Today was our first day actually doing community service. In the morning, we went to El Pantanal, where we were to begin making the Adobe bricks. Besides it being a very labor intensive activity and despite the heat, it was a great learning experience for us. It brought to light the differences between the United States and Nicaragua. It also made us ponder about how privileged we are to live in large houses with roofs and air conditioning.
In the afternoon, we went hiking up the Mombacho Volcano, just outside of Granada. Even though everyone was exhausted, a form of excitement bubbled inside of me. This trip is very special for me because not only is it the first time that I've ever left the United States, but it is also my first time visiting my mom's home country. Just being in the same country where my mother grew up has already started giving me an insight into my heritage. The people, the food, the culture are things that I've experienced almost my entire life, but now to see it all around me makes me feel at home somehow. Despite the heat, and all of the work, I eagerly sat on the two buses that we took to the top until we met our guide. He took us through a short, but physically draining hike, around different points of the volcano. I found myself awestruck by the sheer beauty of my Bella Nicaragua.
Tomorrow, we will head back out to El Pantanal to work on making the muddy mixture that is used to make the Adobe bricks.