“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may not remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.” – Native American saying

June 4, 2014 was the day to learn about aid and development. We started off with a great breakfast at 6:30am. After, we had a seminar to get our minds thinking about aid and development. The questions were: does development aid have a positive or negative effect on the growth of a developing country? Also, how can a person’s education be affected by a lack of resources? So today we traveled to one of best-integrated schools with both disabled students and normal students. The school was called “Escuela La Amistada,” or school of friendship. This school helps both girls and boys from ages 4-18 and sometimes adults also come. It is also free to attend that means they are not getting much help from the government. They have regular students and then they also have deaf students, some are autistic and some even have Down syndrome. Some students are in a two year programs that teach then how to respect themselves, fight for rights, work, and to never let anyone take advantage of them even if they have disabilities. They even have it where when a child is born from ages 0-3 with disabilities they help families learn how to accept their baby and how they can also deal with the situation at hand. Teachers go to homes to help train parents to learn different ways they can communicate with their child. Many students that attend this school are those with single parents, that live outside the outskirts and that are poor or vulnerable. For those students who live on the outskirts of the city they have a bus that comes and picks them up for school. The mayor funds the bus and he pays for the gas. They are a developing school so they do get help from states like Germany, Spain, and used to get support from Italy. Italy gave $500 and they came back to see how the money was used and in their eyes it was not their dream. We asked how and what did they needed to make a change and a bigger difference to help support them and they wanted more school supplies like books, and games to help. They also didn’t have any lights so when the sun goes down the school is completely dark. We asked the teacher what was the best part of their job and worst part. The good was to see the children everyday ad to see how much they excel and the worst thing was to not have the right materials to help student become better in life. They have so many activities that the students do together like cooking, beauty, handcrafts, and dancing, and they also only teach 3 subjects. They even mention how student come to school hungry and without shoes. The school only gets so much food, which is only 130 grams of food per student and most of the time they run out. At the end of the day we got together and had a lot of fun, it was the most exciting part of my day. Painting faces and coloring with them was great, and had amazing impact.

Today we also talked about our Community action project. The project will take place at the school of friendship and we will have two days to complete it. We as a group must think and come up with the project that is sustainable, this means we must think about the 3 “D”s. First is discovery, learn about what will help the school, or what they need the most. The second is design, come up with a plan and stick with it, so get organized. The last word is delivery, meaning make the project come to life. Learning is a great experience, and this project is great to get into and I hope we have fun.

Last but not least, today was the first day we did our English tutoring. Students were broken up into 5 groups from basic to advanced group. Students taught Spanish-speaking kids and adults how to speak, read, and write English. It was an amazing task. We will be teaching these students on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 6-8pm until the last Friday we have in Nicaragua. After they will get certificates. Many students had a hard time with the basic classes due to most of our students taking French instead of Spanish for a language class, but most of all we were able to get to know more people and have great time. This will continue and we will continue to follow the 3C’s and they are courage, commitment and compassion.