Recent Posts

May 3, 2014

After a full day of orientation, we left Managua this morning and headed for the Department of Carazo, where we will spend the first six weeks of the semester studying Spanish and learning about Nicaragua’s history, culture, arts, literature and natural resources. We arrived mid-morning in Jinotepe, a city of about 29,500 (similar to Goshen’s population, in fact) and the capital of Carazo, where the Goshen unit house is located and some of the students’ host families live as well. On the way we passed through Diriamba and Dolores, nearby municipalities in which other students will be living with host…

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May 1, 2014

They’re here!

After a day that started with a 4:00 a.m. departure from Goshen, our 22 Nicaragua SSTers arrived in Managua at about 9:00 p.m. local time. Our Country Coordinator Dalena and I waited eagerly as they emerged from customs, all smiling and in good spirits despite the very long day and the intense heat that greeted them as we exited the airport. We were fortunate to have an air-conditioned bus ride to Centro Kairós, a retreat center on the outskirts of Managua. After a late-night bite to eat and water bottle refills, everyone seemed ready for bed. We’ll spend tomorrow here…

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July 29, 2013

Last moments in Nicaragua

After several sad goodbyes with families in Carazo yesterday, the group traveled to the same Centro Kairos guesthouse in Managua where they had stayed the first two nights when they arrived in Nicaragua what seems like a looong time ago.  After lunch we had a worship service and some reflections and sharing on our times in Nicaragua. At 6 p.m. we attended a Catholic mass at the Batahola Center, where Becky had done her service assignment, and then we returned to the Kairos guesthouse for supper.  A group of 8 theology students from Saint Louis University, a Jesuit school, were…

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July 28, 2013

With the project presentations finished, today was a final vacation day before beginning the process of starting the journey back home.  The group traveled an hour to Granada, where we boarded a boat on Lake Nicaragua for a trip to the Isletas, about 360 small islands formed before recorded history when the Mombacho volcano blew out one side and scattered much of the mountain onto the lake below.  We had reserved the day with one of the islands that offers transportation, food, boating and swimming.  It was a relaxing day with no work.  Some of the guys discovered that ripe,…

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July 27, 2013

The other half of the students, those who did not give their presentations yesterday, presented the findings of their projects this morning.  After lunch together we took off for the craft and souvenir markets in the nearby city of Masaya, known as the craft capital of Nicaragua.  One of the craft/souvenir markets is part of the city’s main market, shared with stalls for fruits, vegetables, butcher shops, and beauty salons.  The other craft market is specifically designed for tourists, in what looks like an old castle, and it is more spacious but also more expensive.

July 26, 2013

This morning half the students gave informal 10-minute presentations on a topic they chose before leaving for their service assignments.  When the work was finished, we had lunch together, celebrated some July birthdays, and then headed to the Masaya volcano for sight-seeing.  During the rainy season the volcano emits a constant cloud of steam with some acrid fumes.  After six weeks apart, the students had a good afternoon enjoying each others company.

July 25, 2013

Today all the students safely returned from their service locations.  They each stopped by Quinta Goshen, the house where Doug and Maria are living, to leave off homework assignments, books from the library, journal assignments, etc.  Also, we were just glad to see each of them in person and welcome them back!  Below are pictures of the adventurers as they arrived from different locations around the country. The next four nights they will be staying with their host families from the first six weeks.  On Thursday and Friday mornings the students will give 10-minute presentations on their service projects, and…

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July 21, 2013

Carazo – Cora

Cora works with Libros para Niños (Books for Children), an organization in Jinotepe that promotes reading.   An earlier date for Maria to visit Cora at her work was rescheduled for this past week, when Maria visited Cora in the central park of the town of Dolores. Central American towns all have a central park, and the central park often has a kiosk in the center.  In Dolores the kiosk is where Cora works with two other women reading books to children, giving them time to read on their own, and loaning out books.  In a circular room at the base…

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July 18, 2013

El Lagartillo – Alejandro

Alejandro is working in this small rural community that the whole group had visited in early June.  After the 20-mile race on Sunday (see earlier post) Maria and Doug accompanied Alejandro back to El Lagartillo, about a six-hour trip north of Jinotepe.  Maria and Doug’s daughters, Jessica (who did her SST in Senegal) and Juni, and Jessica’s fiancé Peter (who did his SST in Peru), also came along for the visit. Alejandro works with the secondary school’s English teacher, Baltazara, sometimes assisting with pronunciations in class and sometimes giving classes himself.  Larger classes are given in the school building, while…

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July 15, 2013

  On Sunday five members of the group participated with several hundred others in a race from Managua to the city of Masaya, 20 miles southeast of the capital.  The race commemorates a 1979 nighttime trek of several thousand Nicaraguans during the war that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship.  On Sunday runners could choose different distances, with most running nine miles or less, but the GC runners all went the full 20 miles to Masaya.  Two of the GC runners placed in the top 5 for their category and won prizes.  Everyone was very tired and thirsty by the end. Since…

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