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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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June 7, 2011

Dance class!

Last Wednesday we had an extended reunión that got us out of our seats and onto the dance floor. Thanks to our expert instructors, Frank and Elizabeth, we learned some salsa and merengue moves while simultaneously providing entertainment for the staff and students at the local university where we have our afternoon lectures. We even got one of the students and Julio, our great go-to man at the university, to join us for several numbers. It was a full two hours of moving and shaking, sweating and laughing. Here are some visual highlights! Lisa & Jen

June 7, 2011

       Our final day of the trip took us to El Salto Estanzuela, a beautiful 15-meter waterfall, and Reserva El Tisey, a 9344-hectare nature reserve (the equivalent of over 23,000 acres). As we started the hike at Estanzuela, we could hear the roar of the water grow louder and louder at we neared the base of the waterfall. Once we rounded the final turn, we were amazed to see the beautiful falls surrounded by rock walls and cascading into a shady pool below. Although the water was a bit cold, we couldn’t resist the chance to jump in…

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June 7, 2011

Matagalpa

       After an early morning Spanish class, the group set out for a four-day adventure to Matagalpa and Esteli. Unfortunately, due to illness we were short two students, Jacob and Hannah, as well as Lisa and Geneviéve, who stayed back to nurse the students back to health.         Our first destination was an organic coffee farm owned and operated by Vicente Padilla (the farmer, not the major league baseball player). Vicente and his family live and work on the farm and have turned their small plot of land into a thriving organic operation. All of the…

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June 7, 2011

Estelí

Our first stop in Estelí was Funarte, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization built around the idea of giving young children a chance to express themselves through art while learning how to work together to create murals. Children have free weekly painting workshops and work in groups to design and paint murals throughout the city. The group learned about the history and operations of Funarte from both the current director and a former art student who now works for the organization. As we drove through the city, we saw the work of Funarte in the beautiful, brightly colored murals found on almost…

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June 4, 2011

Stay tuned…

Just a quick note to say that we’re in the northern regions of Matagalpa and Estelí this weekend, visiting a coffee farm, an arts NGO, a paper-making cooperative, the grave of Ben Linder, and a museum dedicated to the heroes and martyrs of the revolution, among other places. We’ll be back in touch soon after our return to Carazo. Stay tuned also for photos from last Wednesday’s dance lesson, which proved to be as exhilarating for us as it was entertaining for the students and staff of the university where we meet each afternoon. Everyone was a good sport about…

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June 3, 2011

May 30 is Mother’s Day in Nicaragua, and a special guest helped us celebrate this with our host mothers: Nicaraguan singer-songwriter Moisés Gadea. Gadea has toured internationally, but he prefers to perform for small intimate gatherings, which worked out very well for us. He and his percussionist Camilo performed at our SST house for an exclusive audience of students, host mothers and several other special guests. Simply put, it was marvelous.

June 3, 2011

Managua Day Trip

Last Friday we returned to capital city Managua for the day, where we spent the first few days after the group arrived almost a month ago. (How did the month of May pass so quickly, we wonder?) We started off with a visit to Mercado Huembes, a multi-block indoor/outdoor market that includes everything from butcher shops and bakeries to furniture stores, beauty salons, boutiques, and handcrafted items. Local artisans selling their wares there use a variety of natural materials for popular souvenir items, including armadillos, snakes, seeds and cow horns.

May 26, 2011

Moravian Church and a Miskito Village by Sarah Sunday took us to the Moravian Church in Pearl Lagoon, where we worshiped with a lot of singing and rather long sermon in Creole about honoring one’s family and being obedient to one’s parents. Our group sang two hymns for the church members: “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”  The church seemed to enjoy it and Dalena was pleased with us, so that all turned out well despite some initial reservations.

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