Volunteering? Do it the Nica way!

We’re about three months in now and everything is running smoothly.  I give class Tuesday through Friday and have my one day of preparation for the week on Monday with weekends free (although I always seem to be running some sort of errand on those days).  In my public school classes we have made slow but steady progress through the basics: The ABC’s, numbers 1-100, introductions and greetings, weather, “Be” and its various uses and forms, etc.

What is somewhat interesting here is the variation of ages that one finds in just one classroom.  For example, in my fifth grade class at La Asuncion Inmaculada ages range from 11 years old all the way to 15.  This sometimes produces difficulties in the classroom.  The younger students are more apt to participate lively in classroom activities while the older students can be somewhat reluctant.  I always consider it a great success when everyone partakes in the activities.  Fortunately, there is also an upside to the age gap.  The older students catch on to some of the grammatical concepts easier and thus are able to help their fellow classmates.

Switching gears, I have finally got out of Diriamba to enjoy the country a little bit.  My trip to the Mombacho Volcano was awesome, if not a little tiring.  Without hyperbolizing, I can say that the trail to the top is the steepest I have encountered in my life.  I almost had to bear-crawl a few times.  However, it was totally worth it once I reached the peak.  Even though it was rather hazy at the top, the view was spectacular.  One can see Granada, Las Isletas, the Apoyo Lagoon, and even Masaya.

I have also taken a weekend trip to Matagalpa and I have to say it was nice to get up into the mountains and away from the blazing heat of the rest of Nicaragua.  While there, I visited Selva Negra, an ecolodge and coffee estate located just outside the city limits.  The trails snake through the tropical forest and are flanked on all sides with lush green flora that facilitates a disconnect in the mind with one’s day to day responsibilities.  It is easy to lose one’s sense of urgency (if not actually, while not paying attention to trail signs!) amidst the bird songs and monkey howls in the jungle.  Despite walking upwards of 15km, the trip was quite invigorating.  The Matagalpa region is also famous for its coffee and chocolate, both of which I made sure to indulge in before leaving.

This Saturday, May 4, One, Two… Tree! will be receiving its first regular volunteer to Diriamba!  We really can’t wait to expand our English classes to more schools in the area.  Welcome Josephine Lane!