Hello, everyone! I, Mikaylah, was the leader of “Fun Day”, and it lived up to all the expectations that you would have when thinking of a fun day. Part of the morning routine for each leader of the day is to wake up students. This morning, I only had to wake up the girls in my room because everyone else was awake. That was the start of the most easy-going day we have had here.
Today’s activities consisted of three things: going on a tour of a chocolate factory, swimming in a lagoon park, and our English tutoring classes.

We had a 15-minute bus ride to a local cocao factory called Castilo del Cacao. When we arrived, the scenery was beautiful. There were trees and plants everywhere (which is very typical here in Nicaragua) and also paintings of cacao trees, butterflies, and humming birds. The man who was showing us around had a lot to say about his candy bars. Every ingredient is natural. They make their chocolate with only two ingredients- cacao and sugar. Then they add a few other small ingredients such as cashew nuts, roasted cacao nuts, rum, etc. We also learned that white chocolate is actually just candy, sugar and animal fats (sorry if I might have ruined it for white chocolate lovers).

After we learned a few facts about chocolate, we started the tour. We had to put these ridiculous looking caps and face masks on. Then we saw the machines they use to liquefy the chocolate. We then got to taste test some of the hard and liquid chocolate. We also tried the tea and coffee, which was bitter without adding the sugar and liquid chocolate, but it was still delicious. As a result of our new-found love for “clean” chocolate, we almost bought them out of chocolate bars.

Our second trip today was to a water resort called laguna de San Marin. Our first thought was, “Wow this is a lot different from what we experienced yesterday.” (experiencing living in poverty) When you first walk up to the resort, there were these bird -like seats made out of tires. The resort was amazing. There was a huge lagoon, with floaty sculptures that we could all climb on. There was also trampolines, paddle boards, boats, and many other fun activities. It was hard not to think of how much fun the kids from yesterday would have if they got the same opportunity as we have today. Overall, I think everyone had a really nice time and got to relax quite a bit. Also, the water felt super refreshing.

Our last activity of the day was tutoring our students. My class is the advanced English class, so we have really strong conversations with them. Today we went over singular words that turn plural with s, es, ies, whole word change, and no change. One thing that really made me smile was one of the boys in my class drew a really unique picture of a girl who looked very similar to me, but patterned. They are a really easy group to get along with and they just soak up the information we give them. Once we ran out of things on our schedule, we played hangman and I think they really got into it. It makes me happy to think we are making a difference in their world. Little do they know they are impacting our lives just as much as we are impacting their lives.

I have had such an outstanding experience here so far and am excited for what has yet to come. Even throughout some challenges, our group of amazing young adults has learned to come together and appreciate all of the little things in life. This trip is really helping me grow as a person, a community member, a friend, and a traveler. Even though I am excited to hug my family again, I do not want this to end, I don’t want to leave my new friends, and I don’t want to miss the amazing views of the beautiful Nicaragua. Thank you so much to all of the leaders here, they are making the trip perfect and we all love you very much.