by Greg Levy ’18
Following lunch yesterday at Rafaela’s house, we returned to La Nicaragüita to help out the older kids’ classes. In La Nicaragüita, the older kids (7th grade to 11th grade) have classes in the afternoon because the Managuan heat is too much for any grade to have [what we consider to be] a full day of school. Alyssa and Tali enjoyed the tenth graders’ company and had fun conversations with them. They primarily spoke with Tatiana, the daughter of Rafaela’s cook, who spoke with them about various cultural differences, like birthday celebrations. After making friends with Tatiana, Alyssa and Tali continued to speak with her throughout the day and learned Piedra, Papel, o Tijeras (Spanish “Rock, Paper, Scissors”). Meanwhile, Maia, Tom, and I read short paragraphs about Olympic athletes for the ninth grade’s English class. Since few students wanted to participate and read the paragraphs, some ninth graders unsuccessfully attempted to bargain with the English teacher to receive extra points on an exam in exchange for successfully reading one of the two paragraphs. We left the school around 5:00 p.m. and returned to Rafaela’s for dinner. After dinner, Philip and Alejandro played a bit of soccer with Joshua, Tatiana’s little brother, and honed their passing skills.
This morning we woke up—way too early, I might add—to leave for León at 5:40 a.m. Some of the 11th graders from La Nicaragüita even came with us to help with the building of pig stys! During the hour-and-a-half-long bus ride we saw Momotombo, one of the many volcanoes in western Nicaragua. When we arrived at our worksite outside of León, we ate breakfast: homemade tortillas, scrambled eggs and Nicaraguan cheese (salty and semi-soft)! One of the women at the farm showed us the process of making the tortillas from scratch, and Tali, Maia, and Philip helped make one. We then split into two groups: one stayed at the site we arrived at, while the other traveled a short distance to a different site. Staying at the primary site, Alex and Niccolo carried around bricks and buckets of sand and dirt to help create the foundation for the pig sty; they also learned how to mix concrete alongside Philip, Tali, Alyssa, Tom, and some of the Nicaraguan students that had come with us. Maia, Alejandro, and I went with Cheri in the back of a pick-up truck to the secondary building site. Along the way, we unexpectedly encountered some traffic: a herd of cows and bulls! Our driver carefully maneuvered through the herd – some of them inches from the truck—and futilely honked at the poor animals until we made it to our site. There, we also helped create a foundation for a pig sty, and Alejandro tapped into his wild side and went all-out with the digging. By the end of the pig sty building (which we unfortunately did not have enough time to finish) we were all covered from head to toe in dirt and dust and awaited the adventures that would find us in the evening.