Showing posts from January, 2011

Volunteering puts 'crisis' in perspective

Former volunteer CIARAN TIERNEY returned home to Ireland recently after five months in Central America, of which he spent ten weeks with La Esperanza Granada. Here he writes for his newspaper, the CONNACHT TRIBUNE, about his experiences in Nicaragua.

Not many people return home for Christmas with a heavy heart, but so rewarding was the experience of volunteering in Nicaragua over the previous three months that my feelings were mixed as I made the long journey back to Galway last month.
Volunteering in the Central American country, the final third of a wonderful gap year, proved to be one of the highlights of my life. It was amazing how the part of my career break which I had feared the most turned out to be the most rewarding.
Having become a professional scuba diver in Thailand and improved my grasp of Spanish in the Basque Country, I felt it was time to give something back in the final third of the year. But I had read so much about crime and poverty in Central America that I almost…

Summer school at Elba Zamora

Summer school is great because it is the time of the year where the volunteers get to be the classroom teachers. Instead of tutoring one on one, we have the chance to run lessons with a group of students, testing both our creativity and patience. For me personally, it is wonderful in the heightened consistency of both class content and student attendance as we are now "in charge", writes current volunteer NAVI MADRUGADA.

     A group of 7 volunteers take the chicken bus out on their daily route to Elba Zamora, arriving at 9 am to begin teaching summer school classes to the neighborhood children. They meet ayudantes Chilo and Belkys and begin the day.
     The volunteers have split into groups to work with different grade levels, currently with Sally and Sandra leading the 4th through 6th graders in one classroom, Lium, Matt and Lisa working with 2nd and 3rd graders in another classroom, and Francie, Lara, and myself (Navi) working with the 1st grade students outside.