Nothing says good morning like a 4:45 AM wake up call. (Or 4:15 if you’re the lucky leader of the day.) And nothing shows stepping outside your comfort zone like milking a cow or a goat for the first time ever. As the previous details may hint, today was second and last reality challenge of the trip: working like a local day. Starting early in the morning was just one of the facets of daily life of many Nicaraguans. We embarked on a one hour scenic drive to La Garnacha, a beautiful, mountainside farm outside of Estelí. Filled with pancakes and loud music, perfect to sing along to, the bus ride was over before we knew it. Upon reaching La Garnacha, we met the owner, Don Pablo, and he talked about the farm’s history and relationship with the government. La Garnacha is a natural reserve and it also has a super cute gift shop where they sell artisan trinkets and farm grown/made products.
After talking to Don Pablo, we split into two groups. One group went to go milk cows (vacas) and the other groups went to milk goats (cabras). Despite the slight protest and kicks (from the animals and students), the overall experience went really smoothly thanks to the guidance from super cool local farmers.
Afterward, we went to the vista point of La Garnacha and learned more about all the active volcanoes in the area and all the effects they had on all the neighboring communities. The fun didn’t stop there!!! The rest of the day was filled with more activities like gathering food for the goats, taking out weeds to clear a field for future crops, going over the process of coffee production, and, last but not least, gathering the poop from under the goat coop to make compost. Working on the farm was a really fulfilling start to our day and it gave great insight into the daily working life of many farmers.
It was truly one of the highlights of the trip for many of us and it helped us gain more of an appreciation for not only culture in Nicaragua and the rest of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean who face similar challenges. It was also amazing to see our delegation push ourselves and really get into the experience and make the most of it all. Overall, it was a rocking and swell day filled with unique and interesting experiences.
“Peace out from Estelí 1A, later”