Our latest volunteer interview

Name: Sarah Johnson
Nationality: American
Age: 21

I found out about La Esperanza through an internet website about volunteering in Central America. My role with La Esperanza was mostly working and helping in a first grade classroom. I helped teach English for about one month. But my biggest project there was raising money to build a new water fountain for the kids at Jose de la Cruz Mena. There was no water at the school for around two months, and it really bothered me that the kids had nothing to drink while sitting in the heat all day, so I worked with the organization to put together this quick project and build this so the kids will always have water at school. We raised enough money to also buy new chairs for computer class, and fix the broken swings for the kids to play on.

On a normal day we wake up early, eat a quick breakfast, and start walking to school. Once at school you are greeted by the kids who, despite it being 7:30 in the morning, are energetic and happy and ready to have fun. We work with the kids until around 11:30, helping the teacher with whatever she might need that day, or working one on one with the children who need a little extra help with things. We also get the opportunity to run around and play with them at recess, which is always fun. After walking back to the house, the volunteers hang out together, go out on day trips, or take some one time to get work done.

I don't know that I had any "bad" experiences. Some days were harder than others, and the whole time my school did not have water I was upset about that, but as long as you remind yourself why you are there, and lean on the other volunteers when you're not having the best day, things won't be too bad. I also don't know that I have had one best experience with the organization. I have had a lot of good days, and a lot of good moments. Every time one of my kids gets a new concept, or gives me a hug, it is another amazing experience.
The kids learn more slowly than what I'm used to so you have to embrace the little things. Hanging out with all the other volunteers and learning about the places they're from has been amazing also.

I have gone on trips to Laguna de Apoyo, Masaya, Leon, Ometepe island, Costa Rica, and other day trips around Granada. It is really easy to pack up and go for a quick weekend trip around the country, and there are almost always other people who want to go to the same places with you. All of theatrics have been great.

The thing I like least about Nicaragua is I don't like feeling almost violated because of some of the things the men on the streets would say, but it was all just words. It wasn't dangerous or anything like that. The thing I liked most is how beautiful the country is. I had never really thought about the country as a place I wanted to visit before I found this program, but now I would recommend to everyone to visit Nicaragua. It is a beautiful country, and everyone is so welcoming and nice, I can't wait to come back!


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