Apr 14, 2015

Our latest volunteer interview

Our latest volunteer interview with Lina Geßner from Germany. 
Lina cuddling with a child


 - How did you find out about La Esperanza?
After finishing school I wanted to take a year off to travel and had a particular interest in Central America and learning Spanish. Per coincidence I knew someone who also worked with Esperanza as a volunteer two years ago.

- What is your current volunteer role with La Esperanza?
At the moment I am working with preschoolers in the morning. Because they are only 3-4 years old I play, draw, sing, read, exercise and joke around with them and just try to keep them happy, which luckily is not very hard. After preschool has finished I usually work in the first grade and help them the last hour of school with their exercises or I work one-on-one with one of them if they have difficulties with keeping up in school. Because I have been with Esperanza since December I was lucky to also work in Summer school, which was awesome! In Summer school there are no teachers, because it is during the summer break. It was just us volunteers and the ayudantes. So we were in charge and could decide what we wanted to do and plan our own lessons. In those two months I worked with first graders which are now second graders and I absolutely loved it! I am really glad that I could work in ´normal´ school and summer school, because they are two very different experiences but both are super fun.

- Describe how a day of working looks like.
I meet with the other volunteers at 6:50 and together we walk to our school. It is a 40 minute walk which in the beginning was really exhausting, but you got used to it quickly. Walking back around noon is more uncomfortable because it is 34° Celsius (93° Fahrenheit) in the bright sun. Arriving at school you will be greeted by the kids. After that I work with the little ones to 10:30 and then make my way to the first graders. The most fun part of the day is probably the break time where you can really get to know the kids and just have fun together.

- What has been your worst experience working as a volunteer at La Esperanza so far?
I guess when a kid lives in a bad family condition and they tell you about it and you realize that you can’t change everything and can’t always help them the way you would like to. That makes you feel a bit helpless.

- What has been your best experience working as a volunteer at La Esperanza so far?
I think I do not have a particular favorite moment. Every day is fun and lovely. I think my favorite part is just the connection I have made with some of the kids over the past 6 months and I totally fell in love with some of them. Every day I do look forward to see them. I am so scared of the day where I actually have to say goodbye and have to leave them. I guess I did not expect how attached I would get to them and how much they get used to you. Every day I see my preschoolers and my kids from summer school, I see them in the break time so I have known some of them a long time. The do give you so much and you can learn a lot from the! It is lovely to see how happy they are, when you give them your attention and their proud look on their faces when you tell ‘well done!’ And it’s the most wonderful feeling when they shout your name and run up to you to give you a hug.

- Have you done some trips during the weekend? Did you like them?
Yes I have done a lot of them!
I went to Léon, Laguna de Apoyo, San Juan del Sur, Playa de Coco, Playa Gigante, Las Peñitas, Estellí, Matagalpa, Isla de Ometepe, Masaya and The Corn Islands. I have also spent a week in Costa Rica and after working with Esperanza I will travel to Guatemala and Cuba. It is great how you can reach some places quiet fast so they are perfect for weekend trips and of course it’s a great way to get to know the country.

- What do you like less about Nicaragua?
I do not like the catcalls, whistling and honking from the men and just their attitude towards women. Of course not all of them! And just the attitude that we as ‘gringos’ are so rich. And of course the heat sometimes, which is especially bad in March and April.


- What do you like most about Nicaragua?
Unless the attitude of some people, I really like most of the people and the whole feeling of living here. It is very ´tranquilo´ (relaxed) and easy going which I like a lot. Every day feels like you are on holiday. I really like that you can get street food basically everywhere you go and that you can eat delicious fruits for so cheap daily as well. I think my favorite Nicafood is ‘Nacatamal’ so make sure to check that out! And I really like the diversity of this country
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