Recent Posts

July 21, 2014

Alma is working at Libros Para Niños [Books for Children] in Jinotepe. In a country with few lending libraries (neither school nor public), the work of this nonprofit organization is critical in helping children and youth develop a love of reading and literature. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Managua, Libros Para Niños started with mobile classroom libraries in 20 schools and now has 46 community reading spaces in eight of Nicaragua’s 17 departments/regions. At these centers, children can work on homework, read alone or with others, and check out books. Staff also take books into communities that otherwise would…

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July 21, 2014

Jacob is in the department of Boaco, a sparsely-populated central region known for its hilly terrain, cattle, and agriculture. The municipality where he lives, Laguna de San Onofre, is remote and difficult to reach without an all-terrain vehicle. In fact, when Jacob arrived in Boaco, he rode the last few kilometers to his host family’s house on horseback. Unfortunately, when we visited him, a late bus arrival resulted in a missed connection for the last leg of the journey into San Onofre. The trip was delayed to the point where we had only a few minutes to visit with Jacob…

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July 20, 2014

Hillary and Blake are doing their service work at the Batahola Norte Cultural Center, a community center in Managua that focuses on education, the arts, and cultural and personal development. Hillary writes this about their work there: “Our days at the center being around 9 am. We attend the English class taught by long-term volunteers Erika and Kelsey (2013 GC grad). We help out in the class by working with small groups or individuals on grammar exercises, dialogue activities, or pronunciation. After class we often meet with some of the students for additional tutoring if they want it. This has…

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July 12, 2014

Thomas, Peter and Samantha are all working in the community of Laguna de Apoyo, Thomas and Peter at a biological research/preservation station, and Sam at an elementary school. Thomas and Peter report that they have done “lots of bird netting, which involves setting up the nets, untangling the birds when they fly into the nets, and then identifying them and writing down data about each bird (i.e. What do they weigh, are they molting, how old they are, what sex they are, etc.).” They have also helped with other projects, such as “planting trees for reforestation, identifying butterflies and moths,…

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July 12, 2014

Ben‘s service work is at the base of Volcán Mombacho, an inactive volcano and cloud forest we visited as a group in May. “My service assignment is very laid back,” says Ben. He works in the mariposario (butterfly farm) and orquideario (orchid garden), where he helps clean the structures and chats with his coworkers about butterflies and “theories about other insects.” He adds, “If it rains substantially the day before, we go out and catch butterflies. If not, we generally sit in the office and talk, which is great for learning Spanish and more about insects.” Ben is an environmental…

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July 12, 2014

Kara is living and working at a family-run pottery workshop in San Juan del Oriente, a town where ceramic making has been the culture for over 500 years. Given the heavily ingrained tradition, her days are filled with learning about and working with pottery. She also gets plenty of time to read, talk to people, and walk up to the nearby Mirador de Catarina or down to Laguna de Apoyo. Kara helps at all stages of the pottery-making process, whether finishing the rough clay surface of a piece, applying the many layers of a base coat, painting, or simply watching…

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July 11, 2014

David is in Chichigalpa, Chinandega, where he is living with “a great host family.” His service assignment is assisting an English teacher at San Luis Gonzaga School. “There are five levels of classes there, and my schedule with each is different, depending on the day of the week,” he says. “I usually pronounce things in English for the class or read things so they can practice listening. I typically also find a good amount of time to strike up conversations with students and practice my Spanish. Because of the school’s schedule I’ve had more days off than I would have…

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July 11, 2014

Alyssa and Daniel are both in Pearl Lagoon on the Caribbean (east) coast of Nicaragua, where the whole group traveled to in mid-May for four days. Alyssa divides her time between two different schools: a public primary school in town and a preschool in the neighboring Miskito village of Awas. At the public school, “I do something different every day,” says Alyssa. “I have administered reading tests, taught classes when the teacher has had to step out, and observed various classes as well.” At the Miskito preschool she helps teach the three-year-olds and makes materials to use in class. Daniel’s…

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July 11, 2014

Brian and Jared both work on coffee farms in San Ramon, a rural municipality in the mountains northeast of the city of Matagalpa. Brian reports, “This has been my third week on the farm, and so far things have been pretty fun!” His family consists of his parents, Carmen and Vicente and siblings Wilmer, Byron, Levy, Bismark, and Ericka. (During our final field trip before the students went on service, we visited Vicente’s farm, having read about the lengthy struggle to retain his land and to practice organic farming despite intimidation and even violence at the hands of powerful moneyed…

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July 11, 2014

Martin and Alisa are in El Lagartillo, a remote community in the northern mountains of León. On weekday afternoons they teach English classes to a group of children ages 8-11. The classes are voluntary, so the number of students varies each day from a handful to several dozen, but this doesn’t deter Martin and Alisa. They create and plan each day’s lessons together and co-teach these interactive sessions. On the day we visited, they used a diagram of Alisa’s family tree to teach the words for members of the nuclear and extended families. Our presence seemed to inhibit the students…

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