Archive for the ‘SchoolBox Trip’ Category

It was an early start at Hotel Los Pinos in Managua, Nicaragua as I was up at 3:50 to head to the airport for a 6:05 am flight. It was time to say good by to Hector, David and our driver Franklin as I began my trek back to Bancroft. The first flight was just a short haul of 50 minutes to San Salvador and then a short lay over (just enough time to walk from one end of the airport to the other to catch the flight back to Toronto. I had never flown Avianca before, but I must say I am really impressed with the planes, and crew. The plane was a newer plane with at your seat entertainment and usb ports for charging your devices. Their in flight entertainment system uses the 2 pronged head sets, but don’t worry about having to fork out money, as they are also complementry. There is a lot of leg room and i didn’t feel crammed in like I did on my last flight with Air Canada Rouge. was a great flight with full in flight service. They even provided a small snack and drink service on the short 50 minute flight. The flight from San Salvador included breakfast of your choice of omelette or a ham and cheese sandwich. The omelette was pretty good. They also provide complementary drink service including alcoholic beverages. I will definitely be considering Avainca for future flights to Central or South America.

Once landing in Toronto, it was off to catch the Union-Pearson Express, I order to catch my train back to Belleville where I made the very familiar drive back to Bancroft. Now it is time to rest up and prepare for my next adventure in January when I head back south to Central America to have some fun in Costa Rica.

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We spent our final day here in Nicaragua being tourists and checking out some great spots in Masaya and Granada. We were lucky enough to visit a guitar maker that makes his guitars completely by hand. After a quick stop there we were off to the museum of chocolate in Granada. Here we were given a tour and a chance to sample some of the products including the chocolate rum, a tea made with the shell of the cocoa bean and a version of Bailey’s. Everything was delecious! From there it was of to lunch at Villas Mombacho beside the lake. At this restaurant you also have a view of Ometempe Island and the volcanos there. A truly remarkable spot. We had eaten here the last time I was here and I am glad we returned again this time. In a small village outside of Masaya we visited the home of a potter and were even able to try our hand at spinning the wheel (with your foot) and making a bowl…. the host did say that the bowels we made would not be fired and would be recycled, maybe a comment about our workmanship. Before heading back to Managua for a final dinner with the school box team, we hit the market in Masaya. If you do plan on visiting the market here, I strongly suggest visiting late in the afternoon as it isn’t crowed by the other tour buses from the ships and coming up from Costa Rica. We capped the day off by a final farewell dinner at the SchoolBox offices. This was a dinner full of laughs and emotions as we had a chance to speak about and share our thoughts on the trip with the whole SchoolBox team. It has been a great 10 days here in Nicaragua. Ten days full of fun, laughter, tears and reflection on how lucky I am for the opportunities that have been provided to me and the responsibility I have to do what I can to make the world a better place.

Yesterday we visited a beautiful little organic cafe just outside of Esteli where there is natural water purification and all sorts of amazing plants. 

The highlight of the day was a hike through the Nicaraguan countryside to a place where a 70 year old has been working  for 40 years on carving the stone on the mountain side. Other than the work at the school this is a definite highlight of this trip. 

Today we are off to Granada for a chocolate tour, Masaya for pottery and markets. 

Yesterday we visited the first Equator Coffee sponsored school high in the mountains in San Antonio in Northern Nicaragua. It’s a small one room school without electricity in the coffee growing area. Most of the families work in the coffee industry.  

We also visited small family run coffee washing stations and had coffee high in the mountains of Nicaragua. We visited a small family plantation and picked about 1/2 a bucket of coffee beans amongst 7 people in about 10 minutes.  A full bucket would be 40 Cordoba or about  $1.60 Canadian. The workers picking the coffee usually pick about 7 buckets in about a 6 hour working period. They then fill up a big bag and carry it to the wash station. This goes on daily during the harvest season.

  We also visited an organic experimental farm where they experimenting how to grow crops organically. Coffee tress were growing amongst banana trees and cocca plants, pineapples with the idea of the crops being harvested at different times in the year to allow for consistent income.

Carrying a bag of coffee from the trees to the washing station