Greetings from your exhausted, muddy, post-sweaty children. Today was well spent climbing steep and slippery hills of Selva Negra, Matagalpa. Safely led by our first El Líder Del Día (in this case Las)!! :)) Mia and Kelly (who are roommates by the way). Being the leaders was challenging but we had plenty of guidance from Brian, Mel, and Lorena (Lauren). The hardest part was being heard by our peers. It took a little time to get everyone quiet but they all listened attentively when they finally did. Another part of being a leader that we both need to work on is delegating tasks. But being able to easily work together gave us the advantage to have a smooth day.
We began our day at 5:45 am and woke everyone up at six to get ready for breakfast at our favorite comedor, Buffet Estelí. After our usual rice, beans, and plantains, we caught a scenic bus ride to Selva Negra. Selva Negra is a resort and sustainable coffee farm in the mountains in Matagalpa! We spent the day hiking on the various trails ranging in difficulty. Fountain of Youth Trail, for those who want a challenge, Peter & Helen, for those who want an intermediate level, and Romántico, for those who enjoy the scenic route.
The resort itself was built in 1975 by Eddy and Mausi Kuhl who come from five generations of coffee planters. The farm itself began to flourish with their German ancestors in the late 1800s. Because of their origins, the resort is influenced by the Black Forest in Germany.
The most inspiring person we met today was Eddy Kuhl. He was incredibly welcoming to us and spoke with a few us for an hour. He gave us a lot of advice and facts about the history of not only the lodge but about his life in general and other historical figures. Eddy even asked to email him and add him on Facebook! He reminded us of Robin Williams because he was so eccentric.
Being able to adventure around this resort gave us all the opportunity to be the free and robust teenagers we are. It was a surprising moment to see all of us pushing each other and ourselves to get to the top. However, obstacles came in our way before we became champions of Selva Negra. Nino was a great source of entertainment when constantly tripping and falling over the simplest rocks and branches. Matt was taken off guard when he was stung by a wasp (but he’s fine :)). And we finished off strong with Josué following and making sure we were all safe from the back of the group. Being proud of every one, we were able to knit closer bonds when literally catching each other when we fell.
We learned about another aspect of being a responsible global citizen when our question of the day asked “Do you think it is possible to preserve tourist areas while using them to make profit?” The answer is that the exploitation of the natural world only exists by the abuse of profits made from the organization. In this case, the entrance fee is used for the enhancement of the farm and the experience of those visiting.
We are all having an amazing first week and we love you lots at home!!
The Inaugural Leaders of the Day,
-Kelly and Mia <3