With journeys from the North of Nicaragua, the Pacific Coast and Costa Rica’s highest peak completed yesterday, the venturers and PMs are now back at fieldbase.
Yes ladies and gentleman after almost three weeks of hard work, laughter, challenges, team-building, up and downs, cultural exchanges, challenges and achievements, phase one is over!
And that can only mean one thing...time for the final blogs from our hard-working project comms officers. Alphas 3 and 4 and putting the final touches to their masterpieces so they will follow shortly.
The trek is finally over. Reaching the beach at the Pacific Ocean after a truly challenging 2.5 weeks is an amazing feeling with relief being pretty high up the list of emotions!
The mental challenge of the whole experience was very tough but as a team we have taken it as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves.
Physically the challenging of putting on wet gear everyday and coping with everything that mother nature could throw us was tough but how amazing it was to turn around at the end and say that we had done it!
It was brilliant to be part of a team of 12, coping with everything together and watching out for each other before finishing as a team. We also worked hard to motivate each other every day, with singing and games playing a big part! Over the trek we grew closer as a group, getting to know each other in some very tough situations.
Thank for your reading our blog updates. The trek has been an amazing experience and we’ll remember it in different ways but most of all...we did it!!
This is Alpha 2’s final report. Day 13 of our trek was a nice day. We had a relaxing day. Some of the team went for walk around the local area, while the rest had a very welcome day off their feet!!
After a restful day, it was back to work with a 30km walk! It was a long day, and a slight detour meant we had to walk an extra 3km! We didn;t think we would make our goal that day but as incredible as we are we made it! And it actually became one of oru best days because when we arrived in the village the inhabitants received with open arms. A family invited all of us into their home and gaver loads of coffee, juice, rice and beans, wraps and cheese. So that was an excellent end to a tough day!
The next day was and 18km day, we had to walk up a lot of hills but got to the rangers station in time. We were walking in the jungle and suddenly came to an open areas with a ranger’s station. There were scorpions in the building but adventurous as we are, they didn’t stop us from sleeping there. That night we had one of the most incredible sunsets we’d ever seen. We could actually see the Pacific Ocean so our final destinatyion was in sight. That gave us a real boost to push on.
Day 16 was a nice short day with only 4 hours walking with another rangers’ station to sleep in that night. However, a few of us fell ill during night. So we woke up later than planned and with 30km to walk that day and a few ill people, there was an obvious problem.
But the team pulled together and some people took extra weight to help the sick people with walking. It was the last day so everyone was determined to finish. As incredible as Alpha 2 is, we made it again. We arrived at our destination and that was an incredible, wonderful, amazing feeling. It was a beautiful beach with an amazing sunset.
When we woke up the next day, it was raining which we weren’t at all happy about! But we were lucky again because the sun finally came through the clouds and we had a delicious BBQ at the beach After a great day, we went to bed and had a great laugh on our final night as a group.
Alpha 5’s crazy community phase is now over and we’re back in fieldbase for changeover. Despite only having 6 working days in San Nicholas we managed to lay over 700m of water pipes, which we are told is a record. All our ditch digging has been to increase the quantity of water that the community will receive when, in the second phase, the pipes are connected to further houses, the school, church and health centre.
The water pressure and reliability will be improved and, essentially, the quality when the new filter is installed.
To relax after all our hard work, on our day off, we went swimming in another beautiful and impressive local waterfall. In Nicaragua, though, no such treats come for free, with an hour of clambering over rocks and crossing rivers to get to the secluded spot.
By Monday, it was time to say goodbye to the host families that had been so kind and hospitable to us. In the evening, we gathered together with all the families for dinner and a touching ‘fiesta de despedida’ (goodbye party). Wee enjoyed music and singing along to Don Brigido’s guitar before the majority of us slipped at the final cultural exchange with some pretty shaky versions of the English, Dutch and Costa Rican national anthems. Singing aside, the past week has been very successful with all of us adapting to and having a great time living and working in a community which is materially less developed than our own.
Although the goodbyes have been sad as strong bonds were formed, we are all excited about the fieldbase (belated) Halloween party and bonfire night before we head off on phase 2!
After 2 weeks here in Miraflor we depart with mixed feelings, sad to leave the families and the unfinished project but excited to see what the expedition will bring next.
With 4 days to go excitement flooded through the group as the first pillar was ser in cement. It was a great moment to see the youth centre finally taking shape after our efforts in transporting all the materials to the project site. Although slightly disappointed that we didn’t play a bigger role in building the centre we are confident that the next group will succeed in completing the project we are looking forward to the stories and the photos.
Alpha has ‘bonded as a group’ despite being so diverse. No matter how difficult the work, ‘we always tried to make the most of each day’. We appreciated the chance to experience family life in Nicaragua. Those who were struggling with the language barrier found other ways to communicate and interact. Waking up early to help mothers prepare breakfast, learning the art of tortilla patting, playing games, and singing songs, teaching and learning languages and going to church. It was a great cultural exchange for both the community and the venturers.
“It was a really good experience to have you in our house and to share our way of living.” Villager, Miraflor.
We are proud of what we achieved as a group and also on an individual level. Everyone will remember the first phase in their own way and for different reasons but we have seen it as a ‘sweeeet’, once-in-a-lifetime, eye-opening, touching, life-changing, amazing, back to basics, energising, beautiful, pura vida and crazy experience.
Rice and beans
The project teams (X-Rays) for phase 2 will be announced tomorrow morning (Friday) so the next blog will bring you all the news on that. Just a reminder, please remember to use the new project group names when you are posting comments from Friday onwards.
Until then, Pura Vida!