Despedida (farewell) is an event planned by the students to thank their host families and everyone that has helped to make the study portion of Nicaragua SST a success. The Despedida was held on the evening before students left for their service assignments, but preparations had been going on for several weeks. Each Spanish class had been working on something to perform at Despedida. Doña Mirna’s class wrote a poem and recited it, Don Rene’s class sang Nicaragua, Nicaraguita, and Don Ramon’s class performed a skit of some funny experiences in their class over the last six weeks.
To begin the show, the UCN (University of Central Nicaragua) dance troupe performed the traditional Nicaraguan folk dance El Güegüense and two other traditional dances. Students also showed some of their own talent. Brook, Erin & Kelsey performed a clap/rhythm/dance routine. All the students danced to Cha Cha Slide. Steph juggled oranges. Brook and Lynelle kept the show moving as emcees. To end the show, we all sang Praise God from Whom (118 or 606 in the Mennonite hymnals), which has become a tradition for SST groups, then showed a slide show of our many activities over the last six weeks.
Keri and Deanna gave a short presentation expressing thanks to the many people who have worked mostly behind the scenes to help keep things running smoothly – Don Jose – taxi driver, Connie – housekeeper, Dalena – in-country assistant, Julio – UCN assistant, Dr. Christian Quant – on-call doctor, and Martin and Julio – bus driver and ayudante. We also said a huge thank you to the host families who have so warmly welcomed the students into their homes.
For refreshments, we decided to treat the guests to American style desserts. The students were excited about helping bake cookies and bars, and made and served peanut butter cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, no-bake cookies, Betty bars (oatmeal bars with chocolate), frosted banana bars, brownies, and peanut butter bars. There was very little left by the end of the evening!