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Nicaragua 2009
(page 1 of 4)

This "lady in white" doing a traditional dance on the dirt in front of the old school was part of the welcoming ceremony put on for us by the local "PTA". Nicaragua is a long-suffering but proud country. They still haven't fully recovered from Reagan's Contra War and the debt that created, but they maintain a strong sense of identity. We particularly noticed the sense of volunteerism and community spirit.

We went with Seeds of Learning , a non-profit based in Sonoma that has been building schools in Nicaragua and El Salvador for 20 years. They work in partnership with local communities. They supply the building materials (funded largely thru our program fee) and some volunteer labor (us), while the community supplies more labor and land. The Dept. of Education commits to supplying a teacher.

We went with five other families from Davis, which gave us four 11-year old boys. Bunky (above) cuts brick while Noah and Davis build the wall, assisted by our new friend Ryan, the son of Seeds of Learning staff in Nicaragua.

Caleb, Luke, and Ben


Steve and Lonna

Our local worksite foreman taught us how to mix mortar the Nicaraguan way: first make one big volcano, like Momotombo; then make two, like on Isla Ometepe; then merge them and make a crater lake, like Laguna Apoyo...

Sean, Selena (one of the children from the school), and Dylan. We were building a new one-room schoolhouse (for grades K-6), in the background. The old structure will become a pre-school.

We had a connection with this school, Palo de Agua. They were pen-pals of Bunky's class last year. We were assigned to work in their village on their school only by coincidence. Here Bunky shares a letter he received a few months earlier from Melonia.

Nikki, Bunky's teacher last year, connects with her pen-pal students. Despite having a vacation during part of our stay, the local children were nearly perfect in attendence during our visit. Nikki was able to hand out new letters from her students in Davis to these children.

Amy's Spanish grew by the minute, although Ed (aka Eduardito) made a serious attempt to pass her.

on to page two (of four) of Nicaragua 2009 photos