Hello! My name is Ildaliza Pena and today I was the leader of the day! I’d like to give a shoutout to my mom (see you in a few days!)

Today, we all got to go out in groups of four or more on our own without our GGLs, which was incredibly exciting and a little nerve racking. To be on on our own in a different country was a little scary, but Esteli has become like a second home for our as we have spent the last two weeks in this community. Today we did our souvenir shopping, which was a little stressful because it was hard to know what to get for everybody back home. Some of us got our nails done, others played basketball with our English tutoring students, and a few of us even got a massage!

Being the leader of the day today felt really empowering because I was able to really practice my leadership skills. This trip has pushed me out of my comfort zone as I’m still not 100% comfortable being in front of a group and leading them, but I was actually able to overcome that today. During this experience, I’ve realized that I’m capable of conquering my fears and many times the things I’m afraid of are just in my head. I’ve gained confidence throughout this trip and was happy to be LDD towards the end of the trip because I already know the people on my trip on a deeper level.

Being the leader of today not only allowed me to conquer my fears, but it also inspired me and my peers to cook dinner for my adult leaders here in Nicaragua. I wanted to share my culture with them (and do something nice to serve them as they have been serving us for two whole weeks)! I, along with a few other students, cooked Mangu, a traditional Dominican dish, for my GGLs Shannon and John, my PCs Erik and Tania, as well as Mama Elena and Papa Pancho – our hostel hosts! I was nervous because I wasn’t sure they would like it, but then I noticed they all ate it and enjoyed it (and the other students got in on it, too!)

After dinner, we held our nightly meeting – our second to last one! Tonight’s meeting ended on an emotional note as we presented a gift to our hostel hosts. Our GGL, John, plays guitar and sings (really good) and purchased a guitar last week. We all chipped in so we could donate the guitar to Hostal Tamabu and give the gift of music to Mama Elena and Papa Pancho! After we presented the gift, Papa Pancho thanked us from the bottom of his heart and treated us to a beautiful song – which made me tear up! Mama Elena then said we were the BEST group out of 26 delegations from Global Glimpse and her and Papa Pancho gave us a special gift to remember Hostal Tamabu.

I can’t believe tomorrow is our last day in Esteli. I still don’t want to go back home just yet!

Buenas Noches!