Photo of the Week
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-29 15:13:03
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-29 21:13:03
    [post_content] => At Los Quinchos kids are taught self-love, as well as openness and love for others.  When we first met the kids they each individually came up to us and either high fived, fist bumped, or hugged us, without even knowing who we were.  Later when we watched them practice their instruments in the street, they immediately came to us and eagerly offered  to teach us how to play their instrument. These kids who grew up in beyond imaginable, horrific situations, were given another chance at life.

Throughout our time at Los Quinchos kids of all ages would come up to us, and hug us, or sit on our laps. These little acts of affection were so sweet and set the kids at Los Quinchos apart from kids that one would see at almost any other organization,  and quite frankly from any other place in the world.   Seeing the kids as they are now, so open and talented (they perform in a circus) makes it near to impossible to believe that they were ever on the streets.

Seeing the full picture in this situation was and still is extremely difficult.  Carlos told us about the living situation on the streets , and about what the kids go through.  We were not able to go to the market in Managua where most of the kids who are in the program come from because it is such a dangerous place to be, even for just a few hours.  The transition that these kids are able to make would be incredible if it was only leaving the streets behind for a home where they have to follow rules and go to school.  Los Quinchos goes so above and beyond other organizations, to not only transform the physical situation for these kids  but also somehow taps into their natural resilience in order to change their entire spirit and mentality, resulting in amazing kids.
    [post_title] => Seeing the Full Picture
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Nicaragua Summer 4-week, Homestay, Survey of Development Issues

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Seeing the Full Picture

Hannah,Nicaragua Summer 4-week, Homestay, Survey of Development Issues

Description

At Los Quinchos kids are taught self-love, as well as openness and love for others.  When we first met the kids they each individually came up to us and either high fived, fist bumped, or hugged us, without even knowing who we were.  Later when we watched them practice their instruments in the street, they […]

Posted On

07/29/13

Author

Hannah

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-29 15:12:46
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-29 21:12:46
    [post_content] => Wake up because you hear the usual chorus of roosters sounding out 3, 4, 5 in the morning. Pay attention to whether or not, based on the sound of it, your family's dog has yet had its daily run-in with your family's cat. Sitting up in your bed, be careful not to become entangled in your mosquito net. Ponder whether it's possible to take a bucket shower in the rain. When you pull on your shoes and clothes and some semblance of personal hygiene and walk into the room best described as living, dining, or perhaps family, make sure to say, "Buenos," but when you return in the evening from a community-wide dance party, or a movie the locals sat in on until they realized it was a documentary sin subtitulos, let your greeting be, "Buenas."

Drink your morning café con azucar (Why have it any other way?) and fairly unsuccessfully join in with the patting of tortillas. Don't be too surprised when your dad and younger brother break into spontaneous percussion at the table, or when your tiny hermanita joins in with an out-of-key song. Take comfort in the fact that you understand what she's saying just as much as anyone. There's electricity today. Enjoy it. Otherwise, use your headlamp for absolutely everything. In the afternoon you'll need to try your hand for the third and perhaps final time at the lavendero. Soak your dirty clothes in a bucket of detergent and watch as the water turns blue, then brown. Be gracious, but brush off your mother's persistent cry of, "Puedo hacerlo, es mas facil para mi." Accept that you are practicing; it's muy diferente. And also that, given your technique, you may need to wait for your washing machine in Los Estados if you want to wear something "clean."

In the afternoon, take the two minute walk to the center of town, collecting local kids who call out your name along the way. Here you are sure to find a familiar face, and likely an impromptu Los Rusticos concert. Reluctantly agree to sing "Hey, Soul Sister," the Norte americano radio classic that has just made its way into Nica pop culture. Try desperately to explain the lyrics. Give up. Speak Spanish when you can, even with the other Americans. Wonder how ridiculous your accent sounds, and to that end, drop the "s" sound from the ends of words like you've heard your neighbors do.

Return home with the floral umbrella your family insisted you borrow for the day, startling some innocent gallinas as you hurdle over a puddle. The family's dog is wet and being shoo-ed out of the house with a shoe by your second-youngest sister. Others teach the names of fruit to neighborhood kids, and still others slather baby oil in their hair before heading out for the evening. You are overwhelmed by a sense of belonging in a community whose daily functions are foreign to you. You feel strangely at home, contast as you sit in silence with your father and watch the hubbub unfold around you. You are summoned into the scene to play a Nica version of hide-and-go-seek or perhaps el telefono roto, and you think that time has never passed so quickly.
    [post_title] => Advice
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Nicaragua Summer 4-week

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Advice

Markita Schulman,Nicaragua Summer 4-week

Description

Wake up because you hear the usual chorus of roosters sounding out 3, 4, 5 in the morning. Pay attention to whether or not, based on the sound of it, your family’s dog has yet had its daily run-in with your family’s cat. Sitting up in your bed, be careful not to become entangled in […]

Posted On

07/29/13

Author

Markita Schulman

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-28 11:04:16
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-28 17:04:16
    [post_content] => Dear Nicaragua Families,

We just received an update that the Nicaragua group has landed safely in Miami. Instructors will now help students head off to their domestic flights.

Warm regards,

Boulder Administration
    [post_title] => Nicaragua group has arrived to MIA
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Nicaragua Summer 4-week

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Nicaragua group has arrived to MIA

Eva Vanek,Nicaragua Summer 4-week

Description

Dear Nicaragua Families, We just received an update that the Nicaragua group has landed safely in Miami. Instructors will now help students head off to their domestic flights. Warm regards, Boulder Administration

Posted On

07/28/13

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-25 11:31:35
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    [post_content] => Dear Nicaragua Students & Families,
This weekend marks the end of our Nicaragua program and students will soon return home to share tales with each of you.
We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day and we will be in contact if there are any suspected delays.
We wish all students a great trip home. Please leave us a voice message on extension 30 if you are not able to reach us during office hours. We will be checking our messages throughout the evening.

Sincerely,
BoulderAdmin
To check on the status of the group’s international flight, please refer to:
http://www.aa.com/homePage.do?locale=en_US&pref=true&cd=RPM2013&gc=ACM&cc=SEM&cp=TXT&skw=airline+flights&tc=GOOG&pp=Core_Top

The students are traveling home on the following American Flight:
Returning Flight:
July 28th, 2013
American Airlines #AA 994
Depart: Managua (MGA) 7:15am
Arrive: Miami (MIA) 11:55am
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Nicaragua Summer 4-week

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Return Flight Information

Dragons Admin,Nicaragua Summer 4-week

Description

Dear Nicaragua Students & Families, This weekend marks the end of our Nicaragua program and students will soon return home to share tales with each of you. We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day and we will be in contact if there are any suspected delays. We […]

Posted On

07/25/13

Author

Dragons Admin

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-22 15:42:55
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-22 21:42:55
    [post_content] => I had the opportunity to interview a local farmer in the community of El Lagatillo by the name of Fermin. Fermin farms is in total around 50 manzanas (which is their unit of measurment, not apples). He only farms livestock now because it has been a matter of resources. The weather has been changing around El Lagatillo and the soil is also not as fertile as it once was. By all means Fermin said that the live stock have been a good source of income, and he has been able to support his family with it. The only crops that are still grown around the community are for their own consumption. Harvesting is done entirley by hand because the slopes that their fields lie on make it too difficult for tractors or horses to be helpful. All of the live stock has to be sold to an Intermediadio or a Middleman. These Intermediadios tend to cheat the local farmers over by fixing the scales to be a lower weight than what their live stock actually is. Even though it might only be 5 pounds each time they weigh a cow, it can add up to be hundreds of pounds lost at the end of the year! Sadly the farmers are forced to sell to these Intermediadios because they can not afford to the cost of transportation that would allow them to sell their live stock else where. These farmers make the best out of what they have though and they are some of the hardest workers that i have met down here.
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Nicaragua Summer 4-week, Survey of Development Issues

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Farming in El Lagatillo

Ryan Payne,Nicaragua Summer 4-week, Survey of Development Issues

Description

I had the opportunity to interview a local farmer in the community of El Lagatillo by the name of Fermin. Fermin farms is in total around 50 manzanas (which is their unit of measurment, not apples). He only farms livestock now because it has been a matter of resources. The weather has been changing around […]

Posted On

07/22/13

Author

Ryan Payne

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-21 22:23:40
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-22 04:23:40
    [post_content] => After our afternoon spanish classes finished, all of us dragones decdied to hang around the volleyball court. Miguel, however, could not resist the urge of a game of volleyball, so he grabbed the ball, and we set up a two-on-two match: Ryan and Miguel, versus Yomar, who is my spanish teacher extraordinaire, and me. Needless to say, Yomar and I won, because there is no way I´d be writing this if we had lost!

It was so much fun to compete along with Yomar! After our game, we set up a big match with all of our teachers. After two non-stop hours of volleyball intensity, bloody, and bruised, I ran back to my house and took the most satisfying bucket shower! A great reward for my hard work!
    [post_title] => Volleyball in El Lagartillo
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Nicaragua Summer 4-week

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Volleyball in El Lagartillo

Oliver Edelson,Nicaragua Summer 4-week

Description

After our afternoon spanish classes finished, all of us dragones decdied to hang around the volleyball court. Miguel, however, could not resist the urge of a game of volleyball, so he grabbed the ball, and we set up a two-on-two match: Ryan and Miguel, versus Yomar, who is my spanish teacher extraordinaire, and me. Needless […]

Posted On

07/21/13

Author

Oliver Edelson

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-21 22:22:32
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    [post_content] => So.......after my first experience with a homestay family by myself in Argentina about a year ago, I had several reservations about launching myself into such a situation again. But fortunately, my incredibly kind and generous family in Lagartillo has changed the way I perceive homestays. Despite being constantly woken up by the incessant crowing of the roosters at 3 a.m. everyday, I thoroughly enjoyed talking about everything from baseball to the local traditions with my homestay father Alcides, and playing with his four year old son Alcidito. It even appears as if I have left quite an impression on Alcidito as, after seeing my constant training for my cross country season, he now does his own exercise every morning. We even bonded with a special high five greeting that we perform during every encounter. I also couldn´t have asked for a more hospitable homestay mother and I thoroughly enjoyed her habit of leaving out late-night bread and jam to quell my nighttime hunger pains. In fact, the only time I ever felt unconformtable in their home was when I was packing my bag this morning to find a scorpion crawling through my belongings. But don´t worry, I´m still alive. Although I won´t be alive much longer if I don´t get my hands on another liquado with cinnamon, coffee, chocolate, milk, and oreos. I guess I´ll just have to return someday............entonces, nos vemos Lagartillo.
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Nicaragua Summer 4-week

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A place I will return to

Connor Pisano,Nicaragua Summer 4-week

Description

So…….after my first experience with a homestay family by myself in Argentina about a year ago, I had several reservations about launching myself into such a situation again. But fortunately, my incredibly kind and generous family in Lagartillo has changed the way I perceive homestays. Despite being constantly woken up by the incessant crowing of […]

Posted On

07/21/13

Author

Connor Pisano

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-21 22:22:07
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-22 04:22:07
    [post_content] => The other day our instructors asked us to try to leave our comfort zones as a challenge for ourselves. For leaving my comfort zone I decided to try to talk to homestay family in only spanish which is a challenge for me because I have just started to learn spanish on this trip. Starting a new language on this trip has been challenging but also a very rewarding experience. I started off really not knowing how to speak the language and after my time in Lagartillo I learned to carry on a very basic conversation. Being able to to talk to my homestay family in spanish was extremely tough because I was talking in very beaten up spanish sentences. All in all it was a very challenging experience but I am glad I did it because it gave me more confidence in being able to speak spanish.
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Nicaragua Summer 4-week

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My Comfort Zone

Will Buckfire,Nicaragua Summer 4-week

Description

The other day our instructors asked us to try to leave our comfort zones as a challenge for ourselves. For leaving my comfort zone I decided to try to talk to homestay family in only spanish which is a challenge for me because I have just started to learn spanish on this trip. Starting a […]

Posted On

07/21/13

Author

Will Buckfire

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-21 22:19:17
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    [post_content] => Last night was our last night in el Lagartillo. To keep up tradition, us Dragons hosted a despedida, or a going away party, to thank the entire community for having us and making our time so special and fun.  The night began with all the kids playing volleyball together, just relaxing and having fun.  Then, we all gathered in the community center to watch the local kids' theatre performance.  Connor's Independent Study Project presentation briefed us on the theater community in el Lagartillo, and the kids were beyond excited to perform for us. My homestay mother's niece was in the play and has been excited for the past two weeks about performing for us. As the people of el Lagartillo laughed along with the show, we all tried our best to follow the plot and laughed along. Following the play, we were served delicious pork finger food and we watched the local band, Los Rusticos, play.  One of our own, Sonia, dueted with their violinist for one song for part of her ISP presentation as well.  After all of the performances, but before the partying began, we decided that we should make public thanks to the entire community.  We designated Miguel to do so, and he prepared and rehearsed a speech.   As he spoke to the community, we all stood on the stage with him.  We were expecting him to finish and everyone to dance, but instead everyone cheered for more speeches, and didn't stop until every single one of us had given personal thanks.  We definitely all had to get over our embarassment of speaking Spanish for this one.  In mine, I made sure to include how grateful we were that everyone was so patient with us since we are all only still learning Spanish.  After our thanks, we all got up and danced. The night continued on until the early morning, by which point all of us Dragons were fast asleep.  We said our very last goodbyes in the morning, and headed off in the back of a truck towards the rest of our trip.
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Nicaragua Summer 4-week

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¡Despedida!

Taara Advani,Nicaragua Summer 4-week

Description

Last night was our last night in el Lagartillo. To keep up tradition, us Dragons hosted a despedida, or a going away party, to thank the entire community for having us and making our time so special and fun.  The night began with all the kids playing volleyball together, just relaxing and having fun.  Then, […]

Posted On

07/21/13

Author

Taara Advani

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-21 22:18:49
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    [post_content] => After 45 minutes of walking through gorgeous Nicaraguan forest, the group arrived at what looked to us like a zoo exhibit. A pristine waterfall awaited us, and after eating a quick picnic lunch, the group jumped into the refreshing water. We swam around for awhile, taking pictures of people under the fall and of the locals jumping off a rock. I know personally the waterfall served as not only a change of secenery for the day but also as a "cleansing" experience - both literally and figuratively. After having many days of Spanish class, the fall was the perfect place to reflect on our time in El Lagartillo thus far and even begin to prepare ourselves for the upcoming departure of our familiar community.

Now, the group is headed to a secret location - a surprise! - and then off to Transference.  I can not believe that we only have a week left of the trip, but I know the memories of that magical waterfall in the depths of northern Nicaragua will stay with me for a long time after I return back to the States.
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Nicaragua Summer 4-week

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La Cascada

Lydia Stevens,Nicaragua Summer 4-week

Description

After 45 minutes of walking through gorgeous Nicaraguan forest, the group arrived at what looked to us like a zoo exhibit. A pristine waterfall awaited us, and after eating a quick picnic lunch, the group jumped into the refreshing water. We swam around for awhile, taking pictures of people under the fall and of the […]

Posted On

07/21/13

Author

Lydia Stevens

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