Our group has settled into our home for the week, and we are immensely enjoying getting to know this town. Each day, we try new foods we’ve never tasted or even heard of before during breakfast at Nena Lodge, where we will be staying throughout our week here. We soak in the view of the Río San Juan while we eat lunch at Antonio’s restaurant on the water. We drink milkshakes at Jamil’s restaurant, where we eat dinner each night. During the day, we get our hands dirty, digging ditches in order to create a running water system for community members who currently must hike to a spring to bring water to their homes. Although the work is hard, we laugh alongside our new Nicaraguan friends as many of us butcher the Spanish phrases they teach us, and we marvel at the farm animals living casually around each home.
It has been a joy to watch our participants get to know each other throughout this week. Having only seven participants has allowed these teens to more intimately experience this town, especially since a few of our group members are fluent in Spanish and can easily facilitate communicating with the locals. Each night, we appreciate what others in the group have done for one another and share what we have learned that day, be it a new Spanish phrase or a factoid about life in Nicaragua.
This Shabbat, we will discuss our intentions in deciding to join this Mitzvah Corps Nicaragua trip and how our work here will be a tiny contribution to the goals of this community. We feel lucky to be a part of this project, but for now, we are excited to take a day to rest and recharge our batteries before getting back to work!
Abby and Sam
Mitzvah Corps Nicaragua El Castillo 2016 Program Staff