Nicaragua Travelogue: Reflections
I had the incredible honor of being one of the travelers on the inaugural partnership trip to Nicaragua. Last year this time, I had gotten hold of some really good Europe Travel Deals Discounts, and had been touring Europe. Upon arrival in the hot Central America sun I was immediately thrilled to be there. The airport was a buzz and it only added to my anticipation to get to our first destination. Up until that point my experience with the Spark staff had only been through email and phone but I already felt very welcome and part of the team. Spark’s enthusiastic CEO, Rich Johnson met us personally at the airport and we were off.
Beginning with a historic tour of the city was a great start to getting to know the area and the day was capped off with a wonderful welcome dinner, on a coastal open air restaurant, where we had the chance to meet all the the Las Tias staff and to hear more about the program’s beginnings. Of course, I was most excited to visit Las Tias the next day and to see the work up close. The children of Las Tias welcomed us all with big smiles, open arms and inquisitive minds. We had the chance for the next few days to see the amazing work Las Tias does, offering a daily healthy meal to each child, followed by creative, educational and cultural programs while not in their typical school settings. We played, we sang, we read, we studied. After two days in the young children’s facility we had the chance to visit the older student’s center and catch them while in class. Luckily we were happily allowed to disturb the lesson but only to present the group with their first computer station, made possible by our partnership and the successful fundraising efforts of the Spark Ventures team. The only disappointing time of our visits was when we had to say goodbye.
Outside of the onsite work with the children we had the unique eye-opening experience to visit the homes of some of Las Tias alumni. At these homes we saw first hand the life-long effects the programs are having in giving the young people of Nicaraguan communities more opportunity at healthy successful lives.