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Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011


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A very special group of teenagers left Nicaragua this morning at 7:30am. While this event perhaps did not make national news, for the two of us remaining here the absence could not feel more significant.

Their flight to Miami was without any complications or delays. Any minute now they should be arriving to the U.S. We're pretty sure there'll be 10 happy families out there, anxious to welcome them home. Here, we already feel their lacking.

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Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

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And they're off!

Dhyana Kuhl,Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

Description

A very special group of teenagers left Nicaragua this morning at 7:30am. While this event perhaps did not make national news, for the two of us remaining here the absence could not feel more significant. Their flight to Miami was without any complications or delays. Any minute now they should be arriving to the U.S. […]

Posted On

07/28/11

Author

Dhyana Kuhl

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I’m in a beautiful place right now; physically I’m on the balcony of our latest hostel, where Gemma Amilia and I are sharing a room, which is like a little sky scraper in Estii, the small city where we are spending tonight before heading to Miraflora tomorrow.

The balcony lines up with all the city roofs and I can’t help be feel like I could jump across them all, travel ‘rusted tin roof’ and meet the horizon--mountains and the dusk sky. Birds sing, and the mountain breeze is cold and comforting. Everything right now makes me happy. I’m really just happy, and that’s why I feel like I’m in a beautiful place. I could have been here a month ago and I know that now wouldn’t have been half as beautiful. The breeze would not have been comforting, and the tin roofs would not have reminded me of the rain that poured down on them, white noise, that nightly lullaby the first few weeks of the trip.

Physically I feel pure. I feel like I have had time to remove myself from the desises of the developed world. Desises and addiction I had without knowing- they had left me weak. Unable to happily function without them. Internet, hot water, an oven, a washing machine, needs, wants, a variety of food, space, my own room, things, things, things… that we don’t need! Mentally I finally feel present. I feel like I can be a little kid again, like I have space to question my own dreams and desires. Removing the physically needs has allowed space for me to not be pulled away from the now. I feel removed from it all. Like I’m finally living Adoladie’s wise words of enjoying the now, and trusting that everything happens as it’s supposed to.

I love the calm that I feel now, the happiness, the childlike curiosity. I’m looking forward to going home, and looking around and understand how much I really have. I intend to apply and try to maintain in the same mind state Im in now. I want to go home and reintroduce myself to my mother, and thank her. I really have never felt like I have understood enough how lucky I am, and I have never thanked her properly for what she has given me… the ability to live this moment.

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Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

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Beautiful Place

Eliah English,Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

Description

I’m in a beautiful place right now; physically I’m on the balcony of our latest hostel, where Gemma Amilia and I are sharing a room, which is like a little sky scraper in Estii, the small city where we are spending tonight before heading to Miraflora tomorrow. The balcony lines up with all the city […]

Posted On

07/23/11

Author

Eliah English

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After touching down in Managua, my thoughts toward the upcoming trip were less than ecstatic. Following my arrival home from boarding school, I had been informed by my parents that I was being sent on a trip to Nicaragua for ¨an experience of a lifetime.¨ Yet as we drove to our first hostel, the only thing on my mind was the day I got back on the plane to go home. Now as our trip winds down to a close, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed the experience that my parents wished for me to have. From the first day of waiting on the ferry, to standing in the back of a flatbed truck for an hour and a half, my trip has been nothing short of amazing. From the home stays to the nights spent in cheap hostels, each day presented a new exciting situation. The members of the group who at first were complete strangers are now close friends. I once remember sitting on a ferry complaining to my soon to be friend Peyton about the length of this trip, now I can say that I truly enjoyed each day and the eye opening experiences that it brought. Soon I will have fallen back into my daily routine, yet I will always have the memories of my four week stay in Nicaragua.

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Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

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Reflections

Marcus Radford Klotz III,Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

Description

After touching down in Managua, my thoughts toward the upcoming trip were less than ecstatic. Following my arrival home from boarding school, I had been informed by my parents that I was being sent on a trip to Nicaragua for ¨an experience of a lifetime.¨ Yet as we drove to our first hostel, the only […]

Posted On

07/22/11

Author

Marcus Radford Klotz III

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“I guess it’s hard to believe how time marches on so quickly.”

Having only 5 days left in Nicaragua, no one including myself is looking forward to the end. These last few days have been amazing. El Lagartillo, a town high up in the mountains, where we were for the last week, was probably the most exciting part of my trip. Yomar, my Spanish teacher, was so helpful in teaching me the history of Nicaragua and of course verb conjugacions. He actually was my homestay brother and I really enjoyed his presence. He goes to the University in Leon, loves Literature and is majoring in the subject. By going to beautiful mountain-top views and waterfalls, learning Spanish with Yomar was honestly a blast. Sadly, we only have 2 stops left, Miraflor and Mesaya. The trip has been an eye-opening experience, really shows how time goes by so quickly, and definately one that will never be forgotten.

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Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

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End is Near

Peyton Sorrows,Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

Description

“I guess it’s hard to believe how time marches on so quickly.” Having only 5 days left in Nicaragua, no one including myself is looking forward to the end. These last few days have been amazing. El Lagartillo, a town high up in the mountains, where we were for the last week, was probably the […]

Posted On

07/22/11

Author

Peyton Sorrows

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Two years in Catholic high school and I have learned nothing if I haven´t learned the value of serving our community, both local and global. Although I do not subscribe to any one religion, I personally value the service to community that is present in so many faiths. I like to think that I get more out of service learning than the required hours, and I choose to believe that I am giving back a little bit as well. I didn´t sign up for this trip for the sole purpose of doing service, but I must admit that that was a factor that helped tip the pro/con scale in favor of Nicaragua. I didn´t envision myself saving the world, but I savored the thought that I could contribute in some small way and in turn learn something about myself. This idealism was tested when the group read "To Hell with Good Intentions", a speech by Monsignor Ivan Illich. I recommend reading the speech, but I will give a brief summary in case the reader of this is not in a Googling mood. Illich criticizes overseas volunteers and accuses them of imposing harmful aspects of an American worldview on the communities that they are trying to "help". Illich refers to this an a "benevolent invasion" and is especially harsh towards volunteers in Latin America. In that case, it may seem like a strange choice of literature while we are on a service learning experience in Nicaragua. But it made me think. Is all international service inherently bad? That would certainly shatter my worldview. I couldn´t agree with that thought because I have seen numerous examples both on and off this trip that counter that statement. For example, Los Quinchos, an organization that is undoubtedly doing good, was founded by an Italian woman. So clearly there are cases where foreigners have done good. I thought about this a lot, but my mind just kept going in circles. I was completely unable to reach any sort of conclusion.

Yesterday we visited la cascada (waterfall) that is an hour´s walk from El Lagartillo. It was very beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed swimming and splashing around the waterfall. At one point I found myself sitting alone on a rock that overlooked the entire waterfall. Mind you, this isn´t some dinky little waterfall in a creek, but a rather large one that, especially during the rainy season, is muy fuerte. Staring down over the chain of roaring water, I felt incredibly small. Can one individual, almost insignificant when you think about them in the context of a global population that reaches seven billion, really make an impact of any sort, whether it is positive or negative?

The answer is, of course, yes. No matter how small I feel at the top of a waterfall, I am large enough to change things. The important thing (in response to Mr. Illich´s point) is that I don´t only try to change things through the lens of my worldview. Things might be perfectly fine through someone else´s eyes. When you travel with the right mindset, you are able to catch glimpses of how others see the world. This is what Dragons exists to do. We don´t visit remote communities with the intention of fixing them, but with the goal of learning how to focus our lenses to see things in a different way.

Good intentions aren´t inherently bad. Wanting to make the world a better place isn´t either. Nor is striving constantly to make a difference. In the right context, all of these things are wonderfully good. The right context comes from having the right set of learning experiences. Fortunately for us, Dragons has sent us on our way towards finding those experiences. At least for me, throughout the course of our service learning trip, I have learned a lot about the value of service from a new perspective, and I hope that I can put that knowledge towards crafting a perspective that is distinctly my own.

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Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

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What to Focus On?

Gemma Trainor Holt,Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

Description

Two years in Catholic high school and I have learned nothing if I haven´t learned the value of serving our community, both local and global. Although I do not subscribe to any one religion, I personally value the service to community that is present in so many faiths. I like to think that I get […]

Posted On

07/22/11

Author

Gemma Trainor Holt

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As much as I would like to believe the contrary, my Spanish (or lack of) created a barrier between the families and I in each homestay. There was always a point where I longed to connect at a deeper level than smiles and gratitude, but I wasn´t sure exactly why I needed this. It was only until I departed our final homestay earlier today, when I realized the true signifigance of these emotional connections I was developing with each family, and how twisted my idea of a "quality" relationship was. Sure, I would love to have in-depth conversations regarding politics or the rich history of Nicaragua, but it has been equally beneficial and fulfilling having silences which I would previously define as "awkward." Those smiles and small gestures which in no way I could really "save" myself with my broken Spanish, and which I ultimately enjoyed, made me realize not all quality relationships have to be built on a foundation of common interests and philisophical conversation. In our judgemental and high-strung world, "quality" relationships are often defined as flourishing from deep conversations and common interests. Although this is often true, I feel the value of less "weighted" relationships is degraded. Walking out of my homestays I now realize I never was really empty, longing for a greater connection, but rather wanted to have a connection I had previously defined as "quality." However, the pure kindness and generosity I was often mimed and demonstrated proved to create a foundation for relationships equally strong. Regardless, isn´t mutual love, care, and respect the true foundation of a quality relatonship anyway, no matter the building blocks?

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Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

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Connections

Amelia Williams,Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

Description

As much as I would like to believe the contrary, my Spanish (or lack of) created a barrier between the families and I in each homestay. There was always a point where I longed to connect at a deeper level than smiles and gratitude, but I wasn´t sure exactly why I needed this. It was […]

Posted On

07/22/11

Author

Amelia Williams

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    [post_content] => We have come to the last couple days of our trip. It is great to see how much we have grown as a group and individually as well. I honestly cannot believe how fast time has flown us by. It seems like if was just yesterday I was taking my flight where I embarced on this incredible journey. Traveling from town to town these past few weeks and listening to the many incredible stories locals had to share with me, has opened my eyes and made me realize that life is tough and that even though it sometimes places us in challenging situations we simply have to strive for the best and have faith that someday we will prevail and live a happier life. I recently heard many of these stories during our last homestay where many of the locals faced the hardships and challenges of Nicaragua's Counter-Revolution. Listening to these stories was immensly inspirational to me and they will always stay in my heart so that when times get tough in my reality back at home I could reflect on these stories and be inspired to never give up. Sadly, my journey in Nicaragua is about to end. However, I am glad that I had the opportunity to experience this adventure because it has made me a better individual;an individual that believes that faith goes a long way.
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Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

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Reflection

Henry Gomez,Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

Description

We have come to the last couple days of our trip. It is great to see how much we have grown as a group and individually as well. I honestly cannot believe how fast time has flown us by. It seems like if was just yesterday I was taking my flight where I embarced on […]

Posted On

07/22/11

Author

Henry Gomez

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The concept of time in El Lagartillo does not really exist to the estent that it does in America. True, there are people here with watches or clocks but those devices aren´t superbly relevant to their daily lives. At dawn the rooster crows and I glance down at my watch: 4:00, time for me to shut my sleepy eyelids and catch another two hours before breakfast and spanish class. As I sleep my morning away my homestay mother uses her time efficiently to grind corn into pulp, pulp in to round disks and then into cooked tortillas. After the day has already begun I rise from bed grab my laundry and am off, leaving my watch in the dust. Time passes and it´s finally time for a shower, however my mind is far from continuous cycle of my 24 hour watch.

Families in El Lagartillo rarely awknowledge the passing of time. They onlyask for the timewhenever I glance down at my watch. People are seemingly lodged in the past to the wandering eye but take a closer look and this community is thriving with there way of life. Not tied down with the hours of time, I feel my body slow down and rejuvenate. I set into this stimulating yet relaxing pattern that has allowed me to live in the moment and let the rest flow away with time.

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Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

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Time

Zoe Holman,Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

Description

The concept of time in El Lagartillo does not really exist to the estent that it does in America. True, there are people here with watches or clocks but those devices aren´t superbly relevant to their daily lives. At dawn the rooster crows and I glance down at my watch: 4:00, time for me to […]

Posted On

07/22/11

Author

Zoe Holman

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My dad is from London, so naturally soccer is huge in our family. Chelsea Football Club mugs, sweatshirts, wall stickers, and shorts are not uncommon finds in our household. For my birthday my sister got me a Chelsea hat, which coincedentally was the same one that I had been dropping hints about. I brought the hat with me, in the front pocket of my bag for easy access in case a hat wearing moment struck me. Today as we were leaving El Lagartillo, the town where we had spent the last week in homestays, a bit of Chelsea blue caught my eye. A little boy in an old Chelsea jersey was standing on the steps of the library with his friends. My hat was with me, in my bag. I felt the classic common soccer fan rush of excitement, but also a second of nervousness. I quickly asked Dhyana and Amelia if I should give it to him, but I had already decided. He started running in the other direction, so I quickly got the hat out of my bag and ran after him. I caught up to him, presented the hat, and put it on his head. He smiled and took it off to look at. I ran back to our group, not at all sad to see it go, knowing it was on a better head.

[post_title] => Nicaraguan Blue [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nicaraguan-blue [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2011-07-22 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=43429 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 349 [name] => Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011 [slug] => nicaragua-cultivating-change-4-week-summer-2011 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 349 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 251 [count] => 45 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 18.1 [cat_ID] => 349 [category_count] => 45 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011 [category_nicename] => nicaragua-cultivating-change-4-week-summer-2011 [category_parent] => 251 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2011/nicaragua-cultivating-change-4-week-summer-2011/ ) ) [category_links] => Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011 )

Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

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Nicaraguan Blue

Isabella Lewis,Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

Description

My dad is from London, so naturally soccer is huge in our family. Chelsea Football Club mugs, sweatshirts, wall stickers, and shorts are not uncommon finds in our household. For my birthday my sister got me a Chelsea hat, which coincedentally was the same one that I had been dropping hints about. I brought the […]

Posted On

07/22/11

Author

Isabella Lewis

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    [post_content] => On the morning of the 14th, I arose from my bed with two things on my mind; The film ``Point Break´´ and the fact that the group would be surfing (sledding) down the side of a volcano by mid-day! After meeting with our guide team from ``quetzal treckers´´(Missy, Veronica, and Ricard) we all piled into the back of a truck and began the drive to a checkpoint at Cerro Negro (the volcano we would be hiking and later sledding down). Upon arrival we received a delicious breakfast of pineapple and tang after which the group set off with specialized volcano boards in hand. While climbing our guide Veronica informed us that the volcano´s last eruption was in 2001 or in 2007, she didn't seem too certain which made the whole experience more exciting. After about a 40 minute scramble to the top we were able to stop for a second and take in the breathtaking view of the surrounding volcanoes and their lush green landscapes. When we finished taking all the photos our cameras could hold we preceded to our launch point. The ride down the volcano was awesome to say the least, Most of us started off a little slow but after the first 50 feet we began picking up a fare amount of speed. Once all thirteen dragons made it down safe and sound to the bottom we piled back into the truck and were on our way to climb another volcano.
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Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

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¨They only live to get radical¨

Maxwell Field Merkin,Nicaragua: Cultivating Change 4 week, Summer 2011

Description

On the morning of the 14th, I arose from my bed with two things on my mind; The film “Point Break´´ and the fact that the group would be surfing (sledding) down the side of a volcano by mid-day! After meeting with our guide team from “quetzal treckers´´(Missy, Veronica, and Ricard) we all piled into […]

Posted On

07/22/11

Author

Maxwell Field Merkin

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