My name is Greg Benavides and I was the Leader of the Day for our History/Fun Day.  Today we went to Leon Viejo or “Old Leon” and the Laguna de Asososca. Leon Viejo was the original city of Leon that was abandoned by the Spanish in 1610 due to a volcanic eruption. We trekked around the ruins of the city and heard the history behind the cities, its founders and the buildings that have been unearthed. Much of the city has yet to be fully excavated due to lack of funding, but what we could see was interesting. I feel that my peers and I got a better understanding of how the Spanish ruled area that was to become Nicaragua for 300 years. We learned stories of how the governors stifled rebellion and punished any form of insurrection. One of my highlights of the day was when we stopped at the spot of the old watchtower near the end of the tour. The watchtower was at the highest point of Leon Viejo and it had a magnificent view. From that hill, we could see much of Lake Managua, the second largest lake in Nicaragua, the volcano Momotombo and its smaller neighbor Momotombito.

After our tour, we took a small bus ride to the Laguna de Asososca. The Lagoon is in the crater remnant of an old volcano. After a steep hike up the mountain, back down into the crater and changing into our swim clothes behind a rock, we were able to take a nice relaxing swim in the lagoon. The water was a nice end to our hike; unfortunately, it was cut off a storm that quickly appeared over the mountains. It became a scramble to get out of the water and change back into our clothes. I thought that the hike back up the crater would bring down the spirit of the groups from the mini mudslides and torrential rain, but to my surprise it didn’t. Through my wet fogged up glasses, I saw smiles and heard laugher. Throughout the duration of the hike, no one fell or was hurt, and everyone had a good time.

We finished up the day with our American Food Night. Due to popular demand, we ate pizza at Antonio’s Pizza again. Being Leader of the Day was fun, but it was also challenging. We had several schedule changes throughout the day and I had to deal with the unexpected storm, but I had a great time and I give the best of wishes to our Leaders Sally and Hannah on $1 a Day.

P.S. Mom if you’re reading this, some of the group members and myself wanted to get some lemon bars when we get back to the States.