The program is based in Nueva Vida, a community that is part of Ciudad Sandino on the western edge of Managua. We stay in a compound that was once a local hacienda, consisting of the old ranch house serving as living quarters of the host community, and the International Training Facility (ITF) with its single large dormitory room we all share. It is surrounded by a wall, providing security and privacy. The ITF also has separate men’s and women’s restrooms/ showers, and a meeting room. (We occupy the same facilities used by the Bucknell Brigade when it visits.)
Conditions are much more basic than most of us are used to and we all will live in very close quarters. Everybody is expected to cooperate and contribute to the well-being of the entire group. That ranges from being positive about living in close quarters in a dormitory room to helping out in food preparation and cleanup for the group and Jubilee House Community, our hosts.
It also means a willingness to participate in a variety of service learning activities, some of which call for physical labor. Students have to look out for each other’s well-being, and have to be willing to accept such basic rules as applying sun lotion, using insect repellent, and drinking water during the day.
Meals are nutritious, combining Nicaraguan dishes (e.g. beans and rice) with a variety of fresh fruit, and American dishes. Meals are prepared by the Jubilee House Community and a Nicaraguan staff and are served cafeteria style in the ITF meeting room. Within the compound is also a swimming pool that offers welcome relief after a day in the tropical heat.
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