time on the bus, all were delighted by our lunch stop at Las Jicaritas, where we dined a traditional grilled meal. A short drive later, we arrived at the lagoon. We jumped in the crater lake for an afternoon swim. Our last day in Nicaragua is looming like the storm clouds over the lagoon.
March 10, 2017
Gallo Pinto anyone? Traditional breakfast in our bellies, we headed to Esperanza en Accion to learn about Fair Trade artisan work. We spent the morning learning how to make earrings from recycled candy wrappers. It was harder than it looked!
In homage to our vegetarian compas, we had lunch at Anada, a Hare Krishna restaurant in Managua with our Esperanza hosts Yamileth and her daughter. Afterwards we visited Darwin & Eliazer, two generational clay artisans. Eliazer shares stories of his family business while showing us each of the steps in the clay making process. Darwin taught us how to make designs on the clay pots. To all of our surprise he had prepared a clay pot for each of us to design! Fingers crossed they are fired in time to join us on the plane home!
Our last dinner in Nicaragua was a delicious lagoon side buffet. We shared our meal, chattering about the day’s events. We closed the evening with reflection activities and an appreciation circle, ending our trip with love, gratitude and friendship.