Okay, so first I want to thank the team for letting me have lunch and visit with my brother and his family during our layover in Atlanta. We only see each other once or twice a decade. I had a very nice visit. Thank you all. Second, I was disappointed that our arrival was delayed because of the weather, but lots of good things came out of the delay. I was able to repack everything so that I could take some things with me that I would have had to leave behind, such as the crayons, activity books for the coffee camp kids, and flash cards for activities along with all the gifts for my Nicaraguan family. So the delay worked out and I was able to visit with my brother! Getting back to Nicaragua and seeing the country’s progress and the work that has continued through Planting Hope is exciting. San Ramon and Matagalpa seem to be thriving despite the horrible economic conditions around the world. My family has expanded and improved their house, and the teens have graduated from high school and now go to college. One is studying to be a doctor and the other a news reporter. Everyone else seems gainfully employed, which was not the case a few short years ago. We had a wonderful welcome party with all the Host Mothers last night, and today we have spent the whole day in San Ramon. One activity was creating a life-size doll and stuffing it with fireworks for New Year’s Eve. At lunch today my family and I discussed our differences in farming methods, such as when and how we cut grass for hay and how we preserve it for future livestock consumption; how expensive land and livestock are in the US compared to Nicaragua, etc. It is interesting how they preserve cut grass. They cut the grass up, almost shredding it, bury it in a container or hole, compact it layer by layer, and then seal the container or cover the hole and let it ferment for about three weeks. At the end they remove the top layer and discard it and then store the rest for future consumption by milk cows. The grass is not brown and dry; it is moist and golden, “like my hair” according to Clark, the son of Estela. Hay preserved this way is supposed to be sweet and maintain its nutritional value better than the way we store hay in the US. In summary, it is great to be back to see how everything has progressed, and to continue old friendships. My Spanish has gotten a bit rusty, though, but it’s coming back.