The day has finally come! As this journey ends our new journeys at home with changed perspectives are about to begin. We took this last day in Nicaragua to reflect on all of the experiences we shared together. Our day as leaders began as usual with our daily wakeup call at 7 am followed by breakfast. The last breakfast at the hostel called for everyone to be on time, which gladly they all were. After indulging in a yummy fruit salad and toast we began our last and possibly most important seminar.
The final reflection seminar not only gave us a chance to look back to the beginning of our trip but also how everything and everyone involved in it has shaped us as people. By making maps of specific moments that impacted us we were able to understand how each impacted us differently. Following the maps we each came up with one thing we would pledge to stop, start, and continue doing upon our return back home. For some people this meant they would start taking advantage of the opportunities they were given, stop being a bystander, and continue staying true to themselves. This activity opened our eyes to the changes within ourselves. All meaningful seminars need meaningful endings and what a better way to end things than with big love shout outs! As we each passed around a piece of paper with our names on it everyone got the chance to anonymously write down positive messages. This really reminded everyone of the bonds we formed, and that saying goodbye right now is not saying goodbye forever.
Next came packing time! For some these were the last moments with roommates who had become lifelong friends and a place that had become our home. After our last lunch at the hostel we took our final few moments to enjoy the beauty of Matagalpa one last time.
As we loaded our suitcases and packed the bus it finally hit us that this was it. The day we thought would take forever to come, came in the blink of an eye. Throughout the bus ride we began to realize the differences between Matagalpa and Managua. From rural to urban the landscape changed right in front of our faces, and who could ask for a better last dinner than one at Pizza Hut? We all enjoyed a meal filled with smiles, laughs, and moments that we’ll always hold on to. Before arriving at our new hostel we made a quick pit stop at a mall in Managua. Unfortunately most of the stores were closed which disappointed many of the girls. When we finally got to the hostel we gathered for our last nightly meeting. As we wrapped up the meeting it was clear that a melancholy atmosphere had settled over us. Faces that we woke up to every morning would soon no longer be there. Our family of 23 would be reunited with their family’s at home.
For us being leaders on such an emotional day was a challenge we were ready to accept from the minute we humored everyone with our initiation handshake. As two people who immediately connected from day one we understood the importance of the day and were ready to welcome it with open arms. The day not only taught us to be compassionate but we also really had to commit to being in the role of leaders instead of two best friends. The most difficult part of the day was having to stay strong and not let our emotions get the best of us because we strived to be the best leaders we could possibly be for our peers. As we prepare to close this chapter of our journey we open a new one as we arrive back home to our loved ones and incorporate our new knowledge into our everyday lives.