When I committed to this trip, I had vague expectations of what was in store. I expected a lot of Spanish, a homestay, and rice and beans. I also expected heat, infected water, and unsafe food. I had an idea of the curriculum and a flawed idea of the type of people I’d be traveling with.
None of my expectations were remotely close to the reality of this trip. Even my first impression of everyone wasn’t accurate. On the second day of the trip, we wrote a note to ourselves to read at the end of the trip and we read them yesterday morning. I wrote mine on what I thought of all my fellow travelers at the time. This has changed dramatically over the course of the trip. In the beginning of the trip, we began to grow closer through card games and late night discussions. We learned about each other’s backgrounds and personalities.
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Halfway through the trip, we started telling life stories after dark by candlelight. Each person shared their story and opened up in their own way over the past two weeks. I never expected that the majority of us would have separated parents, or even that most of us wouldn’t have cable. But statistics could never capture all our unique traits, subtleties, and life experiences that make us who we are.
This has been the longest amount of time I’ve lived with a group of people other than my family, and they have become a second faua mily to me. We’ve connected through shared moments and bonded over the challenges we’ve overcome.
During our morning meeting today, we were asked what we’ll miss most about Nicaragua and everyone mentioned the friends we have made, both in the group and from the communities we’ve visited. Every experience and connection I have made here, especially with my group members, has profoundly impacted me in ways I’m not sure I’ll ever fully realize.
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The Where There Be Dragons Summer 2016 Nicaragua: Community in Action Course has been an adventure that we’ll never forget.