¡Vamos a Nicaragua!
On the night of February 12, a small group of nine Branson students (including myself) and two Branson faculty members met in SFO to begin their journey over ski week into foreign land. Seven hours later, we all stood on Nicaraguan soil eager (OK…also a bit exhausted, the plane flight was long) to take on the challenge of immersing themselves into a new culture. This assorted group was made up by teachers Alicia Taylor and Sergio Ovalles, as well as seniors Maddy Schoenberger and Jeannie Davis, junior Alex Sann, sophomores Camille Pon, Isabel Scal, Keila Lopez, and George Hurley, and freshmen Ben and Sam Modlin. Through the program Viviendas León, each member of the group either lived individually or in pairs with in a home-stay in the Fundeci neighborhood in León for an entire week. Each day, there was something new to explore and learn, whether it be about the art and dance of Nicaragua, the diverse myths and legends, or the tumultuous history of Nicaragua’s past and their revolution in the late 70s. The mornings were spent touring Leon and delving deeper into Nicaragua’s culture and history. In the afternoons, the group travelled to the rural community outside of León and participated in community engagement activities such as building a fence for a large garden, picking green peppers and weeding gardens, and one afternoon learned how to make homemade tortillas. The students and teachers spent their evenings connecting with their homestay families over dinner, playing Sorry and Uno, as well as simply sharing experiences of their day and also of life back in the USA. “The Nicaragua trip really opened my eyes to the potential of human connection and teamwork, and Viviendas León gave us an authentic experience that will affect our lives forever,” sophomore Isabel Scal said.
The next Branson Nicaragua trip with Viviendas León is currently set for the winter/spring 2018.