By April and Kiara
Earlier this week we arrived at Matapalo on the 6th to help with the Kuemar sea turtle conservation project. We learned about sea turtles and helped clean the beaches to lessen negative impacts on the turtles. The first night the group walked on one of the three beaches together named Nombre de Jesus and got to experience seeing three turtles, none of them laid eggs but the experience was still fun. As the week progressed, we started going in smaller groups to look for nesting females and move the eggs so poachers wouldn't take the eggs. During the process we learned different facts about the turtles such as they come up every few years to lay their eggs (not every year), and as they make their nests they become unaware of surroundings as they concentrate on digging and laying their nest. We still have to use only a red light or it would scare off the turtles.
On the second day we got to the turtle project it was Kate's (one of our leaders) birthday and we celebrated with sweets from a bakery truck, made a card, and made a turtle mask for her.
Since the trip is ending this means that this is the last blog to appear, so here is a little overview of the trip!
During week one, we stayed in Matagalpa for 2 weeks. The first week we lived at a hostel and got to walk around and experience the town life. The second week was with homestays and going to spanish school while doing some activities such as hiking to La Cruz, dancing a cultural dance, baking some sweets, and also had some time to talk with one of the ladies from the school about Nicaraguan feminism. We also celebrated my birthday! (Kiara)
Next stop was Estili where we stayed for 4 nights with two nice families that provided our beds and food. During this time we hiked for 5 hours to a waterfall and since April had sprained her foot she had her own experience of riding a horse around the area. (We also celebrated Natali's birthday!)
Continuing on from Estili, we arrived to Peñas Blancas and the Artesana project to help build a toilet for one of the community members. During those five days we also had a few afternoon activities including learning how to paint murals, make wood carvings into printed painted pictures, making traditional baked goods, and hiking to a waterfall while learning about the natural homeopathy.
Boating our way to Ometepe, Nicaragua on a ferry we stayed on a permaculture farm called Bona Fide. We completed many tasks including field work, lots of bucket watering of plants, feeding and cleaning the chicken cage, working around the garden by raking leaves as well as creating some compost. We also worked in the plant nursery watering the baby plants and also planted some as well. Last but not least, we helped cook meals in the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the food provided from the farm. One of the most memorable experiences on the farm was sleeping with spiders.
Chicken bussing our way to La Concha, approximately 30 minutes away from Masaya, we started Spanish school and homestays for another two weeks. The afternoon activities of helping at a traditional kids spanish school, teaching kids and adults english, working at an after school community center for kids, and working at community garden were great! One of my favorite memories here was learning how to dance at the school and watching the little kids perform a traditional dance. Homestays were hard to leave after being there for two weeks because of getting so close to our families, they definitely made a place in my heart.
Zipping through the weeks, we made our way to student directed travel where we went shopping in Masaya for a day, took a boat ride around the islands of Granada, went zip lining and swam our hearts away in a pool.
Now we sit in San Jose, Costa Rica after playing with turtles two days before we fly off to go home. We are just relaxing and going over last minute school activities with our leaders. Central America has been fun and now we are all ready to be in the comforts of our family and homes. Thank you to everyone who supported us and our experience and got us to where we are now.