Today was another long day here in Matagalpa. We spent the day running around high on sugar and coffee. Some of us spent so much we only had one cordoba left for the next two weeks. (Boo. :c) Unfortunately a few students fell ill today but are on the road to recovery. The day started early in the morning and lasted until the final bird stopped chirping and went to bed. Starting from the magical chocolate factory of Willy Wonka (Nica style), known as Castilo de Cacao. There we received a tour form two amazing people explaining the process to the creation of chocolate. We discussed the peeling, roasting, cleaning processes of the chocolate beans before it reaches the local (and international) markets. This experience was very eye-opening to the origins of our meals and local products. Who would have known that the chocolate bar sitting in the department store was made by a small community of workers in a moderate sized factory. It was quite surprising to find out that there are only about 5 people working on 12,000 pieces of chocolate a month. The workers also explained the differences between organic and unnatural chocolate. The high prices for organic chocolate is derived from the much longer and necessary process of growing the beans. (Wow!) At the end of the tour we, as a group, received a chance to purchase some chocolate for our family (and ourselves) and spent a total of around $500 US dollars.
After our chocolate binge, we switched to a coffee high. Finishing our almuerzo (lunch), we headed to the Beneficio SolCafe, which is basically a coffee cooperative. At the Beneficio we listened to a speech by the person in charge and received a tour of the area. The process was very similar to the creation of chocolate bars. They also had to be peeled and if necessary, grounded. Like the tour at the Chocolate Factory, we also received a chance to buy some coffee. Now, Im not sure how much we spent there, but the employees seemed content with our purchases. Haha!
Later today, we had our second English lesson at El Progresso. We found that this time around every class was able to receive a room, which made things a lot more easier and a lot more fun. My class was amazing, eager to learn, and picked English up really quickly. The more advanced students were willing to help us teach the students who weren’t as familiarized with English. It felt wonderful knowing that by the end of the day we were able to make a difference in so many lives through something as simple as spreading our knowledge.
Looking back, the day was very successful in the sense that we were able to learn a lot about business in the USA and in Nicaragua, and become more involved in the community. We have our first free day tomorrow and we’re really excited to finally sleep in until 8 AM and explore more of Matagalpa. 🙂