On our most recent trip, our members spent 10 days in Rancho Grande. This was our first trip in 2 years, due to the civil unrest in Nicaragua and a warning against travel. The focus of this trip was to observe how current initiatives were implemented, test water quality, and teach English, math, computer, and reading to kids in the community. Overall, we wanted to reestablish a foundation in the community, since there were no members that had been on a trip before. We prepared surveys to assess how the clean cook stoves were being used and how successful the bakery and sewing center were. Water samples were tested using kits brought with our members. The largest portion of this trip was spent teaching classes to kids in Rancho Grande – the classes were split up between los niños (children) and los jóvenes (youths). Los niños has classes every morning and we taught them math and reading, while los jóvenes were taught math and computer skills. Each evening, we taught two simultaneous English classes based on beginner and advanced levels.
Our team spent 9 days in country, installing 10 ONIL stoves on Monday and teaching classes the rest of the week. We held a meeting with our major community partners for the clean cook stove initiative to discuss how to improve the project and learned some awesome insights. An idea to have students make their own pottery was also tested, digging up clay from a field and running it through a grinder, then getting super muddy making bowls, ducks, and even a helicopter out of the clay. In a science project, students used critical thinking skills to construct small robots out of cups and markers. Saturday, our last day in Nicaragua, we took a group of the older kids to Laguna de Apoyo, a lake located in a volcanic crater just outside of Masaya (near the country’s capital of Managua) for paddleboarding, kayaking, and swimming. Before heading to the airport, we all watched Jumanji together at the mall in Managua.
In August of 2017, six students spent 8 days in country. Many activities were oriented towards our students, such as a talent show held to give them an opportunity to perform, a luncheon to celebrate the work of our adult partners in the community, and a science experiment making gak. Classes were held during the week with night classes for additional English lessons. Much of the trip also involved conducting surveys on the progress of our clean cook stove initiative, as well as an event to meet, educate, and survey mothers interested in buying stoves for their families. On our last day, we took our students ages 15 and older to learn how to make chocolate, then watched Glass Castle in theaters!
On this trip, our members spent 12 days in-country. We spent one day installing 10 ONIL clean cook stoves, a day in the city of Matagalpa researching the viability of converting Tierra Prometida from the standard electrical grid to a self-sustaining solar grid, most weekdays teaching in our classrooms, and a lot of time playing soccer and getting to know the kids on a personal level. At end the week, we took a group of the older kids sledding at Cerro Negro, an active volcano near the city of Leon.
Project Nicaragua spent 10 days teaching classes, conducting surveys to evaluate families that received the first 10 ONIL clean cook stoves, and working with our bakery and sewing center. In one day of class, students made borax crystals that they took home after. Since some of our male students had to work and couldn’t attend classes during the day, one of our team members held a night class specifically for them. One day, the team took students to a visiting fair that even had a ferris wheel! At the end of the trip, we took our older students to a beach on the west coast.