Buenos Dias citizens of the Globe! I´m Tess Cronin Palmer, I´m 17 and from Castro Valley, California and am currently dealing with a wicked sunburn. I was the leader on this hectic yet promising day. Here in Nicaragua we seem to have entered a time warp. The days are chalk full of activities yet we always wonder where the time has gone. As of today we have 4 days left in this beautiful country and all of us are breathing in every last breath of Nica air and keeping our eyes wide to take in every last sight; from the mangrove trees in the island natural reserve, to the waves crashing onto the sea shelled beaches; from the colorful houses crowding cobble stoned streets to the beautiful blue clouded skies that can open up and rain down cool clear water at any given time.

We arose from our not quite cool enough slumbers at 7:15 and by 8:00 had headed out to our usual breakfast of Gallo Pinto, eggs, a banana and a tortilla at Quiero Mas.

We started our day with the words of Chuck Palahnuik in our minds “All the effort in the world wont matter if you´re not inspired.” And the question; what is sustainability and why is it important to integrate it into development projects? These talking points where aimed at today because we were preparing for our community action project where we will be working at Los Ositos preschool in Leon. Our mission is to create inspiring, fun, helpful things that can be sustained under the tough product testing regime that young children so willingly provide.

I found that the quote of the day worked perfectly for what we needed to accomplish. Our mission of the day was to distribute the money that we donated between the 3 project groups; murals, chair construction/repairs and playground improvement. With everyone so passionate about their projects I thought it was going to be difficult to squeeze compromise and sacrifice out of this group of teenagers but was surprised, as I often am, by how well this group of 20 was more than willing to, in a timely matter, hammer out every detail from cost of goods (including tax) and transportation to who has what responsibilities and the priorities of the pre school teachers.  Our schedule provided time for us to buy materials before and after lunch but because of our efficient resolve we were able to buy most of our supplies before lunch so we had a good two and a half hours of free time for people to visit the cyber to check up on what’s going on at home or visit the supermarket in preparation for our last day with our English students tomorrow.

While the planned events of today are fulfilling and really will change how we live the rest of our lives, the best part of today was when it finally rained.

Rain. I mean real rain poured from the sky after a thunderous wind threw our windows open, frightening us onto our feet when we had been napping seconds before. As soon as we reached the window to close it against the bracing wind I could smell the rain coming, it´s one of the things I’ve most anticipated since the plane touched down. Rain in the Bay Area is nothing like this. It came down with a vengeance dousing anything that was in the open in seconds. I finally got the opportunity to don my rain poncho as I walked through the flooded area between our hostels ping pong table and washing station. It was magical; the water was coming so hard and fast that it shot off the roof 6 inches before gravity turned it towards the ground and the puddles that turned to pools underfoot in the blink of an eye.  The streets looked like they were flooded one minute, a man was standing under a doorway across the street but and after a few short minutes of complete and utter joy from finally feeling just a little bit cold, the rain lightened up, the water flowed and drained to other places and the man had left from his stoop, carrying on with his day to get where he was going.

Rain is life because we cease to exist without it. It´s  something that brings us together as humans because there is nobody in this world who cant benefit from free water that falls from the sky just when you think you cant survive a minute longer without it. Rain doesn’t stop the world from turning but it does seem to give us a different lens to look at life through, which is all we need sometimes to really see what we have merely been passing by. It helps us focus on the trees when we have been only seeing a forest.


Ad Astra Per Aspera

From Mud To Stars


-Tess Palmer