Today we had an extremely early wake up call at 4:30am and left for the Somoto Canyon (a 3 hour bus ride). We drove through many cities, including Esteli, until we finally reached Somoto. When we arrived we got life jackets and were joined by some Red Cross members and our tour guides. Then we started hiking to the River Coco, the first leg of our adventure. While hiking, we got to hear stories about history and geography from our tour guide, Armando. Fun fact: we could see the Honduran border while we were hiking! When we reached the river, we did cliff jumps (well, more like rock jumps; they were no more than 5 or 6 feet high) and swam through the river. After we were finished swimming, we took lanchas (boats) the rest of the way to continue hiking. We ate lunch on the bus and headed back to Jinotega, where we had dinner and our nightly meeting. It was a very long but adventurous and exciting day.
- What did you and your peers learn that day? We managed to get over our fear of swimming and the physical challenge of hiking uphill through team work and compassion. The night before we had talked about compassion and not being focused on self, but team. Throughout the day everyone learned when someone else needed help and stepped up to help each other.
- What surprised you the most that day? People were willing to jump off rocks and push themselves. Everyone managed to have fun even though the experience could be scary/exhilarating at the same time. We also learned from our tour guide that there is a man who dives into the river and looks for belongings lost at the bottom.
- What are you most proud of you and your peers during that day?
We are the most proud of the teamwork that our group showed today while swimming and hiking over slippery rocks. Lending a hand once in a while really helps.
- Who was the most inspiring person you met that day? Today we met our tour guide Armando who had a passion for leading and sharing his culture with us. He made the day even better with his jokes, stories, and compassion.
- What was it like being El Lider Del Dia? Well, it was a physically hard day filled with hiking and swimming, going up and down. You had to remember to take care of yourself while also taking care of others. We had to make sure we did not leave anyone behind on the trail. It required lots of positive energy, too.
- What did you learn about yourself that day? Joanna: I knew from the beginning that I was afraid of the water. I don’t know how to swim; it has not been a necessity in my life. I’ve been kayaking on the sea with a life vest, so I thought that the relatively shallow river was going to be a breeze, but it was completely different. The moment my feet could not touch the river and the only thing between me and death was a life jacket made of plastic and foam, I lost control over myself and started screaming for someone to get me out of the water. Debbie (site coordinater) asked me why I was scared and I told her I did not have control. That is the scariest thing in life not having control and having to trust someone or something besides yourself. That is also why I am scared of roller coasters. To get over that, you have to let go and be fine with not being in control. I realized that and trusted the guides and Red Cross. At the end of the day, I enjoyed the day and was happy to have arrived home safe
Jennifer: I also was not very comfortable with the water but the lifeguards and my fellow glimpsers helped me a lot. Also, I learned that I enjoy hiking (only downhill!) and because we saw the border of Honduras, I really want to visit it. (It was so close! Maybe in the future!)