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 expected coming in, but all in all I’m having a good time here. The students are fun to be around, and there’s an ice cream shop conveniently located on my walk back to my house from the school. In case you’re ever in Chichigalpa, know that cookies and crème is by far the best flavor!”
Ashley (or “Maria” as she is called by her host family) lives in a cooperative called Semillas de Esperanza (Seeds of Hope). Her host mother, Juana, is the leader of the cooperative, which 22 women converted from a trash dump a decade ago to a thriving agricultural micro-enterprise. (Here is an article in Spanish about the cooperative.) Ashley helps the English teacher, Don Bernardo, at the local high school Monday through Thursday. She assists with pronunciation, grading, and assignments. When not at school, she helps around the house, spends time with her host sister Karen and brother and Kevin, and plays with her new good friend, the little boy who lives across the road.