Jan 8, 2016

Summer Morning at Nueva Esperanza

One of my roles as the Communications & Promotions Volunteer for La Esperanza is to visit the work sites and take photos of what might be going on.  Today was special in that there were so many different projects happening in the Nueva Esperanza community.   

First stop was to visit volunteers Bridget & Stefan (from Germany) and Peter (from the United Kingdom) who were building a new house for a family.  Every year, the students that have met their academic goals and have successfully kept up their attendance, get entered into a lottery to receive home repairs or a new home for their family.  The Sevilla Mercado family was one of the winners this summer. This family of four includes mother, father and two daughters.  One of the girls is in 5th grade at Nueva Esperanza and the other is enrolled in special education courses at Vicente Paul School.   When we visited, the family and their friends were helping the volunteers by laying concrete blocks and rolling wheelbarrows full of materials over to the house.  The mother of the family was beaming as she watched her new home come to life before her eyes.

Then I headed back to the school for my main mission of the morning - to size the students for uniforms with my fellow volunteers and the ayudantes. This was definitely a good test of my knowledge of numbers in Spanish.  Thirteen numbers per student were called out to me for transcription - 7 measurements for each set of pants and 6 for each shirt.   The kind tailor, Luis, that I was working with was very patient with my Spanish and made sure to double check that all my "sesentas" were 60s and my "setentas" were 70s in my notebook. When we were done with all the measuring, Luis took the list of sizes with him where he will personally sew each uniform to fit the new high school student.  These new uniforms are just one part of what a scholarship covers when a student is sponsored by a generous donor.  We do have a dozen more students who still need to be sponsored this year in order to go on to high school.  If that might be something you could consider doing, please contact La Esperanza if you'd like more information on the scholarship program. 
When we finished sizing, I got a few minutes to chat with students visiting from Westfield State University in the United States.  This is the school´s sixth trip out to Granada to serve with La Esperanza.  Currently they are working on a project to build a new classroom at the Nueva Esperanza primary school.  This is not work for the lighthearted – they were diligently digging holes, carrying large buckets of water, and painting beams in the hot sun.  It will be excellent when the project is finished to have more spaces for the children to learn in.   

In addition to all the special projects going on, the hard-working volunteers were busy conducting summer school classes at the school. The volunteers and ayudantes who had put together their lessons prior to the classes this morning, were carrying them out.  One project of particular interest to the students this morning was the science lesson on volcanoes.  The children created volcanoes that really erupted with the help of a secret ingredient (psst…it was vinegar)! 

Tomorrow I will be leading a tour (which we offer every week for those interested!) and I know I´ll be proud to take visitors to our school where so much good is being accomplished.

-Blog submission by Jenny Tatum, La Esperanza Communications and Promotions volunteer from the United States - September 2015 to March 2016

Jan 4, 2016

Interview with Volunteer Daniel Munns Entrevista con voluntario Daniel Munns

Dan (far right) with some of his office team members - Karen, Jenny and Donald

Dan is originally from the United Kingdom but has lived in Korea and Mexico before arriving in Granada, Nicaragua.  He has volunteered in the office with La Esperanza for 3 months.  He answered inquiries of incoming volunteers and perfected his written Spanish through lots of translating of blogs, orientation information, and website posts. He´ll be heading back to Mexico at the end of this week.   

Dan es de Inglaterra pero ha vivido en Corea y Mexico antes de llegar a Granada, Nicaragua. Ha sido voluntario en la oficina de la Esperanza por 3 meses. Ha contestado muchos correos de nuevos voluntarios y ha mejorado su español escrito por traduciendo nuestro blog, información de orientación y las publicaciones de nuestra página web.

How did you find out about La Esperanza?
Como encontraste sobre La Esperanza?
A friend told me about the organisation in Mexico and then I looked it up and it sounded like a good place to work. I was working with another educational charity in Mexico before and I really enjoyed it. I came to Nicaragua to try out a new place, culture etc.
Un amigo me dijo sobre la organización en México y la busqué por el internet. Me intereso mucho y me pareció un buen lugar para trabajar. Trabajaba con una otra organización educacional en México antes y lo disfrutaba mucho. Vine a Nicaragua para probar un nuevo sitio, cultura etc.

What is your current volunteer role with La Esperanza?
Cual es tu trabajo voluntario con La Esperanza?
I work in the office doing communications and promotions.
Trabajo en la oficina haciendo promociones y comunicaciones.

Describe how a day of working looks like.
Descibe un dia trabajando en la oficina, mira como.
Get into the office at 9 and answer lots emails. Generally, I deal with new volunteers and their application process. However, we deal with lots of other things in the office from handing out flyers for our tour to bagging up raffle prizes for the students for special events. Depending on the work we finish at midday or 1pm. Normally, I go for lunch with the other volunteer in the office Jenny after work.
Llego a la oficina a las 9 y contesto tantos correos. Generalmente, lidio con los nuevos voluntarios y sus procesos de aplicaciones. Sin embargo, hay mucho trabajo diferente en la oficina. A veces, distribuimos folletos de nuestro tour y organizamos premios para los niños de las fiestas en la escuela. Depende del trabajo, terminamos al mediodía o a la una de la tarde. Normalmente, almuerzo con la otra voluntaria de la oficina Jenny después del trabajo.

What has been your worst experience working as a volunteer at La Esperanza so far?
Cual ha sido tu peor experiencia trabajando como un volunatario en La Esperanza?
I haven't really had any bad experiences working in the office. The people in the office are all good fun and I never dread going into work.If I was going to complain about something it would probably be answering emails about information that is already on our website.
De verdad, no he tenido experiencias malas trabajando en la oficina. La gente de la oficina es divertida y nunca me temo ir a trabajar.Si, iba a quejarme sobre algo, probablemente contestador preguntas cuando de la información está en la página web.

What has been your best experience working as a volunteer at La Esperanza so far?
Cual ha sido tu major experencia trabajando como un volunatario en La Esperanza?
I've probably enjoyed most going into the schools at different points for parties etc. and seeing what the organisation does firsthand. This is a normal experience for most volunteers as they work in the schools but I've only been able to do it a few times. However, I'm not complaining about this because I've worked with children a lot in the past and wanted to do something different this time round.
Probablemente, lo más que he disfrutado es ir a las escuelas en algunos días para fiestas especiales etc. y ver lo que hace la organización en vivo. Es una experiencia normal para la mayoría de los voluntarios porque trabajan en las escuelas pero yo solo he pedido tener la oportunidad pocas veces. No obstante, no me quejo de esto porque he trabajado con niños antes y quería hacer algo diferente esta vez. 
Enjoying a presentation at Nueva Esperanza Secondary School 

Have you done some trips during the weekend?
Has hecho algunos viajes durante los fines de semana?
Generally, no. To support myself while I'm here I've been working online and Sunday is a busy day for me. I have been able to take a few trips on long weekends when I've taken time off from my other job. However, this is in stark contrast to most of the volunteers who go away almost every weekend.
En general, no. Para apoyarme durante mi estancia aquí he estado trabajando en línea y domingo es un día muy ocupado para mí. He podido tomar unas vacaciones largas cuando no he tenido trabajo por los fines de semanas. Al contrario, la mayoría de los voluntarios viajan cada fin de semana.

What do you like the least about Nicaragua?
Que te gusta al menos acerca de Nicaragua?
This is difficult because I don't think you can talk about the whole country, especially since I've only lived in Granada. I'll tell you what I liked least about Granada.
For me the thing that I've found most difficult is making friends with locals. I feel that because this is such a touristy town and there is a large expat population there is quite a divide between the locals and foreigners. I really wanted to improve my spoken Spanish and assumed I would meet lots of Nicas but that hasn't happened as much as I would've liked.
Also, even though the town is large and has quite a large population, after dark you are really restricted to a few streets in the centre of town. At times I've felt a little boxed in and got bored of the bars quite quickly. I think this affected me more than other volunteers because I spent most weekends in the city.
Esto es difícil contestar. Yo no creo que se pueda hablar de todo el país, especialmente porque solo he vivido en Granada. Les diré lo que me gusta al menos sobre Granada.
Para mí la cosa más desilusionante es hacer amigos con los Nicas. Siento que es un pueblo muy turístico y hay una población de extranjeros muy grande y por eso hay una división entre los Nicas y los extranjeros. Quería mucho mejorar mi español hablado y asumí que conociera muchos Nicas pero eso no paso como tanto me hubiera gustado.
También, aunque la ciudad y la población son bastante grandes, después de atardecer estas limitado de unas calles en el centro. A veces, me sentía un poco atrapado y ya me aburrí de los barres. Creo que esto me ha afectado más que los otros voluntarios porque pasaba la mayoría de mis fines de semanas en la ciudad.  

Spending time with fellow volunteers after work 

What do you like most about Nicaragua?
Que te gusta mas sobre Nicaragua?
It is a stunningly beautiful country. Getting outside the city is amazing and I'm really looking forward to doing a bit of travelling when I leave. There is so much to do and see. Also, I love rum and the fact that a litre of one of the best rums in the world costs 6 pounds is great.

Es un impresionante y hermoso país. Saliendo de la ciudad es increíble y no puedo esperar hasta que pueda viajar un poco antes de irme. Hay tantas cosas a ver y hacer. También, me encanta Ron y cuando un litro de uno de los mejores rones del mundo cuesta 6 libras, es genial.