The program is based 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), otherwise known as the "dorm" where we live for the 3 weeks. The grounds are surrounded by a wall, providing security and privacy. (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 live in close quarters. We sleep in a dormitory room, use two common bathrooms with showers, and share a multipurpose room. Everybody is expected to cooperate and contribute to the well-being of the entire group. This ranges from being positive about living in one large dormitory room to helping out in after meal cleanups. 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 dorm multi-purpose room. We also insist that people drink the provided filtered water.
Within the compound is also a swimming pool that offers welcome relief after a day in the tropical heat.