Today, I had a hard time getting up due to the 4 am wake up from the day before and as a leader for today, I had to wake up early again because as leader your job is to wake everyone else up.  After a long and painful process of forcing myself up, I was up and ready to report for duty. Let me say that it is hard to be with your friends one day and then be the leader of them the next day.  I’ts hard because nobody wants to tell their friends what to do and trying not to sound bossy at the same time. Taking the role of a leader and having so much responsibility so suddenly  is a load on the back and during the time of being leader I couldn’t help but wonder…Is this what my teachers back in BCS felt when they tried to capture a class of 20+ kids and try to connect with all of them at the same time? If so consider me a new man because that experience has opened my third eye on the problems of being a teacher but also trying to be a respected one at the same time.

To get on the schedule we started with breakfast. After breakfast we had our usual seminar. Today’s seminar was about global business and about the idea of fair trade. After the seminar we went to a tobacco factory and learned about the process of tobacco, which by the way is a long process, and the heavy smell of tobacco would make most of our group quit the job if they were to work there. Surprisingly, the tobacco industry requires a lot of skill, not just simple brute-like thinking. Tending to the tobacco leaves requires the caretakers’ undivided attention as they need to be constantly kept wet; dry leaves are too brittle to make the cigar.  It also takes skill to make the roll of the cigar, having to cut specific shapes and roll it a certain way. It made me go crazy just imagining myself in that position. Being skilled in poetry writing would do no justice for me in the tobacco factory.

After that we headed back to the hostel to have a presentation on our CAP project, which I think went successfully using the symbol of Esteli (who oddly looks like the android guy with ears and a tail) as a means to promote recycling. Having gotten the supply list and having all our questions answered, people were exhausted from the presentation, which gave me somewhat mind cringing flashbacks of PBAT week…I don’t wanna go back there…

We set off again to La Casita, getting a ride from our private bus and everyone’s favorite bus driver who we call “The bus driver.” We make our way to La Casita which means little house in Spanish. It is a small farm run by a Scottish man named David Thompson, who reminded many of the BCS kids of our teacher named Scott because of his wide views of the world and big name business. David is an inspiring man who made his farm of 4 arces out of 99% organic stuff minimizing the use of pesticides and other things like that. He talked about what it was like building his farm and how he has been working in it for 19 years. It was a hard experience because of the fact that he took extra time and worked extra hard to make his farm almost 100% organic. He also told us about how big name businesses that are in the same category as David’s farm, have used the old ways of harvesting plants using heavy chemicals and forever ruining the soil.  It made us shift our thoughts from Nicaragua to a more global scale, as we reflected on the environment and how our actions of heavy chemical use can affect our children for future generations to come.

After the long and interesting conversation with David we got to eat some of the stuff that his farm provided to us, some of which were things like bread and honey, banana milkshakes, hot cocoa, coffee and so much more. The bread came with a plate of honey filled with bees and I happily shared my honey with the bees. As the bees and I ate the honey together, I also got to eat with the group… some bonding time with my fellow classmates was well needed. After this experience, we all said our goodbyes to probably one of the best farms we will ever see and headed back to the hostel where the duties of the leader was lifted off my back and I felt like a new man again. Ending the day with happy thoughts on everyone’s mind.

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