May 28, Saturday
The students were woken early Saturday morning by the sounds of roosters (at about 4 a.m.) and the clapping of tortillas being made (at about 5 a.m.). After breakfasts in our different homes we met at 8:30 to hear some community members talk about an attack by Contra guerrillas in 1984 that killed five members of their small farming cooperative.
They survived the attack, stayed on their land, and have been determined since then to fulfill their original ideals of promoting education and giving a better life to each successive generation. Like most Nicaraguans, the residents are Catholic. Today they are proud of many achievements that are extremely unusual for such a tiny community, including their own library, a children’s theater group, and a secondary school. The latter was necessary for them to achieve all their children getting a high school diploma; the average completion rates in the rest of the country are less than 30% in rural areas and, even in the cities, only about 60%. Most of their high school graduates are also admitted to public universities, even though the national acceptance rate is only 20% due to demanding entrance exams. The highly entrepreneurial community has also found ways to diversify their income, including a Spanish school for foreigners.
Next we went to the community’s baseball diamond for what we expected to be our easiest opponent, since the population of 140 was a small fraction of the size of the other towns and cities we played. As one student wrote, “I expected since they came from that community that they wouldn’t be as skilled, but they proved us wrong.” Indeed, when community members heard that our team was undefeated and had beaten the first division team for the department of Carazo, their heads shook and their eyes widened. But then they said that their team was also undefeated, and they were determined to win this game too. Coach Alex described the match:
As in the previous game, the Leafs struck first with an RBI double by Noah Shail that scored lead off hitter Ryan Hartig. Unfortunately, that would be all the offense that the group from the U.S. could muster. Erlin Lanzuna twirled a gem for the host squad scattering 5 hits and striking out 10 in the rain-shortened 6-inning affair. Chandler Ingle took the loss on the mound allowing 3 earned runs in his 3 innings of work. Shail was the lone Maple Leaf with multiple hits; Brad Stoltzfus, Cody McCoy and Kris Plough turned in the only other hits on the day.
The class finished the trip 5-1 and were a part of some incredible experiences. They will wrap up the final week of the course this week with lectures, classes and field trips before returning back to the States June 3rd.