As our bus drove away from the Nicaraguan village of El Pajarito and the region of Achuapa, we all felt a tinge of sadness to leave our families and the community that had taken us into their bosom; however this was replaced by a tremendous sense of achievement and happiness at the new friendships we had formed and the work we had done.
The final few days in El Pajarito consisted of the completion of the remaining eco latrines, which was so satisfying when we saw the faces of the recipients. They all squeezed our hands and gave us the warmest hugs when the final bricks were laid and the roofs were added, and some made us delicious coffee and gave us lollipops to say thank you.
|PM Becky doing a spot of bricklaying|
|Lu Ying, our maestro and I after laying all these bricks in a day!|
The completion of the latrines was marked by a huge party on the final night hosted by the community leader Don Brigido and consisting of speeches, piñatas, dancing and singing to Nicaraguan songs and general merriment to culminate the project.
|X-Ray 5, AKA X-Men, partying with Stacey and Fiona|
Not only had there been tangible benefits to the community in the form of new toilet facilities made of bricks and mortar (mucho mucho bricks and mortar!), there were other less tangible but more meaningful benefits for both the community and us.
|Raleigh CEO Stacey Adams and Fiona Woolf with our maestro|
We walked away with new mums, dads, brothers and sisters, knowing more Spanish, how to milk a cow, how to make cheese and the knowledge that we had helped a community to become more sustainable, grow more crops, remain healthy and happy and learn about the wider world.
|Adam with Lizzie, Lu Ying and Gema's little sis!|
|Lizzie and Moy with some chums|
|Mi hermano y hermana|
So much more than just a loo!