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From Guatemala to Nicaragua

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March 17

Last week we were at an amazing eco-hostel and sustainability project called G-22. It was started by architect Alfredo Maul when he returned to his home country of Guatemala from studying and working abroad. It focuses on staying sustainable in an ever-changing urban environment. He uses many innovative practices like composting organic waste and collecting rainwater, even reusing use sink water to wash dishes and flush toilets. Alfredo used many activities to show us how wasteful the average American is when it comes to water consumption and electricity usage. We as groups were given the equivalent of three dollars to buy exotic fruits for a picnic. This tested our critical thinking skills and made us only spend what we really needed to. We also spent a day learning about coffee production in Guatemala and cleaning up trash from the coffee farm. Alfredo showed us the project he was working on for the coffee farm owner – he was building him and his family a new, sustainable kitchen and bathroom to replace their current one which was more wasteful. This was only one of the inspiring projects that Alfredo took part in. We also went to a botanical garden like none other we had seen. There was more variety of species then we had seen in our whole lives. We had respective bro and girl time which builds great bonds and was a lot of fun. The boys went to an adventure park and had a blast. Guatemala City is beautiful and everything is so inexpensive. We went to a beautiful museum displaying many priceless Mayan artifacts. It was amazing to see relics from a people who hadn’t been around for years and years. Later that night some of the group prepared dinner for our great leaders to show how much we appreciate them and for all they do for us. Our amazing host was the guest of honor. If you didn’t buy the groceries for dinner you helped prune the plants and turn the compost at the hostel showing our appreciation for Alfredo and the time he is dedicated to our group. We all had to wake up at 3 AM to leave the hostel the next morning. We arrived at the airport at around 345 and we were Nicaragua bound. After 10 hours of travel we arrived in sunny Nica.

March 21

WOW. We are about halfway through now. everyone is having the time of their lives. we just got back from a short stint in playa gigante. our first stop in the country of Nicaragua! it is very hot here much hotter than everywhere we have been so far the struggles have just brought us together more and helping each other through homesickness makes us all feel more like family. we are all getting closer whether we like it or not and the end is getting closer weather we like it or not.

March 30

Hello from Matagalpa. We traveled from our student directed travel weekend in Granada on a 3 hour bus ride to Matagalpa. The climate is a lot cooler here than it was in Granada. We have been here for about a week, studying at the spanish school. It is a little bit different because we are not doing one on ones, instead we are with smaller groups based on our level of Spanish. We get to school at 8 and finish at 12. We have three meals with our homestay family. We then usually have activities planned for us in the afternoon. We had a cooking class, a talk on the history of Nicaragua and we went to the market. Matagalpa is a nice sized town with a lot of action happening throughout the streets, however, we are here on Semana Santa which is easter weekend and from Thursday to Sunday the streets are usually empty and most stores are closed. Our group is getting together to throw a festival tomorrow for Easter. Getting ready for that. Hope everything is well back in the United States and Canada. Hasta Luego.