Hello All!

Today was fun day, and the venue was El Lago Apanás! When we arrived at the lake it looked, to me, as if it was out of a book. Horses were grazing on the grassy field that stretched to the waters edge and the view of the mountains that surrounded the lake could not have been more picturesque. Please view the photographs of the lake, as my description is in no way sufficient.

Throughout the day we participated in activities planned by Apanás Tours. Apanás Tours is a local tour group that was started by Felipe. He told us one of the reasons he started the company was that Jinotega had never taken advantage of the economic benefit tourism offered (as the city and surrounding area mainly focuses on coffee production). Another major reason he mentioned was to “promote the beauty of Jinotega.” Felipe (the owner), Julio (the project coordination), and Endy (a coordinator) all made sure the activities ran smoothly.

The first half of the day focused on group teamwork exercises. We split into two groups: The YOLOs (pronounced cho-los by our GG Leader Alex) (Melissa, Vanessa, Tommy, Mark, Yasmin, Julia, Christian, Helen, Gabby, Lauren, and Thea), and the Big Bobbies (Alex, Janessa, Celeste, Meghan, Matt, Mika, Charissa, Diana, John D., John M., and Ayden). All the activities induced smiles and laughs, and brought out the competitive side of us all. The first round of the stick climbing (for lack of better description) went to the YOLOs, the second round went to the Big Bobbies. The land skiing (again, for lack of better description) went to the Big Bobbies. And, the YOLOs won the obstacle course. Therefore, we ended the competition in a tie.

The second half of the day is perfectly captured by the quote of the day:

“I know it is rainy and the sun is not sunny, but we can still have lots of fun that is funny.” –Dr. Seuss

After lunch we all got the chance to kayak in the rain. For many people it was their first time kayaking, and everyone loved it! The kayaks were rented from El Conejo Cooperative. This Cooperative was started by local fishermen with the goal to rent kayaks to tourists in order to create an additional source of income (unfortunately the lake has a lack of fish, pollution being a probable cause).

While waiting for the groups to finish kayaking people took shelter from the rain in the bus. Once the sun came our again the activities included playing fútbol, taking profile pictures, etc.

Once we returned to the hotel we saw the score of the world cup game, which I personally approved of (Go Germany!). We then had the chance to relax or spend our free time shopping in the market and/or eating ice cream.

In summary: we had fun, supported two local businesses, and spent quality time with friends.