by Jacob Price
Participant, Mitzvah Corps Nicaragua 2013
Wow! Yesterday we started our service project and I am exhausted. When we woke up that morning and were told that we’d be building sidewalks and we might get a little muddy I thought it would be just that – a little muddy. About three hours later I was covered in mud from head to toe and everywhere in between! I feel dirty and gross and I can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow!
The sidewalks we are building are right in front of peoples’ homes and we got to work side by side with them. When we first got there I could tell that they were thinking, “These kids have no idea what they are getting into.” We were all trying to avoid the mud as much as possible, but after a few falls the mud had worked its way up our clothes and we all accepted the fact that we were going home dirty. That made the day much faster and more fun.
I am already learning things that I will definitely take home with me. The locals share an attitude that can only be described as: do what needs to be done, with a smile. While we were carting bags of cement the long way around the water and mud, they simply hoisted the hundred pound bags onto their shoulders and walked through waist deep water laughing at us. After a few trips the long way I said why not, and followed them in. I hope when I go home I can bring their attitude with me. I’m sure they have much more to teach me, so I will be working on my Spanish so I am able to listen.
Now I’m (temporarily) clean and dry and about to eat another delicious Nicaraguan meal. I feel accomplished and am already anxious to start again tomorrow!
Reflections by other teens from Monday, July 8 (day 2, traveling from Managua to El Castillo):
Josie Toubin: Today was our second day on the trip. We arrived in Nicaragua last night and quickly had to adjust to the new, strange culture. I was expecting Managua to be a somewhat modern city but was surprised by the cinderblock buildings that seemed to be everywhere. As we drove through the country today I continued to be shocked by the poverty. We saw countless thin cattle walking along the highway as well as many other sad looking animals. As we traveled on our 3 hour boat ride, my appreciation for everything we have in America grew and grew. I cannot wait to begin our service work tomorrow as I know I will truly be making a difference on this developing country.
Spencer Miller: Today was a long, tiring day. I fell asleep 4 times, and made friends with Rico, our bus driver’s son. We were listening to music on my iPod when we both fell asleep. He ended up leaning on my shoulder! Tired. #laxislife
Rebecca Kruger: I had an amazing first day! Even though the traveling was tough, it was worth it. I’ve already become close with my tripmates. I hope to become immersed in the culture and learn about and aid the local community.