Hi I’m Grace and I was El Lider Del Dia today (The Leader of the Day). I was very very VERY excited for this opportunity because I have really fallen in love with this program and this city and especially my fellow glimpsers. They have quickly become like a family to me so this was a really special day. Today was a lot of fun and also very educational as it gave us a GLIMPSE (haha get it?) into the history of aid and development in Nicaragua and different factors that they affected in Esteli especially.

After our informational seminar we had a chance to visit Las Mujeres Ambialistas, a group of women who work as a nonprofit and make recycled paper to help save their local environment and spread awareness of conservation. We all got to try to make recycled paper using the techniques that the ladies taught us. It was really funny because we were so excited about making paper and Persis was so into it that her glasses fell out and dropped into the mixture and she didn’t even notice until later!! (Don’t worry she got them back)

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Today was also dedicated to getting to know our sponsors for our CAP (community action project). Our first stop was Sonati, a non profit organization that focuses on the education of environmental conservation for kids and young adults. Sonati works with volunteers from many different backgrounds to hold educational programs and create beautiful murals, public benches and other amazing additions to local communities out of recycled materials. We got to work with some really cool volunteers from Germany and Austria to make butterflies and flowers out of recycled paper towel rolls and plastic water bottles. They ended up being really unique and pretty and reflected our individual personalities which was very tuani. (Tuani means cool and I feel very tuani for being able to use my new Nicaraguan lingo.)

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We also got to visit our second partner which was the Fabretto School for disadvantaged kids. The program coordinator, Octavio, gave us a tour of the school and talked to us a little bit more about their programs and their needs and how the glimpsers and our CAP could really help them out. There weren’t any kids there because they are on vacation right now but it was still heartwarming to see all the cute little decorations that the classrooms had that really added personality to the place. We are all extremely excited to work with them!

When we got back home our brains were bursting with ideas for our CAP project so we held a meeting and planned out what we wanted to do for our project. It was really fun for everyone because we were collaborating and sharing amazing ideas and everyone was feeding off each other’s excitement which made us all the more passionate to get the project started!

As leader of the day I got to experience what it was like for Erin, Paul, Henrietta and Beverly every day and can I just say they do an amazing job of  staying energized and calm and collected no matter what happens in the day. I think the best part about being El Lider del Dia was interacting with and hearing the feedback from the rest of the group. Everyone is so open, kind-hearted, supportive and just generally amazing and I really was amazed at how much we have bonded in such a short amount of time. I got a little emotional and started crying (ps- Thanks a lot Paul *note the sarcasm* )  during our “big love” part of the meeting because everyone was so open about their feelings and we all bonded and it was a very powerful moment.

I really am grateful for being able to experience this trip because not only do I get to experience the program and the city but I also get to experience 20 beautiful open hearts and people and make friendships that I know will last a lifetime. The little moments of the day, the inside jokes and the intangible connections are definitely what I  hold closest to my heart and will remember the most.

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