For optimal experience, please listen to this song selected by Tommy while perusing this blog post.

Hello friends, family, Rufus, and cacti. Today  we officially began our CAP project: improving the infrastructure of the garden at Escuela Santa Cruz and renovating the outside of one of their classrooms with some snazzy murals. After a mildly early wake up call at 6 am, we had gallo pinto (what a surprise)  for breakfast and reenacted Pitch Perfect with a singing competition energizer. Once Ena and squad came back from their shopping excursion with some more building materials, we headed to Escuela Santa Cruz for the first time. The fluent Spanish speakers presented our plans to the leaders of Familias Unidas, Birmania and Luz; a small crowd of excited children (aka our “Unpaid Child Interns”); and two teachers, Victor and Aura. The children aided us in determining optimal shrubbery and helped us sand planks of wood for our planter boxes and compost box (shout out to Nathan for teaching us – Gaëlle and Tommy – about plant things, compost, and sustainability). By the end of the day, the squad had de-weeded and leveled out the garden, built and painted 2 out of 5 planter boxes, and planted some lettuce and peppers. We also cleaned and primed one of the exterior classroom walls and painted the background for one of our planned and approved murals. The schoolchildren got really hyped up when we opened the paint cans to start working, and also worked vigorously in the garden. Amusingly, they were super chill with the bugs and worms (lombrises) while most of us Teenage Americans™ were freaked out by them. During lunch it started pouring (lol classic Nicaragua) but luckily it exposed more beneficial, soil-aerating worms in the garden and made the soil easy to manipulate. After a minor farce, our bus was mildly trapped in mud and had some technical difficulties, we emerged victorious and were on our way back to Hostel Tomabu for a quick wardrobe change before tutoring. Shout out to the hostel staff for insisting on cleaning our muddy shoes for us, you’re the best, thanks so much. We then headed to what we thought would be a normal tutoring session, but unbeknownst to us, the Nicaraguan climate was feeling angsty. With less than fifteen minutes left in the class period, a monsoon struck, or at least it felt that way to us drought-accustomed Californians. The monsoon vibe was only fueled by the din caused by the rain hitting the roof, and even our local English pupils were reluctant to brave the rain for their journeys home. After our roller coaster of a day, we had a relatively chill dinner and headed back to the hostel for the nightly meeting and sleep.

P.S. We read the blog comments every night and it is always very amusing. Please like and comment, and remember to subscribe (joke).

Shout out from Tommy out to Olga, Tom, and Elizabeth, and Rufus. I miss you guys and I can’t wait to be back home to see all of you and eat all my favorite foods (I request mac n cheese when I arrive home from the airport). Also, new rule, no rice and beans for a month.

Maman et Papa: J’espere que vous parlez a mes plantes, que tout le monde se sent bien, et que les choses sont pas trop wild. Si vous voulez manger du bok choy, fait le avant que je rentre stp.