¡Bienviendos! My name is Julie Nogueda and I’m 17 years old. I go to Independence High School (Go 76ers!) located in San Jose, California. The badge of leadership along with the honorable crown was passed to me by my fellow Glimpser Myles, thus making me El Lider Del Dia. Before leading our nightly meeting I was completely flushed with nervousness. This went away when I heard my fellow Glimpsers cheering me on! The rest of the night went smoothly as I settled into the leader position and kept to my responsabilites

The next morning the students received their first of many wake up calls at 7:15. We then headed to Quiero Mas to start off our day. Our delicious breakfast consisted of Gallo Pinto (everyone’s favorite), Cheese Quesadillas, ripe bananas and freshly made fruit juice. Once we had finished our important meal of the day, we said our thanks to the staff and headed back to the hostel. Next on our agenda was a seminar on Global Business. In partners, we shared thoughts about our Question of the Day, “What are the challenges to starting a business in Nicaragua? How does the influence of foreign enterprise impact the capabilities of business start-up for locals?”

After finishing our last seminar, we had one hour to prep for our CAP (Community Action Project) presentation. The Spanish Speakers in the group (Betty, Ived and I) helped translate any last minute touches to our posters. The presentation went smoothly and the owner of Los Osoitos was pleased by all the wonderful ideas to make the daycare fun, educational and safe. We celebrated our success and teamwork at Quiero Mas for lunch. Every student devoured their plate full of rice, beans, chicken and a healthy salad. The group was fueled with excitement, as we all knew what was next on today’s agenda. Our overnight bags were packed with our swimsuits, bug spray and of course sunscreen as we awaited our bus to come take us to the next location.

Before we could enjoy the night at the beach, we had a field trip to Rancho Los Alpes. Hard work before play! At the ranch, we all watched a video about how the ranch gave back to the community. The family owned ranch is 17 acres long. The owners helped the community by making contributions to the Old folk’s home and by donating nesecities to families in need. Rancho los Alpes was not only a community of families but it was a business that met the needs of its people as well as teaching tourists/locals about the environment. While there, the group got the opportunity to milk a cow and make homemade corn tortillas. We went though the process of cleaning the corn, grinding it, shaping it, grilling it and finally eating it!

Our Quote of the Day was” No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others… or failing therein, it creases to be profitable and creases to exist” by Calvin Coolidge.  The experience at Rancho was a great example of this. As a group we reflected on how in order for a business to truly be profitable, it needs to benefit the community as a whole. I know everyone enjoyed the ranch, and it was definitely the highlight of my day.

After thanking the owners of the ranch, we hopped back onto our Blue Bird Bus and were in high spirits. The reasoning being was because the beach was the final location after our day’s long work. We settled in Hostel Playa Roca where we would spend the night. We had our nightly meeting right after dinner. Not only was it delicious but did I mention we were on the beach?  Las Pinitas was a true Nicaraguan beauty. The sand felt great on our toes as we played volleyball, football and sat around the bonfire eating s’mores. We weren’t allowed to enter the ocean due to safety precautions but it was still one of the best highlights of the trip.

My long day as El Lider Del Dia was a great experience. I was hit with home sickness today at the ranch. When the cows remembered me of my little sister’s favorite book and the lady helping us make tortillas reminded me of my grandmother. Not only was she short like my Gramita but she had her qualities of being a great teacher and wise. My peers  helped cure me of my homesickness on the way back to bus. This delegation truly is my second family, not only have the leaders given us advice for adulthood but we each have more than 20 shoulders to lean on.