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August 6, 2011

“Finals”

It’s hard to believe that service is over already, and even moreso that our time in Nicaragua is ending. Alas, it’s time for finals — not the exams we take on campus, but rather a series of last-time-we-will-do-this and last-time-we-will-be-here moments tinged with both sadness and anticipation. On Friday afternoon the students made their way back from their service locations to Jinotepe and spent the rest of the day revisiting people and places in Carazo one last time. Saturday we had brief presentations on our final projects, followed by free time for more farewells, last-minute shopping, and resting up for…

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July 12, 2011

Amanda, Brian and Nathaniel are our three students at Estación Biológica located at Laguna de Apoyo. While the location is breathtaking and the picture of relaxation, the work that the three have been doing is far from a vacation. After a 20-minute downhill hike through the forest, Brian and Nathaniel join Amanda at the worksite for breakfast and work details from Pablo, their supervisor. Their daily tasks vary from digging large pits used for composting, filling in those same pits with organic plant matter, planting trees or collecting moths and bats for research. Much of their work involves the use…

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July 12, 2011

Hannah and Sarah share a work assignment at Las Mujeres Ambientalistas, the paper making co-op that the group had the pleasure of visiting while traveling in Estelí. As was mentioned in the Estelí blog, the co-op is run by women and was created as a way for them to have a safe working environment so that they can make a living. The paper is made completely from recycled paper and organic matter.  When we visited the women, we were able to bring an entire garbage bag full of paper that the other students had gathered throughout their study portion in…

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July 12, 2011

Service: Jacy in Managua

Jacy is our only student who is on her own in Managua, and to quote her sister-in-law, “Everyone in the barrio knows Jacy. Everyone!!”  With those words, we can confidently say that she is doing very well both at her work placement and with her host family. Jacy’s service assignment is at Escuela Gabriela Mistral in Barrio Grenada, in Managua. Her time there consists of working in a preschool classroom in the mornings and then teaching her own English class in the afternoons. While Jacy is with the preschool students, her role is that of a teacher aid. The teacher…

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July 12, 2011

Although they stayed in Carazo for service, Katie and Austin work in an environment that could well be mistaken for a more remote location, with its lush tropical beauty and rugged terrain. Gaia Estate is a 90-acre family-owned organic farm in Diriamba that has earned Nicaragua’s only “Bird Friendly®” seal of approval from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Shade-grown coffee is the main crop, although the farm hosts over 80 tree species as well, including fruit trees like banana, citrus, pitahaya and avocado. Austin has identified and marked trails (and even discovered several new ones), helped make and apply organic…

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July 12, 2011

Three students are in Matagalpa, the provincial capital city of the department that shares its name. Located northeast of Managua and demarcating the start of the country’s northern region, Matagalpa is known for dense mountainous forests, spring-like weather, coffee, cattle and eco-tourism. Kaleb and Jacob work at Infancía sin Fronteras, a non-governmental organization with a presence in eight countries. Founded in Spain in 1998, Infancía sin Fronteras originally focused on international humanitarian aid. Since that time the organization has added social awareness and community development to its strategic priorities and thus offers a variety of enrichment programs such as after-school…

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June 20, 2011

Last Friday morning we officially ended the “study” portion of the study-service term and sent the students off to new places to begin their service projects. By early afternoon we had received word that everyone made it safely to their destinations. All was quiet (and even a bit lonely) around here on Sunday, as we imagined the students settling into their new locations and getting acquainted with their surroundings and family members.

June 20, 2011

Despedida

Thursday was our last full day in Carazo. After finishing Spanish final exams that morning, most of the students spent the afternoon relaxing and preparing for the evening’s despedida, or farewell ceremony. Emceed by Kaleb and Brian, the evening got off to a lively start with a folk dance troupe from the Universidad de Central Nicaragua, where we have held most of our afternoon lectures. Then each of the three Spanish classes took the stage. Doña Mirna’s advanced class (Kaleb and Jacy) tore up the floor with a salsa dance. Don Rene’s class sang a lovely a cappella version of…

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June 17, 2011

Our final day trip as a group was last Friday, when we visited an active volcano in nearby Masaya, a lookout point over Laguna de Apoyo, and a village of artisans specializing in ceramics. We had two special guests along with us — next year’s Nicaragua SST leaders Deanna and Tamara, who are here for a week of orientation. Volcán Masaya last erupted in 1772 but continues to emit a nearly constant stream of sulfurous gas and smoke. When the breeze is strong, the fumes can be hard on anyone standing downwind. After learning about the geology and wildlife of…

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June 8, 2011

Words For the Weekend

     After such a full and intense weekend of travel, we spent a good portion of our weekly reunión today debriefing and processing all that we had seen and heard.  We divided the students into groups of three and then assigned specific places we visited to each group.  Their task was to briefly describe the experience and then to come up with one word that best connected to that location.  The following are the words chosen by each group. Vicente Padilla’s Farm:  Perseverance (For the way Vicente and his family stood up to large cooperations to fight for the…

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