Today was the eighth day of Nicaragua! Like other weekdays, we woke up early, at around 6:30 a.m. Breakfast was a quiet, sleepy appreciation of delicious plantains, gallo pinto and cheese set before us.
We then piled the rest of the donation luggage into the back of the bus and headed for the school at around 7:45. As we pulled up to the school, we saw tons of kids milling about, toting backpacks and casually dressed. This was all in preparation for today’s field trip to Granada! As we did last year, our group took the students of El Divino Niño to the Granada for a nice, sunny day on the shore of Lake Nicaragua. We left the school in three buses, stopped briefly in the colorful central plaza of Granada, and then headed for the lake. There, we got into some seven lanchas (charming water taxi style boats) and began cruising between the isletas (small volcanic islands) of Lake Nicaragua. We brought bananas and papayas for one extraordinary island with spider monkeys and white-faced monkeys. Using five limbs—arms, legs, and a very prehensile tail—the monkeys swung through the trees and snacked on our offerings. We sped back to shore and drove off to the next destination, a beach/park area of Lake Nicaragua.
The teachers brought out two huge metal pots for lunch, with this fantastic fried rice with peas, chicken and sausage in it. We all sat down for lunch across from the beach. After they finished, some boys started a game of soccer while others began looking curiously towards the lake. Soon, most kids were splashing around in the lake, with the addition of at least half of our group. The other half was on the shore, snapping pictures… it looked like everyone had fun, either cruising the waves with some very excited kids or chatting on the shore.
After being called in, we jumped back into the three buses and drove to a marketplace in the town of Caterina. The astonishing view at the end of the market road, the vista point over the crater lake, took some of us by surprise. After a long cobblestone path of trinkets, the near birds-eye view of another lake came into view. We could see the wrinkles the wind made on its blue surface, the densely forested hills and mountains cradling it, and the even larger expanse of Lake Nicaragua on the horizon. It was awesome… but I’ll stop waxing poetic and let you all see it for yourselves when we come back with our cameras!
The students of Divino Niño School loved it as well. They took pictures using our cameras, drank in the magnified view of the lake from telescopes and binoculars, and took to the shops with much curiosity. A couple of them bought colorful toys, while a small section of our boys bought some beanies together. After about thirty minutes, we departed for the school.
After dropping the kids off, we began delivering the last of the packaged donations from California. Sports gear, soccer and baseball, went to the Soya Cantera Center. The Soya Center is the local youth center who derived it’s name ‘soya’ from a period of time that soy milk was provided to the children. Hospital supplies and toys went to Betty Palma’s house. At last, we arrived back at Cantera at 6:50 p.m.
For dinner, we had chicken, fries, rice and some very intriguing beet juice. Once everyone was finished, we brought out a huge cake for Davis’s seventeenth birthday. After singing ‘las mañanitas,’ a traditional Spanish birthday song, customary song, Isa’s neighbor and Free Trade participant came in with some beautiful items for sale. The girls took a lot of interest in the earrings, though the paintings, bracelets, wooden containers and sandals were equally as striking.
As for tonight, we all need to start packing our bags for Pochomil. Tomorrow morning we’re leaving Cantera for a brief respite at the beach. We’ll keep you posted, as always!