Friday, 10 August 2012

Nica Chicas on Tour!

I have just returned from an epic girlie roadtrip to Nicaragua (epic in both distance and awesomeness) with my two Fieldbase chums, Amy and Becky, and our trusty Land Rover, Bravo 3. The Nica groups lucky enough for us to pay a visit were Romeos 2, 5 and 6 (12G) and Charlie 1 and 2 (ICS). Here’s the story of our little jaunt northwards...

Our journey began at first light on Thursday 2nd August. After a quick vehicle check (and the necessary handbag check, obviously) were carried out, we were off, away from the Turrialba rain and towards the somewhat hotter country of Nicaragua.

The drive went well, made endlessly more exciting with Pedro’s dubious music collection (just kidding Ped, thanks for the CD!) and some lovely chat with my fellow roadtrippers.

After a nightmare border crossing and short overnight stay in San Juan Del Sur, we finally arrived in El Pajarito on Friday at 3pm, to a prompt promised welcome from Romeo 5. We waited for a bit. And then a bit longer. At 5pm, the group finally arrived to our stern looks, which were quickly softened by big hugs, exchanges of news and a music festival in the nearby village of Lagartillo.

The next day we all arose to strong sugary coffee and an amazing gallo pinto breakfast cooked by Andy’s (one of the PM’s) mum, giving us the fuel to continue the hard work on the gravity water feed system. We helped to dig trenches and cover pipes with soil and then alas, our whistlestop trip had to come to an end – we had to get to the Romeo 2 trekkers for their food drop.

We drove a couple of hours to a nearby school, and as we turned the corner we were greeted by screeches and cheers and a brilliant welcome (we later learned to our disdain that this was for the food and not us)! The group were in fantastic spirits after having completed their days’ trekking in just 6-and-a-bit hours and were cleaner and fresher than we were! We stayed the night with them and had a dinner of pasta rations and Neil’s stash of Nutella on a spoon for dessert. 

After cruelly following the group down the road in the Bravo to take some pics, we headed off again the next morning to Charlie 1 in San Nicholas. Charlies 1 and 2 are the groups Raleigh have on 2 projects in Nicaragua as part of the International Citizen Service. You can read more about this on their blog here!

Here we ate even more rice, beans and tortillas (plus cake this time!) and stayed with the group’s families. Romeo 5 were just down the road, so as it was a rest day from work, Charlie 1 and Romeo 5 hooked up by a waterfall and we all relaxed together in the sunshine. A lovely day.

The next day we excitedly packed up the car again and headed the longer journey to Miraflor to see Romeo 6 and the school they have been working on. The progress they have made is just amazing, and when we arrived they were ready to put the roof on and lay the floor. We believe that since our visit they have done both, and painted the outside and are now painting a mural! Everyone was really well and settled in with their families and the work, and the group had also been teaching English lessons for even more community interaction.

Our stay here was unfortunately only one night and a few hours in the morning, after which we headed on the long journey home. On our way, we quickly climbed up Cerro Negro after a 2nd food drop to the trekkers there and ran back down - an exhilarating experience!

Now, being back and reflecting on our trip, it was amazing to see all those different groups in their communities. A well as the groups themselves getting on so well, and the amazing progress being made on the projects, the thing that impressed us the most was how much these projects seem to matter to the communities in which they’re happening. The welcome we received by all of the locals everywhere we went was absolutely incredible, and we all felt immensely touched. It just shows how important it is for Raleigh to keep running these expeditions, to benefit both the communities and also the participants - both tangibly in the form of a school or water system, and also and in terms of the relationships and memories formed and the positive impacts on the futures of everyone involved. 

These roadtrips are also crucial for us guys at Fieldbase to really understand what goes on and properly interact with the Venturers and VMs, and also bond at the same time! It was great to get out and have these fantastic experiences with 2 of my favourite ladies. Can’t wait for Phase 3!

1 comment:

  1. For Ta-Shanae Pitcher-Trott (Alpha 6, Romeo 1) Hi mamacita good news big daddy back when you get home even better news hell be much better we pray everyone sends there love we miss you continue to pray much cant wait for you to get home LOVE YOU MAMA XOXO



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