Recent Posts

July 11, 2014

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…

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July 11, 2014

Alyssa and Daniel are both in Pearl Lagoon on the Caribbean (east) coast of Nicaragua, where the whole group traveled to in mid-May for four days. Alyssa divides her time between two different schools: a public primary school in town and a preschool in the neighboring Miskito village of Awas. At the public school, “I do something different every day,” says Alyssa. “I have administered reading tests, taught classes when the teacher has had to step out, and observed various classes as well.” At the Miskito preschool she helps teach the three-year-olds and makes materials to use in class. Daniel’s…

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July 11, 2014

Brian and Jared both work on coffee farms in San Ramon, a rural municipality in the mountains northeast of the city of Matagalpa. Brian reports, “This has been my third week on the farm, and so far things have been pretty fun!” His family consists of his parents, Carmen and Vicente and siblings Wilmer, Byron, Levy, Bismark, and Ericka. (During our final field trip before the students went on service, we visited Vicente’s farm, having read about the lengthy struggle to retain his land and to practice organic farming despite intimidation and even violence at the hands of powerful moneyed…

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July 11, 2014

Martin and Alisa are in El Lagartillo, a remote community in the northern mountains of León. On weekday afternoons they teach English classes to a group of children ages 8-11. The classes are voluntary, so the number of students varies each day from a handful to several dozen, but this doesn’t deter Martin and Alisa. They create and plan each day’s lessons together and co-teach these interactive sessions. On the day we visited, they used a diagram of Alisa’s family tree to teach the words for members of the nuclear and extended families. Our presence seemed to inhibit the students…

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July 9, 2014

Anna is living and working in La Garnacha, a campesino community just south of the city of Estelí. Her host family, whom she describes as “wonderful,” runs an organic farm in this mountainous area. She writes, “Most days of the week I hike down to the farm, work [in the field] until early afternoon, and have a 30-40 hike back up to my house.” On Fridays she accompanies her host father in to the farmer’s market in Estelí, where they sell the produce grown on the farm. “I have learned a lot about agriculture [and] living without running water,” she…

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July 9, 2014

Drea and Jake are stationed in the city of Matagalpa at two different service organizations. Drea spends her days at Infancia sin Fronteras (Children without Borders), a Spanish NGO whose focus is “to create the conditions for development and peaceful coexistence of peoples; and lessen the effects of war and natural disasters on the civilian population.” Within this framework, the organization focuses on children and mothers, “the most vulnerable social groups” in society. Programming at the Matagalpa facility includes after-school activities such as music lessons and arts and crafts. ”On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays I make piñatas with the kids…

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July 9, 2014

Last week and this week we have been traveling to visit the students at their service locations. We’re not quite done with the traveling and visiting, but we’ve got much to show and tell! We’ll start with Brad and Anika, who work and live in the mountainous northern department and city of Jinotega. The organization where they are volunteering is Los Pipitos, a national agency that assists people with disabilities and their families. Brad and Anika divide their time between working with adults at the Pipitos office and children at the nearby Centro de Educación Temprana (Center for Early Education),…

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July 3, 2014

No, it’s not the World Cup, but it was quite an evening only three weeks ago now (it seems much longer ago than that), when GC students and Carazo host families joined a local soccer team in Diriamba for a series of brief matches that left us smiling, breathless and hungry. Organized and officiated by Alisa’a host dad, Rafael, the games were a big hit for those who played as well as those who cheered from the sidelines. Afterward we invited the Diriamba team and host family members to join us for a well-earned pizza dinner across from the central…

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June 21, 2014

Lectures

Although much of our learning during the first six weeks was experiential, guest lectures and readings added both depth and breadth to our country study. In addition to the initial series of lectures on Nicaraguan history by Aynn Setright, we attended charlas (talks) on gender relations, literature, religion, and economic development, among others. One of our favorite presentations was by César Octavio Aburto and Humberto Narvaez, both of whom participated in the National Literacy Campaign of 1980. Both were teens at the time (César was 13, Humberto was 18), and along with 95,000 other youth they went out into the…

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June 14, 2014

Our first six weeks has come and gone so fast, and it’s already time for some goodbyes. Last night we thanked our Carazo families and friends with a farewell dinner and program (despedida), and the students did a wonderful job of planning, decorating, acting, singing, and serving the meal to all those who have welcomed them and helped them adjust to life in Nicaragua over the past six weeks. The evening was filled with music, dancing, laughter, and reminiscing, not to mention a scrumptious meal prepared by Conny, the incredible cook who has been keeping the students well-fed at our semi-weekly…

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