Ahhhh It has been a bit crazy here, but in the best way possible. This whole internet thing is rather hard to come across but when I do find it, I use it for all its worth. Haha. So, in order to make up for our delay in getting a steady internet source I plan to combine a few blogs into one grandeee blog. We’ve been here for about a weak and I couldn’t even begin to describe everything I’ve seen, done, and experienced. On Monday (July 16) we got to go to the school in William Galeano on the outskirts of Managua. The school is truly an amazing place to be. The surrounding community has a lot of poverty, yet with the help of a few donors and the passion of the rest of the community, the school has become very developed. The layout of the land is kind of hard to visualize from a written description, but here is my best attempt. When you first arrive at the gate of the school, the ground appears a little bumpy and unpaved but as soon as you venture a few feet past the gate it all drastically steepens. The clinic that was built a lot more recently than the school is at most 50 feet down the hill but it is definitely a bit of a trek. The entire land has been completely altered from erosion. There are many holes and natural trenches that have to be avoided. Additionally, since we have been here, our initial plans have changed a bit. Originally we wanted to put a lot of emphasis on the construction of a computer lab for the health clinic but in order to truly and sustainably help the community we had to sit down and revise a bit. One of the main issues that is causing us to revise our original plans was a combination of not having enough space in the school and not having an adequate electrical system in the clinic. In addition, the main private donor that keeps the school running has run into some financial problems and no longer thinks that he can continue to fund the school so ATRAVES in a major transitional stage. After sitting down and talking with Lara, the administrator, we tweaked the project details. Originally, we had planned on constructing a community garden from which various plants would be grown and then handed out to the community, I don’t think we realized how much of a task this would be because of the major erosion problem. The entire community is on the side of a steep hill, as previously mentioned, and the erosion is truly withering away at the little bit of land that is left. Little by little the banks are becoming steeper which takes away a lot of the farmable land and possibly even threatens a few local resident’s houses. To combat this, our team along with a few other volunteers are going to build a huge retaining wall on the side of community garden with recycled tires. Since we have been here for almost a week, we have been able to start this project and I’d say we have done a lot of it already, to our surprise. We started off with nothing more than a slightly eroded hill covered in plants, trees, and way too many unknown creatures. As soon as we talked with Fran and William, who are the brothers of Leticia, the founder of the school, and also the handymen and bodyguards, to guide us through our project we were able to really dive into the work grabbing shovels and pick axes. Shovel load after shovel load, we ended up getting way more done than I think even they expected. Digging in itself sounds like it would be a fairly straightforward task, right? Wrong. I, being the overly ambitious person that I am, quickly jumped up on the hill to loosen the dirt with my shovel only to find myself feeling rather itchy. After a few minutes of this, I finally decided to stop and investigate the matter only to find a colony of red ants coming to visit me. It definitely stings a little at first but after about twenty minutes you don’t feel a thing, literally. Nonetheless we continued on and dug more. After a few hours of ant bites, startling encounters with blue lizards, and battles with tarantulas we finally made visible progress. The wall itself is going to be about 30-40 feet long , about 5 feet high, and containing roughly 350 recycled tires. It is definitely by no means a minor project but definitely a necessary one. I guess what I have really come to learn here is that I am really more of a hands-on person. I get much more satisfaction from digging in the dirt rather than sitting down and doing more office-like work. I think I get that from my dad. After all of the stings, bites, sweat, and inflammation, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot and am really helping the community. It feels great to just see something come from nothing.
Peace and Love,