Today was a fun-filled day of service and dancing, like any day here should be. Instead of taking the two minute walk from school principal Rafaela’s house to La Nicaraguita, we travelled by bus to La Escuela Elemental Acahualinca, which is a public school for elementrary-aged kids in an extremly lower class area of Managua. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we came in with our work gloves and positive attitudes. We were all assigned to do different jobs around the school, and I chose to work in the garden because we hadn’t really had hands-on jobs to do here yet. Other people were assigned to draw posters and cut out letters to hang around the classrooms, three of our group served a hot meal in the cafeteria to the various classes, and the rest of our group washed the walls and cleaned the windows of the cafeteria.
Our job in the garden was definitely a character building one, where we raked an inch-high layer of dust and weeds into piles. There was dust in our eyes, on our teeth, and covering our legs. We definitely did not look pretty afterwards, but the garden looked so much cleaner than when we started. It was hard to really clean everything, and we had to think a lot more about the little things we got done, and not the whole picture.
Compared to La Nicaraguita, this school had much larger classes, fewer teachers, and seemingly fewer resources, but the kids were just as happy. They treated us like celebrities, and a bunch of them would come up to us and say “hola!” with huge smiles. I think we all felt very productive and happy to be there helping out in a real way.
As usual, we ended the night with a fiesta with the Nicas. It was nice to dance away our sad feelings about leaving so soon.