A typical day for the students begins when they leave their home in Jinotepe, Dolores or Diriamba (all in the same department of Carazo) and make their way to the edge of Jinotepe where we have our Spanish classes starting at 9:30. Most students arrive early, and Doug or Maria checks in with everyone before classes begin. Classes continue until 12:30, with a 10-15 minute break in the middle.
For lunch students go in groups to various eateries in Jinotepe, typically places called comedores, (Spanish for “dining rooms”) where a plate of food costs 60 Cordobas, about $2.50 ….. or sometimes they go places serving American food.
At 2:00 we meet again for about an hour and a half to hear a lecture from a guest speaker on a topic such as Nicaraguan history, education, health care, literature, etc. Previously the students have discussed what is the most important information to learn, asked pertinent questions to their host families, done assigned readings on the topic, and created a list of questions for the lecturer.
Twice a week, instead of a lecture in the afternoon, we have coyuntura, a Spanish word referring to a conjunction of different circumstances and situations. We use this time to share a meal together, take turns “checking in” on how things are going for each one of us, discussing upcoming topics and questions we have, and taking a quiz over recent material learned in readings or lectures. If one of the students has a birthday, that is celebrated, as was the case for Olivia on Thursday. Once a week we also have a worship service planned by a group of 3-4 students, and at the other coyuntura we have some other activity, usually a cultural activity by invited guests.