Hello, readers! Today, we learned about aid and development. As the next leader of the day, I woke everyone at 6 AM so we could arrive on time to a satisfying breakfast of fried rice and plantains at el comedor Deja-Vu. The morning continued with an educational seminar delivered by Cindy, in which we debated the issue of providing “aid” to foreign nations. Though many third-world countries continue to battle obstacles such as malaria and severe corruption, the aid that wealthier countries have been supplying is frequently crippling rather than constructive. For example, the NFL recently shipped an incredible quantity of T-shirts to villages in Africa. The prospect of a rich organization generously donating clothing to the impoverished may be romantic, but we should consider many more questions: do they really need more shirts? Now that everyone is dressed, what happens to the existing clothing industry? How would that affect the economy?

With this in mind, we traveled by private bus to Cocinas mi Fogon, a business that manufactures ecologically-sustainable kitchens to sell to people all across Nicaragua. We received a tour and learned that Don Juan, the founder, began without the ability to read or write. However, he joined an aid and development program which led to his own organization, Cocinas mi Fogon. He has grown wealthy since then, yet he uses this money to aid the community instead of himself; he has paved roads in addition to purchasing bikes for his employees, which is truly inspiring. Furthermore, we had fun helping make two kitchens for him by filling the frames of cooking ovens with cement. 🙂

We traveled home to prepare for our upcoming English classes, and spent an hour working hard and creating lesson plans. At 12:30 PM, we ate lunch and then returned to hear from the director of Fundar Fabiola, another aid and development program. They focus on environmental sustainability by restoring destroyed mangrove forests and protecting turtle eggs laid on the beach (that are typically harvested by people for food), among other ventures. This presentation reminded us that the world is connected: what hurts the environment hurts us as well.

After dinner, we were finally able to teach our first English classes! Everyone had a wonderful time getting to know their students and share our knowledge. The first lesson is always more difficult, but I am confident that each of us will improve next time as we understand what our students genuinely need from us. We’re all excited for next time! See you tomorrow. 🙂

“Just because you have a really large hammer does not mean that everything in the world is a nail.” – Unknown

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