Buenas Noches everyone! My name is Hayley Ng and I was today’s Leader Del Dia for our free day! We started the day off with breakfast at Imabite, then headed for the Central Plaza where we sipped on iced coffee from a French inspired coffee shop and various fruit smoothies at the Pitaya juice shop. At the plaza, we also had the opportunity to browse the different souvenir stands which housed necklaces, earrings, customizable bracelets, unique shirts, and other interesting Nicaraguan goods. After spending most of our morning exploring the city center, we paid a visit to a local supermarket where many of us were more than happy to stack up on snacks like crackers, candy, and cereal. Shopping was a very new experience for many of us, as we used the cordoba currency for the first time, where 29.7 cordobas equals 1 U.S dollar.

After our buffet style lunch at our beloved Imabite, many of us headed to the local internet cafe, where we got into contact with our families for the first time since we arrived here in Leon. Although there were some technical issues, many of us were able to spend precious moments reconnecting with family members. Many tears were shed, but we were ecstatic to be able to check social media and hear our parent’s voices. There was limited access, and the connection was unfortunately not the greatest, so for those who weren’t able to maintain a long conversation, have no fear: your children don’t hate you, they just didn’t have a signal. Having this opportunity to talk with our loved ones was a reminder to many of how homesick we were, but it also gave us motivation to keep going, as our families’ and friend’s words of encouragement was a great pick-me-up. Families and friends, WE MISS YOU!

Tonight we also had the amazing experience of tutoring English to some of the local Nicaraguans. We prepared a lesson plan, and although many of us were nervous to teach, once the classes began, we settled in and ended up having a great time. Interacting with our students was a challenge but not only was it a learning experience for them, but us as well. We grew as teachers, leaders, and people through our newfound abilities to connect deeply with our students. We also learned to improvise when things did not go as we expected. For example, many of our students were adults, and more fluent in English than we had previously expected. But NEVERTHELESS, we powered through and were actually effective in teaching them new material. These students proved to have great personalities and people willing to immerse themselves into a new language.

Hayley, Justin, and Allison matching outfits for their tutoring lesson

Itzel, Adriana, and Reya teaching the beginner English class

Hannah, Jonathan, and Alyssa teaching the Intermediate English class

Vanessa helping a student with an activity

All in all, despite being a free day, we learned how to spend our free time wisely; in a way that is productive and fruitful. Being wise is also being mindful of our decisions and actions in the midst of enjoying ourselves. It is possible to have fun whilst making an impact as well. So far so good! Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to comment!

Signing off,

Hayley Ng