“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” -Bruce Lee
Greetings from Merlin and Ryan on our 17th day here in Nicaragua. Throughout these two weeks we have had such amazing adventures and today topped it off. Today was the final day for our CAP (Community Action Project), as well as our presentation, and last English class. We woke up bright and early at 5:30 am. We then had a delicious breakfast, which consisted of eggs, bread, and last but not least, Gallo Pinto… We then headed to Escuela La Amistad and the real adventures began.
The group promptly split up into two separate groups, one for the main project and the other for the side project. Due to the surplus of money from yesterday, we had the opportunity to do even more for this community. The side project was codenamed “Beautification of the Courtyard.”
The first group, led by Ryan, began the day by starting from where we ended yesterday. Two groups were formed from the ten who decided to stay behind; one was in charge of the construction of the remaining two walls while the others were in charge of painting those walls. Things proceeded smoothly for the first hour or so; the frames were getting made on time and with the diligent work of the painters, these walls just magically turned into a nice sheen of white, but that was when the problem occurred. After all the walls were assembled, things slowed down dramatically for the construction group. The artists were scrambling to come up with the wall designs and actually drawing them took a while. If anything, the next group should remember to bring their pencils, because one just wasn’t enough. As the day went on, things picked up. The supplies finally came in and the group quickly got back on track.
The second group, led by Merlin, headed right away to go do some shopping. Six out of the sixteen of us traveled to Central Street and began buying the supplies we needed for the side project. We bought a handful of school supplies for the teachers, as well as recess equipment for the students, and flowers for the office. Shopping was not just fun but also very entertaining because we had a surprise up our sleeves for one of the Good Neighbors Leader of the Day. As soon as we arrived at the school we got started on helping our fellow Good Neighbors that worked on the moveable wall. Because of all the children playing on the courtyard, we could not get started with the repainting of the hopscotch. We started of by settling the beautiful flowers into pots. We then went inside to continue helping with the wall. Everyone was working diligently and effectively but we did run into some bumps on the road when the walls would not fit together as we had planned. With a lot of hard work, quite soon we were able to make them fit perfectly. We then finished the hopscotch and added some more color to the courtyard for the children of Escuela La Amistad to enjoy.
Although the CAP took a toll on our mind and body, we finally finished at 4:30. With the wonderful help from Alejandro and Jaime, we were able to work more efficiently as a group and get things done. When we finally presented the mural to the principal, she was grateful for our what we have done and thankful for the moments shared, despite the unrecognizable aftermath of the classroom.
We headed back home and stalled Ryan for a little while. We made him carry the huge jug of water up the many stairs. As soon as he entered, he got the surprise of his life. There was cake on a table, streamers saying “Feliz Cumpleaños,” and everyone was gathered around the table to sing happy birthday to Ryan. The look on his face was priceless. We then enjoyed a very Nicaraguan version of an American dinner: cheeseburgers with fries, and, of course some delicious cake.
After dinner, we headed down to the school for our final tutoring session. Instead of teaching them any practical skills on the last day, we decided to host the first annual Good Neighbors Talent Show. We were glad that everybody enjoyed themselves because we definitely didn’t want to leave them with a sad last memory. Not only did we teach our students, but also they taught us. One of Merlin’s students gave her, Hannah, and Jackie presents. Those memories are the ones we will always cherish because we know we have impacted someone’s life.
To end our night, we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hostel. Once at our hostel we started our nightly meeting and passed the torch onto the lovely Shannon.