Hi my name is Miguel Gutierrez from Pittsburg High School and this trip could only be described in seven letters, amazing! The main reason I chose this trip was to receive training on stepping out my comfort zone in which I have conquered many times during this trip. Since the beginning of the trip i knew that the students in this trip would do extraordinary things, and from what I have seen, they are achieving greatness.
I have learned that the work we do is nothing compared to what Nicaraguans do. Especially today since it was “Working like a local day.” We started the day by waking up at 4:45 and taking a bus 45 minutes to La Garnacha, in the mountains of Esteli. First, it was off to milking the goats and cows, which was fun! At first I was extremely grossed out by it; the smell of cows make me gag, but it required me to step out my comfort zone and get it done for the sake of the group. After milking the goats and cows, we had a wonderful breakfast prepared by the locals consisting of gallo pinto, eggs, avocado and a fresh tortilla made by hand.
After breakfast we were split into two groups. Our GG leaders decided to name them team Vaca meaning “Cow”and team Cabra meaning “goat.” Team Vaca started the day by taking the skin off the coffee beans by using a large wooden pole to pound them off, which was a good arm workout. Here is our new Program Coordinator, Humberto having a go at it. A few days ago our other amazing Coordinator, Alex, had to leave to support another group. We had a very sad day last week because of it, but am happy to introduce our new Coordinator, Humberto. From Day 1 with us, Humberto has been jumping in the action, leading us in the right direction and making us laugh. He’s originally from Nicaragua and has been working with NGOs for over 10 years now. We are so happy to have him working with us! Here he is showing us how to break the shell off the coffee beans.
Afterwards we collected the plants from the fields and brought this food to the cows and placed it in their sheds.
Then after, the fun part which was cleaning up the poop had begun. At first we had started off by picking up the poop of the cows which was splattered everywhere. Then we went to the goats shed which was filled with tons and tons of poop. We had raked and shoveled the poop together then put them in wheel barrows and hauled those out to piles outdoors, to be used later for composting. It was back aching, leg crushing, and extremely sweaty work that made me appreciate the locals not just in Nicaragua, but everywhere in this planet. What surprised me the most was how fast-paced the locals were when it came to working as they had made it look relatively easy.
Even though many of us weren’t able to get any milk from the goats and cows, but we kept trying until the milk came out the udder and never gave up. The poop clean-up wasn’t the only fun part. Then we hiked a bit and saw a stunning view of most of Nicaragua’s volcanoes and mountains, which the locals see often after lunch. It was a canyon that had the view of many of Nicaragua’s beauties, such as the volcanos, the large bodies of water, and the nature that it consists of.
The work we consider tiring isn’t even close to what locals do. Locals have to depend on whether to continue having a job because droughts can cost them their jobs. No rain means no food production, meaning that the animals there would have no food. But in this trip, there was plenty of food for the livestock there.
What had inspired me the most today was the fact that none of the group members hesitated or rejected the work that was given to them today. This made me so proud of my group because it shows me how hard-working our group really is. As an individual the person who inspired me the most was our host, Pablo, because he was extremely welcoming and looked very happy showing us in how the life of a local really is. being leader of the day was exquisite due to the fact that being a leader has so many unique ways of leading.