Day 1 – Challenge 1: Navigating the Nicaraguan border
After presenting copious amounts of paperwork, showing our passports four times, and having the vehicle searched, we breathed a collective sigh of relief when we rolled across the Nicaraguan border a mere two hours later! Reaching our destination of San Juan del Sur, we rested for the night before continuing on to La Tunosa to meet the trekkers, X-Ray 2.
|Carina, Björn and Jen, San Juan del Sur|
Arriving in La Tunosa, we were greeted by the happy – and I should say, very clean - faces of X-Ray 2 who had reached their destination and had time to wash before our arrival.
|Teydi, HCV from Nicaragua|
|These boots are made for walking...|
Day 3 – The Charlies - Raleigh's ICS programme groups
We visited Charlie 2 in the community of La Quinta, Miraflor, where the group is putting the finishing touches to a water gravity system to bring fresh water to the community. As well as completing the gravity system, the group are working with the local community to ensure that the system is maintained in the long term.
In the afternoon we had to make an emergency trip into Esteli to replace a child’s football after it had met a tragic end under the wheel of Bravo 3! Luckily, a new ball was obtained and a smile was returned to the faces of the local children. Having spent the night with a local family, it was another early rise before continuing our journey to El Portillo.
Day 4 – X-Ray 5 and their water project: latrines!
Awaiting us at El Portillo, Achuapa, was the very lively X-Men 5s who are working in the community to build eco latrines. We caught up with the PMs Becky, Leanne and Istvan and learned that the group have also been engaging in other work such as planting trees and helping out in the homes of their host families.
|PMs Becky and Istvan|
Continuing onto San Nicholas, Achuapa, we arrived armed with a large amount of paint to enable Charlie 1 to decorate the community centre that they are currently building. The group are working hard and are determined to complete the large building on schedule. Having designed a beautiful mural for the outside, we are sure that it will look fantastic come the opening ceremony.
|Community centre, San Nicholas|
We headed to Cerra Negro Ranger Station to leave three large sacks of food in preparation for the trekkers’ arrival a few days later. The sacks contained delights such as macaroni cheese, pasta, tinned veg, biscuits and refried beans to ensure that the trekkers have the energy needed to keep going!
Cerra Negro is a volcano in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range in Nicaragua. It is the youngest volcano in Central America and as such is yet to grow vegetation, leading to its striking appearance and name meaning ‘Black Hill’. X-Ray 2 will scale the volcano as part of their trek and will no doubt return with some amazing photography to show for their efforts!
After spending one last night in Nicaragua, we headed to Cartago to rendezvous with the Logs Manager, Nick, so that I (Carina) could continue on with the Costa Rican road trip. Björn and Jen returned to fieldbase to be welcomed home with a delicious meal of Lentil Dahl and homemade bread.