May 13, 2008
Wow! This has been great! My host family is cool; my mom is a baker and my dad a carpenter. The three children are all older then me but there are two granddaughters that are really cute. One is 6, the other3, Salina and Marcella. They are really high energy and enjoy singing while jumping up and down. They have taken to me fast and give me hugs whenever I come in. The first day tour around San Ramon was cool, we played soccer at the high school, visited la Casa de Materna and took a tour around town.
The group seems to be holding up well, a little language trouble but nothing too bad. I really like the team dynamics. I can’t remember being this tired in a while so I’m off to bed. Hasta la mañana!
May 13, 2008
Moriah A. Gavrish
For some the last 48 hours may seem like a whirlwind of crazy travel, but for me the last week – actually make that the last 4 months – has been the adventure of a lifetime. As many people know, I’ve spent the last 4 months volunteering in Tanzania. I only returned home last Tuesday to make the quick turn around to repack my bags and meet up with the team at Norwich on Sunday night.
I really came into this trip with no expectations because I never really had time to mentally prepare myself for this trip during my time in Tanzania. I’m in a unique position because, although I am Norwich alum, I am basically the newbie to the group since I missed out on much of the trip planning during the spring semester.
Despite mixed emotions about leaving Tanzania, I am thrilled to be here in Nicaragua and even more thrilled to be reunited with my Norwich Family! The language barrier is certainly just that, but I know it’s part of the experience. Staying with a host family is also new to me, but I’m enjoying it. I just wish I would stop trying to speak Swahili to my host family! I know this is just the beginning of another amazing NU VISIONS Abroad trip!!
May 13, 2008
We arrived in country almost twenty-four hours ago. The long trip was tiring, and we have been busy today, but despite that and the hot sun I am beginning to feel somewhat rested after a long school year.
I have been anticipating this trip since over a year ago when I made my first visit to Nicaragua. And my Nicaraguan family has been anticipating my return and is happy to have me back. They say that next time I should come for a year. The students are having an interesting time trying out their limited Spanish communication skills and Rosa will prove to be a great help to the group.
Today’s soccer match between the Norwich Students and the San Ramon schoolboys was a real hit. One of Estella Salmeron´s grandsons says that the Norwich students aren’t that good at soccer. Our star player was Jose, our Panamanian staff member.
It is good to be reunited with friends and to enjoy the more relaxed pace of life in Nicaragua!
May 13, 2008
My impression of Nicaragua has definitely changed since I arrived here. Nicaragua is a beautiful country with a lot of challenges. Like many other countries in Central America they are experiencing the consequences of high gas prices, which consequently affects food prices and workers.
San Ramon is a beautiful town full of wonderful people. My host family is a great and loveable family. Doña Nelly´s Restaurant is the place to eat in San Ramon and I am lucky to have them as my family in Nicaragua. (There cooking is amazing!)
Being from Panama, I thought that I knew how difficult it is to live in a third world country, but obviously I was wrong. In Panama I live in a fairly comfortable life. In towns like San Ramon, people struggle everyday to survive and I’m so lucky and grateful that I can bring some light to there life.
May 13, 2008
Today is our first day in Nicaragua. I had breakfast with my host family this morning, which was pretty interesting considering the language barrier. I’m a little concerned about our inability to communicate. But, we’re all having dinner together tonight, so at least there will be a few translators at dinner.
We just finished our tour of San Ramon. We are now having our first team meeting and comparing our families and houses. Some people have no electricity or running water, where as others has cable and showers. It’s interesting to see from one house to the next, the differences in the quality of the houses.
I am hoping to learn some Spanish from my host family, while utilizing Rosa and Jose’s Spanish skills. I am also hoping to bring back a new appreciation for the way I live.
I am looking forward to trying some new foods, possibly tonight at dinner. Our meeting is closing up, so we’re headed to a big dinner with all of our host families at Shiel’s. I’m not sure how big this house it, so things could get interesting!
May 13, 2008
I am totally stoked. I love everything that we have done and the enviornment is amazing. I am having an awesome time with my host family (even though they do not speak English). I have had an interesting first day with my family, but I’m learning more Spanish and communicating a little better so that is easing things a little. The only problem I am having in caffeine headaches. (I am a horrible drinker when it comes to beverages), because I love caffeine and my host family hasn’t served me any; but I’m overcoming and I believe I’ll be fine in a couple of days. I think the group is getting along very well and it looks like we will have a successful trip.
May 13, 2008
Well we’ve almost been in country for 24 hours – and so far it’s so good! Our journey here yesterday went pleasantly smooth. No one lost a passport, we didn’t have any luggage go missing, and so far no one is especially sick!
As soon as we departed the plane last night in Managua, we went through customs (again no problems), picked up all our luggage and waited for Beth, Mercedes, and Kris to pick us up at the airport.
After a 2½ event free bus ride, we were dropped off in front of Mercedes house where we proceeded to separate out our personal bags from the donations bags we brought. Most of our host families were there ready for us despite our relatively late arrival. As soon as we were given revised schedule of the upcoming weeks activities we were greeted by our host families and escorted back to what we’ll refer to as ‘home’ for the next couple weeks.
Personally, I feel very fortunate to have matched up with my host family: Margarita and Alvaro are my host parents even though Margarita is actually a year younger than me, and I even have two younger brother and a sister: Enrique (13), Melvin (12), and Milagis de Fatima or “Millie” as she likes to be called!
My brother helped me right away offering to carry my bags while Margarita and Alvaro showed me my bedroom and around the house. I admit I was pretty elated when I realized we had a shower and toilet with running water – no roughing it here! My bed was even decked out with mosquito netting!
After a fairly restful nights sleep, I awoke this morning feeling excited, but a little under the weather. However, after a quick and brisk shower, a delicious breakfast prepared for me by Margarita and some medicine, I was ready for our first full day here in San Ramon.
This morning after a little scare with Fabio’s (Nicole Fabbo) tardiness to our 9am meeting at Mercedes we headed up on foot to the local secondary school where we met some 1st, 2nd, and 5th year students and helped them practice there English. Some of our team members even challenged the schoolboys in a friendly game of ‘football’. I’m pretty sure our guys lost, but with Chris’ superb goalie skills and Jose leading our offence we didn’t do too badly!
As for right now each of us are at our own home stays eating lunch. After we meet up at 2pm at Mercedes, we’ll probably go through the donations and then visit the Casa de Materna before our first team meeting since our departure and a group meal. Until it’s my turn again to journal…. Nicolina!
May 12, 2008
I am so excited for this trip! I can’t believe I will be in Nicaragua today. After all the preparation that has gone into the trip so far it just never seemed like today was going to get here. the day is going to take forever to get there. But it will so be worth it. I just honestly can’t wait to get there. At this point I am just so anxious. This trip is going to be amazing the only thing that is going to stink is not showering everyday. Will write again soon!
May 11, 2008
Wow, I can’t believe we are all leaving to go to Nicaragua in the next three hours, that’s enough time for me to play twister and drink a monster energy drink. I can’t wait to go to Nicaragua, learn the culture and pretty much understand the policies and regulations of Nicaraguan society. This afternoon we went to Wal-Mart to get last minute personal items. The one thing we forgot to get was toilet paper and we didn’t realize until we were back to the campus that we forgot it. But fortunately one of the other team members had tons and loads of it so we are depending on that.
May 11, 2008
It is 11:15pm the night before we leave. We went to dinner at Applebee’s as a team earlier and are now chilling in the dorm until our departure time of 2:30am. There is a heated game of twister going on in our room. Kailey, Shiel, Gregg, and Andrew are putting on a hilarious display of flexibility, (digital photos taken for blackmail). The anticipation for the trip has most of the group unable to sleep at all tonight. I am expecting this trip to be an amazing experience. I have never traveled outside of the country before and am not sure what to expect at this point. I hope to bring my experiences back to the university especially to the education club. Angela just entered the room and said “interesting” a very accurate description of the events at this point. Well I think it is time to grab some sleep. Until next time…
April 1, 2008
Hola! Como esta? That’s about the extent to my speaking Spanish. Although I took two years in high school and one in my freshman year of college, I really can’t remember all that much, granted it’s been about two years since my lat course. I think the language barrier is really my only huge concern. This past year has been flying by, I cannot believe our send off is in two weeks! My first year here at Norwich has been amazing, filled with tons of community service, and that’s why I cannot wait until we get to Nicaragua and I get to serve there! My only other concern is the fact that I have a few food allergies, but I’m sure that my host family has already been made aware of them. I know that this is going to be a life changing experience and I just can’t with for it to start. I really hope that the Norwich community reads this blog and enjoys it. Hopefully this will help to get more interest in involvement in volunteering internationally and nationally. These next 6 weeks are going to fly by and I am so excited about the fact that they are. Sooner then I think I am going to be on a plane flying to Nicaragua and I can’t wait!! Viva Nicaragua!!!
March 20, 2008
I cannot wait until I go to Nicaragua. I have never been in South America especially in Nicaragua, and I just want to learn more about Nicaraguan culture and its people. Although I already speak Spanish and know about Latin American culture, it will be very interesting to know how these people interact with each other and other ways of living. One more thing that I hope to see in my trip to Nicaragua is its historic places and their sites. It will be very interesting to learn how the ancient people lived many years, and from that experience appreciate the fact that there is another side of the world that is worth visiting and getting more info on about their culture. As a college student and as a young adult, it’s important to learn about other people so when we go out in the real world we know how to handle and deal with people that have different views then our own. I can’t wait until I go to Nicaragua!!
March 16, 2008
I can’t wait to travel to Nicaragua! This is going to be my second time traveling to South America and I am hoping it will be as much of an awesome as the last one. I am really excited about learning different things about Nicaraguan culture through the research projects and can’t wait to experience it in country. I think we have a great group of people going on this trip and hope we can do a lot of good for the community we will be staying in. I really don’t have many expectations or concerns for this trip. I try to keep an open mind on these kinds of trips because you tend to get more out of them. As I have a lot of service experience, I have learned not to worry about too many things and let the trip run its course. I hope that my past service experience will help me in relating to the people of Nicaragua and that through this trip we are able to build a lasting bond between the people of Nicaragua, planting hope, and the students of Norwich University so that trips like this are possible in the future. One of my favorite things about traveling and experiencing new culture is trying all the cultural foods. It seems that both Shiel and Andrew also share this excitement. I am looking forward to the fresh fruit and the traditional cultural dishes cooked by my home stay family. An important part about service trips like this is what you bring back home from the trip. Besides the pictures and a few souvenirs, I am hoping to bring back a good story to share with everyone in the Norwich Community as well as my hometown. Raising awareness back home is just as important as the actual service itself, and I hope that by the stories that I am able to tell, I can encourage more people to go do service in third-world countries or even in our own country.
March 1, 2008
I am very excited about heading out, it’s coming up very soon and I feel like I have so much to do, and so little time. I cannot wait to meet my home stay family and learn about their culture and form close bonds. I am also excited to get to know everyone in the group, everyone seems really n ice and outgoing. I have never traveled to Nicaragua before or anywhere in that area so it is going to be a totally new experience for me. I expect that the families will be very welcoming as with the entire community. I want to be able to help as best I can! I can’t wait to hike and explore the country and swim in the beautiful blue waters. I want to teach yoga and share our culture but also learn about the Nicaraguan culture and bring back what I learn and share with my friends and family. I’m a little worried about being a vegetarian, but I’m sure it will be okay. I want to be able to learn about a different way of life, a simpler way of life. It may be hard to pack everything in one/two bags but as Nicole said “think of it as an adventure,” so that’s the way I am going to look at it, an adventure. I want to return to Vermont with a new view on life, as in less materialistic and more appreciative of life minus the “extras”. I think that it is very important that we share our experience with the Norwich community. Traveling is such a great thing and college is one of the best times to do so. NUVA is an exciting program because we get to volunteer and help those in need while getting to know our peers. Being a transfer student, I am very excited to get to know everyone! I am really interested about this guinea pig thing that Andrew wrote about, but I have no intentions of trying any, being a vegetarian and all. I hope that a wide range of people will read the blog; I want Norwich students to know that these opportunities are out there, but also want the Northfield community to take advantage of the blog so that they will continue to support such trips. I originally signed up for this trip because when I graduate I want to travel the world and volunteer, and work for Doctors without Borders and spend time in the Peace Corps, and possibly start my own organization. I cannot wait to leave! It is going to be an amazing experience that I know I will carry with me entire life!
February 28, 2008
I expect that this trip is going to be a life changing experience, not just for me but also for everyone in the group. I am very happy to have the opportunity to help these Nicaraguan people. I am hopeful that my skills and experiences will be able to help these people and perhaps give them a broader view of the world and the people in it. I expect that the people will be very welcoming to our group, as well as excited to have us to help and share our knowledge. Going into this trip I feel very optimistic, I don’t have any real fears or concerns. One thing that I am very excited about is the opportunity to try new and hopefully exotic foods. As a culinary enthusiast what peaked my interest about Nicaragua was guinea pigs. I have been told that they are a South American deliquesce and I am very excited to try some. I hope that the experience I have on this trip will be with me for a lifetime and that this trip helps me to gain a greater view of the world. I can’t wait to share my experiences with all my friends and family when I return.