||[Jul. 4th, 2004|07:40 pm]
So here I am, zipping up my suitcase for yet another Central American excursion! To clear up for/remind you where I'm going and what I'm doing (for any of you who care to know):
I'm going on a delegation focusing on Sustainable Agriculture with the Sister City New Haven/Leon Project, out of New Haven. According to our itinerary, we'll be spending the first and last days of the 10-day delegation travelling (both to and from Nicaragua and between the capital of Managua to Leon, a 3-hour drive). This leaves 4 days for some manual labor, like weeding gardens, but the objective of the delegation is sustainable agriculture, so we won't be planting anything that we won't be assured will grow well once we leave. We'll also be spending some time relaying on to the farmers the agricultural knowledge having to do with safe pesticide practices and even organic farming that we will be taught. The other four days will be our excursions, to places like two active volcanoes, the beach, and museums around Leon.
So, those of you who know that I'll be gone longer than 10 days are probably wondering what happens after the delegation. Well, it gets interesting (as if the delegation work isn't interesting enough!). While my American counterparts return to the States on July 15th, I will be staying 17 more days, until July 31st. There's still a little ambiguity concerning exactly what I'll be doing to be worked out once I get down there, but I'll be doing basically three things that the workers in the Leon Sister City office have arranged for me. I'll be visiting a school in a village on the outskirts of Leon called "Los Barzones" to help re-enforce the kids' schoolwork (all in Spanish, of course!). I'll also be writing articles to bring back to the US about my experiences, the country's poverty, and persuasion letters to Americans considering a delegation. And, if there's still time after all that, I'll have the opportunity to help out Eduardo (one of the bi-lingual office workers) with his translating work, which, to me, is very exciting. My AP Spanish score of a 4 is really setting me high on my laurels, making me actually feel competent in Spanish (though we'll see how it goes once I actually put it to work!)
It's really nice to be able to return to a far-away place having already experienced the culture and the lay of the land, if you will. Now that I'm already acquainted with the program and the work that it does, I think I'll really be able to contribute this time to not only do what I can to help the country but also learn a whole lot about agriculture, economics, the world, and...um...myself?
So I'll be back August 1st, with lots of stories and a farmers tan, I'm sure! Expect plenty of group e-mails, too, as I'll be going to the internet cafe practically every friggin' day. If you don't hear from me in a week, assume that I don't have your e-mail address and send me an e-mail! Enjoy July, everyone, and ¡diviértanse!