Phase Two! — Alan Wright of SosteNica

“Adios amigos!”  was the refrain on Thursday when Kai, Camelia, Becky, Ethan, Kevin, and Celine said goodbye to their Cornell colleagues Mary, Mitch, Gosia, Edbert, Mandy, Christine and Allie.  It was an emotional moment, hugging one another two blocks from the bus terminal in Leon.  We have worked hard this week, endured minor injuries, stomach ailments, tropical heat and frustrations on the worksite.   Despite setbacks, their spirits never flagged.  We accomplished a lot this first week, setting the stage for a second wave of students, Lee, Thomas, Carolyn, Aiden and Sadmun, arriving on Friday.

As a going away event (known here in Nicaragua as a “despedida”), our group traveled from Nagarote to Leon – some by public transport, others in our “rabano” (the ruby red “radish” van).  After a brief tour in Leon, conducted by Rachel Lindsay, we piled 19 bodies, Nicaraguan style, into the Rabano for the final miles to a Pacific beach for a going away lunch.  La Barca de Oro is an open-air thatched roof restaurant in the village of Las Penitas.

For one bliss filled hour, students body surfed, paddled kayaks through a mangrove forest, lounged on a beach known as La Isla de Juan Venado and reveled in the secluded natural beauty.

Today, it’s back to the two work sites.   The first adobe blocks have been positioned at the eco-center while the foundation for the Perez family composting toilet is all but complete.

We eagerly look forward to the arrival of the second group of students, with their clean clothes, willing spirits, and yet-to-be-tanned skin.

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