Volcán Mombacho and Granada

at the base of the volcano

On Friday, May 18 we took a field trip to Volcán Mombacho.  Volcán Mombacho is one of the active volcanoes in Nicaragua and only about 45 minutes by bus from Jinotepe.  We started out the morning early so that we could get to the top (1345m) and enjoy the views of the city of Granada.  … Keep reading »

Learning about Education, Religion, and Women's Issues

Ivette Fonseca talks about education

Our afternoon charlas (chats) this past week have discussed the Nicaraguan educational system, religion – specifically liberation theology, and issues for women in Nicaragua. We learned some sobering statistics from Ivette Fonseca, an educator and consultant on educational issues.  Education is required only through the 4th grade in Nicaragua.  This creates many challenges, especially because … Keep reading »

Learning to Pay Attention

Part of the academic requirements of SST include journaling three times a week on various topics.  Below is a “free choice” journal entry written by Mary, which she agreed to let us share here.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. As I anticipated SST this past spring, one my biggest anxieties … Keep reading »

East Coast Trip

Unloading the bus at El Rama

First things first; happy belated Mother’s Day.  Here in Nicaragua, Mother’s Day isn’t celebrated until May 30th, but we frequently think about our mothers back home. Sunday, May 13 (U.S. Mother’s Day) was a full day of travel back from the East Coast of Nicaragua. Early Thursday morning, May 10, we left for our trip … Keep reading »

Spanish classes and Nicaraguan history

Don René's Spanish class

Students have finally settled into a routine this past week.  After a long weekend learning about their new families and how to communicate in Spanish, everyone was excited to be at Spanish class Monday morning.  Most mornings, students will be in Spanish class.  After class they go in smaller groups to eat lunch in various … Keep reading »


small group discussions during orientation

Thursday morning the students were up early and waiting for breakfast, partly due to the 2 hour time difference from Goshen.  The students seem to be very punctual as they were always early to everything!  (only for now?) After breakfast, we had a short time of worship and singing before starting orientation.  We introduced Dalena, … Keep reading »

Meeting host families

Hannah and her host mother Silvia and host brother

We traveled from Managua to Jinotepe this morning to continue orientation, and ended the day with the students meeting their host families this afternoon. They are spending their first night in their new homes getting to know their families.  Both families and students are excited and anxious to spend the weekend together. Pictures and a … Keep reading »

Safe Arrival!

getting a quick supper at the Managua airport

After a delay in Chicago and a tight connection in Miami, all 23 students arrived safely in Managua with all luggage!  Many students began practicing their Spanish with a quick stop at Subway to get supper before our bus took us to Quinta Shalom, our home for the next two nights in Managua.  Students are … Keep reading »

Ready for the adventure

Welcome to Jinotepe, Nicaragua!

Greetings from Nicaragua! Keri Swartzendruber and I have been in Nicaragua since the end of March, planning and taking care of many details as we prepare for the arrival of the twenty three students tomorrow evening.  We are excited to begin the adventure of SST with the students.