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June 15, 2012

Mother’s day is celebrated in Nicaragua on May 30th, but the entire month of May seems to be about celebrating motherhood. As a special tribute to our host family mothers, we had Nicaraguan singer-songwriter, Moisés Gadea perform a concert for the mothers and the students.

June 14, 2012

We ended our four day field trip with 1½ days in Managua.  Our first stop was Barrio Grenada, a lower class barrio where Companeros, Inc (the company that our in-country assistant Dalena works for) has been focusing their work for the last two years.  We heard from community leaders about the projects they have completed over the last several years, including a security wall for the school, murals, and potable water.   Their project this summer is working to complete a sewer project in a newer part of the barrio

June 13, 2012

Matagalpa is a beautiful northern Nicaraguan town, set among the mountains well known for being the perfect climate for growing coffee.  We left Esteli on Saturday morning and drove to Vicente Padilla’s farm north of Matagalpa.  Vicente runs an organic coffee farm on five manzanas (one manzana = 1.68 acres).  Before exploring his farm,

June 12, 2012


At the end of May we took a 4-day field trip to the northern part of Nicaragua, specifically the towns of Esteli and Matagalpa.  We focused our time in Esteli on learning more about the Contra war, and visiting a women’s paper-making cooperative.  Many parts of the war to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship in the 1970s and the Contra War in the 1980s, (supported by the US against the Sandinista government), were in the hills around Esteli and Matagalpa. 

June 9, 2012

We heard late this morning that Lynelle and Caleb have safely arrived on the East Coast.  We dropped them off at the bus station last night where two buses were waiting to go to El Rama.  One was a chicken bus with lots of people getting on and the other was a coach bus with the door closed.  Thank goodness soon after we got there, the door to the coach bus opened and that was the bus Lynelle and Caleb were on.   They traveled all night by bus and then this morning took two pangas (speed boats).  They told…

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June 8, 2012

And they’re off!

Early this morning students arrived at Quinta Goshen eager to leave for service.  It is hard to believe that six weeks have already gone by.  We sent 15 students in a microbus toward Managua with Don Jose (our trusted taxi driver), Dalena (in country coordinator) and a lot of luggage on top.

June 8, 2012

The last two weeks of the study portion of SST have been filled with lectures, field trips, and Spanish classes.   This post will focus on the lecture portion of these activities, with posts following later about field trips and classes. Students learned about the challenges of Nicaraguan health care from Doctora Gloria Lopez.   The five principal health problems in the department of Carazo

June 2, 2012

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 Brook, which she agreed to let us share here.  One thing I’ve realized about SST is that it is basically life continued.  (A different type of life, but life.)  I mean I’m still me, I still have hard days and awesome days, I still “go home” after school and hang out and do my homework.  I think I was expecting SST to be this wild/crazy adventure (which in some ways it is – there are…

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May 29, 2012

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.  It was foggy when we left Jinotepe

May 20, 2012

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 many poor families don’t understand the value of a good education.  Nicaragua has a flexible school year, so students can start anytime throughout the year, but this makes it very challenging for teachers.  Also, more rural students often miss several days of school each week…

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