Dear diary,

So it all started on July 10,2015, in Granada, Nicaragua. It was the fourth day of the trip, this is how it went down. As leader of the day, I woke everyone up at 6am since we only had an hour to change and get ready. When it was finally 7, our coordinators Ena and Mac came to guide us to our breakfast location, el comedor la favorita. The glimpses, including me, ate wonderful tasty breakfast with consisted of huevos rancheros and sausage. We had an academic seminar which gave us a better understanding of aiding countries in a positive way or bad way. We were separated into two groups and presented a skit that explained the pros and cons of helping other countries which gave us a laugh and it was educational at the same time.

After the seminar, we took a VIP bus to the school where we will be doing our community action project. Today was a day of discovery. We discussed ways to make students feel safe and happy being at school. The school has many needs, including; windows, playground, benches and areasnto be planted. We as a group haven’t decided what to do since we are on a budget and we  have to make something that impacts the school in a good way. We couldn’t enter the school since the gates were closed, but we looked at the school from a distance. After this we took our VIP bus to a special place, called Hotel con Corazon. What made this hotel so unique is that it is a non-profit hotel, they use the extra money they receive to give scholarships to students and provide extended learning opportunities for local elementary students as well as supporting secondary schools.  We took a couple of group selfies in the front of the hotel.

After saying our good byes, we walked to  the Café de las Sonrisas, a place that supports workers of special needs.  the owner and guest speaker was the one the only Tio Antonio who shared an inspiring story about how he fell in love with Nicaragua and how he wanted to help individuals who are less able. So he opened a restaurant/hammock factory that employs individuals with different handicaps. There, we ate delicious burritos, drank delicious coffee and ate a great banana dessert served to us by deaf workers. After lunch, we were given ear plugs and experienced what it was like to be deaf. Then we broke up into groups and explored the factory. We added to the never ending hammock, worked on the looms and learned how to spell our names using sign language.  We went back to the hostel to prepare for our first English tutoring class. Then we walked to the school, which sadly was closed as the students are on break.  So we went to the hostel and played “questions in a hat” to get to know each other, which I can personally say helped our group bond. Then we  did some relaxation exercises and  hugged individually as a family and then a group hug. From there we prepared to go to dinner, and enjoyed hamburgers with french fries. Yummy food for my tummy as people said back in the good old days.

P.S. From Truong- Thanks Vivian for checking up, Granada’s super fun. Mom, Dad and Kimberly, I’m calling tomorrow so be near your phones.

From: Araceli Riestra

Gustavo Velazquez mom. Hola Gustavo me da gusto que te la Estes pasando muy bien con tus  compañeros y que Estes conociendo la costumbres y cultura de Nicaragua.  Disfruta tu estancia hijo. De tu mamà que te quiere muchisimo. Cuidate mucho hijo. 😀