Classes begin

Don René's classroom
Don René’s classroom

Midway through our first full week in Nicaragua, students are starting to settle into a routine. A typical day begins with breakfast with their host families, and then they are off to Spanish class at the Jinotepe office of CEPAD, the Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua. We are fortunate to be working with Doña Mirna, Don Ramón and Don René, experienced Spanish teachers who have taught Goshen students since 2008. Spanish classes start at 9:00 and end at 11:45. The students are on their own for lunch in Jinotepe, and already they’ve scoped out some good comedores (small restaurants open for lunch only).

Aynn Setright brings Nicaraguan history to life.
Aynn Setright brings Nicaraguan history to life.

After lunch, the students head to UCN (Universidad de Central Nicaragua) on the other side of town for afternoon lecture at 1:00. Lectures this first week focus on Nicaraguan history from pre-Columbian times to the present, which admittedly is an ambitious time span to cover in only three afternoons. That said, if there is anyone who can pull it off — and just as importantly, keep everyone riveted the entire time — it’s Aynn Setright of SIT Study Abroad. Aynn first came to Nicaragua in 1985 with Witness for Peace and has lived here ever since. She helped GC reestablish the Nicaragua SST in 2008, and her interactive style and expansive knowledge of Nicaraguan history (not to mention her sense of humor and insightful anecdotes) make Aynn a favorite among GC students.

After class the students have a bit of free time to hang out, walk around, or grab a quick snack. Then they return to their host families’ homes for conversation, dinner, and a bit of Spanish homework and background reading for the next day’s lecture before bedtime.

While this could be considered a “typical” week, there are a number of field trips planned during the coming weeks. Our first excursion is this Friday, when we will return to Managua to visit several barrios, talk with community members, and learn about their efforts to improve living conditions, access to health services, and educational opportunities. We’ll tell you all about it upon our return!

Lisa and Jen