The day started with an early morning and lots of sleepy faces, a drowsy walk to Aflreditos for a homey breakfast of pancakes and syrup, and a seminar from the energetic Helene and the comedic Matt.  Today was Global Business day, and our morning started with article reading and discussions following the interactions of foreign businesses with each other, and most importantly, with Nicaragua. We read about the Fair Trade Organizations, working to help the fair and equal exchange of products between the producer and consumer, analyzed our own consumer participation in the shifting global economy, and learned about La Casita, a small eco living sanctuary  we would visit later that day.

We traveled a short journey to one of Esteli’s fifty cigar factories. We saw the whole process of making cigars, from the bags of leaves, the fermentation,  the rolling, and the packaging. It was a wonderful lesson in the type of work that can be found in Esteli, and showed how a large portion of their economy runs on their exporting of cigars.

After the factory, we took a bus to La Casita, a four-acre piece of property owned by David Thompson and his wife, who have, for the past eighteen years run a small café in which all of the food is cooked and the land tended to by him, his wife, and eight other staff members. He has a forest in which he archives the plants and trees grown there, and a large nursery of thousands of different species of succulents, cacti, trees, flowers, and plants. He and his wife grow every mango, every fruit they sell in La Casita. They live an incredibly eco-conscious life, rarely using chemicals and never on the plants, and respecting the nature and wildlife that came with the land. It was an honor eating their organic food, playing on their children’s playground, the only one for miles around, getting a special tour of his land, and learning so much from his close relationship to living in nature. It also rained later into our trip, and we all got to experience the cooling tropical rain.

Today we began the first meeting of our Community Action Project (CAP) in which we began to brainstorm and plan out of project to give back to the community during our stay here in Esteli. Our conversations got heated and passionate as we all discussed how we could create sustainable development for our project, and it was inspiring to see how much we all fell in love with the idea of doing so much good for the small school we are going to be helping.

While some of us went to dinner tonight, others went with Henrietta to her regular dance class where we sweated and danced to loud music, shaking our butts and having a fun night! It was a great experience being in an outdoor setting with a hyper active and engaging dance teacher, and many other women.

We ended the night as we always do, with a nightly meeting and the beginning of the process of the next days activities. The next day would be the “Living on $1 a day” challenge which began that night with no electricity, light from only a single candle in our rooms, and showering from a bucket. The challenge continued from twenty four hours after the meeting.

Everyone had a magical day, seeing the workers in the factory carefully tending to each cigar made, and spending the afternoon at the beautiful La Casita in the first rain of our trip. Our adventures will only continue, and we are all so excited!DSC05513 DSC05492 DSC05422 DSC05360