Nicaragua: Land of lakes and volcanos

By: Eliza Althisar

during the summer of 2017 I jumped rope with two small children and it changed my life forever.

I was in  Nicaragua with a group of students from Riverside High School and Gibbons Middle School. Jumping rope may sound like a silly thing to remember and cherish most from such a cool trip but it was more than just jumping rope, it was creating a relationship with someone who speaks a whole other language than I did.  I was told about the trip in October 2016 and I immediately decided it was something I wanted to do. This was the first time I had traveled without my family, let alone traveling outside of the country. We spent a total of seven days in Nicaragua and at the end of the week, the students and the chaperones had developed deep family like relationships.

The beginning of the trip was the service portion. We were in a rural area called San Diego. The first full day we traveled a short distance to the community’s public elementary school. There we dug holes and filled them with gravel. We did this because the school grounds were flooding and ruining the children’s garden and their play area.  On the third day the children of the community were invited to come and meet us. To our surprise there were several kids waiting for us when our bus arrived at the school.  During the time we spent with the local children we played soccer, jumped rope, and shared a pinata. Even though some of us did not speak the same language we all spoke the universal language of fun and friendship.

The second half of the trip we spent being tourists. We traveled to Granada, a city in western Nicaragua. This part of the trip was spent  getting to know the customs and the rhythm of the city. During this time we visited Mombacho Volcano and hiked. The flowers were brightly colored and the healthy green glow of all of the plants were breathtaking. Later that week we had another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to zipline through the canopy of the rainforest. We fed monkeys, boated along Lake Nicaragua, and were welcomed by so many kind people.

Being able to travel outside of the country and being able to help people has changed my life. I have a new appreciation for all the things we take for granted, and a new urge to change as many lives as I can. It has given me more independence, a new perspective on life, and friends from both Nicaragua and America that I will have for the rest of my life. This experience has transformed my life-and it will transform yours. Visit Mrs Holmes in room 132 for the adventure of a lifetime you could take this coming summer to Peru.

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