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August 17, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Nicaragua, UNM | By

Ah yes, the last blog post about Nicaragua. It is bittersweet.

We arrived back in the United States last Tuesday evening. Sam H and Ashton headed to their respective homes in California and Texas that evening and Sam W, Brie and I stayed in Miami for the night. Our flights did not leave till the next morning.

Last week Ashton did not tell you about our last excursion, the Volcan Masaya Night Tour, because I wished to tell about it. So here goes.

About 3 o’clock Friday afternoon Sam W, Brie, Ashton, and I drove with Andres and Memo to the Masaya Volcano. Sam H did not come because he was sick. Brie, however, took lots and lots of pictures for Sam so that it was like he came with us. :)

We started off our afternoon at the Volcano Museum and then drove up to the Saint Santiago Volcano. It is still active and is spewing sulfur. Parakeets live in the caves in the walls of the Santiago crater. The sulfur keeps their predators at bay. I could hear the Parakeets, but I never saw one. Next we walked up the sides of 2 more craters. I don’t remember their names, but they were named after saints. The walk to the very top was super steep and the path was slippery. We had fun coming down too. We “surfed” down the mountain. The trek, though, was well worth it. The views were amazing. I think the coolest part was seeing the Santiago Crater right next to a lush green mountain. The contrast was extreme.

(Crater Santiago)

                                                                                                                 (Lake Masaya)

My favorite part came next. We walked into a giant bat cave. We could see the bats flying out of it. There were so many of them. The cave was large and we kept walking further and further back. Near the end we saw some baby bats hanging on a branch

                                                                                                 (Walking to the bat caves)

                                                                                                               (Inside a cave)

The final destination was Volcan Masaya. Some nights viewers can see the lava, other nights they’re not so lucky. We were unable to see the lava but we could hear the volcano rumbling. It was like constant thunder. Andres likened the rumbling to the snorting of a pig.

Right now I am sitting at the dining room table at my parent’s house drinking hot tea and writing this on my laptop. It couldn’t be more different than the 5 weeks I spent in Nicaragua. Nicaragua was great though, and I had a blast and learned a bunch.

I am happy to be back; I had no idea I liked New Mexico so much until I was gone. With that said, I enjoyed my time in Nicaragua, I think we all did. It was an experience none of us will forget and which may influence our lives back here in the States. It was, honestly, a shock to go to such poverty stricken areas. La Solidaridad, for example, was a large former squatter community that is now permanent. We were simply providing the materials for a roof and some labor and the people there were so happy. They were so happy to have a roof that would keep the rain out. I found this very humbling and truly realized how good we have it here.

The people I met there were very nice, both in Granada and in the communities we worked in. I loved how in the evening the people in Granada would bring their chairs out to the side walk and chat with each other. It was a small city but it had a sense of community. The food was different but very good. My host family was amazing and my host mother an excellent cook. I don’t speak the greatest Spanish, but my family worked with me and we were able to communicate effectively most of the time. The people at Casa Xalteva were great too. They were friendly and all for helping us improve our Spanish. Same goes for the people at Viva Nicaragua. They were all very nice and helpful. Viva Nicaragua is actually the group that set up which communities we would be working in and they were a pleasure to work with.

I would like to thank everyone who was involved and who made this experience possible. I want to thank our generous donors, without you we would not have been able to provide the materials used in each community. Thank you very very much.

Nicaragua was great and I would do it again. It was amazing. The culture, the food, the cause we were helping, the people; everything was good. I enjoyed it all and learned a lot, about all sorts of things.

Until next time,


Some random pictures:

                                                                                                         San Juan del Sur

                                                                                         Walking to the zip-lining platforms

                                                                                                      View of Lake Granada

                                                                                                              Los Cocos

                                                                                                   Giant wood eating bee

PB&J for our last lunches in Los Cocos

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