Buenas noches family and friends of the 3rd Jinotega Delegation!
Today was Aid and Development Day, which we started off with a wake up at 7:00am. After everyone was up and ready to go we headed to another delicious breakfast at La Familiar where we had fried tortilla and scrambled eggs with red beans, as well as jamaica juice (one of my favorites). Afterwards we went back to our hostel to have our academic seminar led by our GG Leaders, Crystal and Carlos, about aid and development where we talked about the positives and negatives of foreign aid and NGOs, as well as how much responsibility the U.S. should take for aiding other countries before it fixes its own problems.
After our seminar we headed on our first field trip of the day to Escuela Villa La Cruz, the school we are working with for our CAP. During the field trip we got to meet one of the teachers and many of the students who were very excited for us to be there. Jordan, one of the students in the 6th grade class, helped lead us on our tour of the school and impressed us all with his English skills. After our tour we had the chance to ask one of the teachers about what the school needed, how we would be able to help during our two and a half days for the project, as well as other important questions about the CAP. From Escuela Villa La Cruz we went to lunch, which was chicken with rice, pasta salad, salad, and fried tortilla chips (which were addictive!).
Then Indira and Debbie led us in a program seminar explaining Living Like a Local Day, our first reality challenge, which will be taking place tomorrow. After the seminar, we headed to Mision Para Cristo, a U.S. NGO centered in Jinotega. We met Benny Baker, the director and founder, and got to ask him questions about his organization and its work. As the Lider Del Dia I had to introduce him to the group as well as help direct the conversation. At the end he treated us all to our own bags of coffee beans from his organization’s work. From there we trekked back to La Familiar for a delicious dinner of pasta with chicken, bread, and salad where we spent most of the meal with our English Tutoring groups since later that evening was our first day of tutoring! I know all of us were very nervous for our first day of class, but afterwards we all left the classes smiling and laughing, telling the other groups how well it went.
Today was really important for all of us because we learned a lot about our CAP and our ET (English Tutoring) classes. After visiting our CAP school I think our entire delegation was excited to get started on the work! We still have to decide what will be most beneficial to the school because we don’t have time to do everything, which I know will be a hard decision for us to make. During our ET classes I think we were all struck by how passionate and engaged our students were, and even though things may not have gone perfectly, the students were willing to work with us, and we as teachers discovered what we need to improve on for tomorrow’s lesson. Both of our field trips were valuable because they both made us think about the impacts that NGOs can have on communities as well as the fact that change can’t happen overnight.
What I found most surprising today was the fact that my English class (which was intermediate level) were incredible good at English! My group and I were amazed at how well they were with speaking and how much more they knew than we thought.
There were a lot of things that made me proud of the delegation today, but I think the ET classes stand out the most. I know all of the teaching groups worked so hard to prep for their classes; we spent every meal today sitting with our groups for extra prep. We were all nervous for the first day, but the fact that all of us were so excited for the next day’s class afterwards tells me that we will continue to work hard to make our classes a success.
On our field trips today we met two very different people who were both inspiring in their own way. The teacher we met at Escuela Villa La Cruz showed how she continued to perservere through the hardships her school and her students have had to deal with and Benny Baker gave us an example of how a foreign NGO can help a community without sacrificing their culture.
Today being the Lider Del Dia I had to step out of my comfort zone because I can sometimes be very quiet and shy, so at first during my duties I was a little nervous and conscious but throughout the day I got more confident in taking responsibility and in leading the group, especially with the help of my GG Leaders, Indira, and Debbie. My group was also very helpful by being supportive and encouraging. I had a lot of fun introducing the rain clap and “cheers”, which acted as a reminder to drink water. Today I had the chance to learn more about myself by stepping up as leader. I learned that I was good at remembering the details, but more importantly to trust myself and to not be afraid of being loud, assertive, and to just take charge in general.
Best wishes from Jinotega to home,