Monday, January 28, 2008

Learning English IS FUN!

Guess what? we are in the paper.
Its true. A photo even. You have to look really hard to find Jeff. He´s all the way in the back next to the drunk guy wearing a hat crooked throwing the metal sign in the air. Where am I? I´m at the store down the block with 8 students buying chips. Ya, we missed the fame for chips!

We spent 2 weeks living in Managua and working at a summer English immersion camp sponsered by the US Embassy. It was soooo much fun. There were 10 of us volunteers and almost 100 students, along with some Nicaraguan English teachers. It was the best experience that we have had so far teaching English, for us and the kids. Because it was total immersion, the students learned a lot in 2 weeks and improved what they already knew as well. The students were from all over Nicaragua. As volunteers, we got to recruit students from our schools. 5 students from my school and 1 from Jeff´s came to the camp. The students were then seperated into 3 basic groups and 2 intermediate groups. 4 of my students tested into the intermediate group, which made me proud. Here is me and my 5 students, plus one. They don´t look happy, but really we were having fun.
In the mornings, they had 3 classes, each 1.5 hours. I taught American Culture class with Caitlin and Jeff taught Speaking and Listening with Paul. Below is Jeff teaching about time.
In the afternoons we had sports or we went on fieldtrips. Here is Jeff with his fieldtrip group.
They also had homework time at night before dinner. The last night we had a talent show where the kids could show off. After that, there was a dance party, obviously. Here are 3 students who did some songs in Spanish. They´re really dressed up. I don´t think that American kids would dress like that to camp. Just a guess.
The last day was a ceremony where the US ambassador came to give out certificates. Then, just like regular camp, there were a lot of tears. Here are all of the teachers, coordinators, and the US ambassador (he´s the really tall guy in the back)

Friday, January 11, 2008


Starting with Christmas we began a 2+ week vacation with various people, including other volunteers, my dad, brother, and my mom. It was a nice break from everyday life in Chinandega and an opportunity to show my family,whom I had not seen in about 16 months, what Nicaragua is like. We traveled from Chinandega and the beaches up here and near Managua, to Granada and Volcán Mombacho, to visit my host family and buy some pottery in San Juan de Oriente, and down to the Laguna de Apoyo, among other places. Other than a few "traffic fines" paid to the local police (Remember, when you get into an accident here, you don´t get hurt, you die! Right, Andy?) and some missing luggage, I think everyone enjoyed seeing where we work and live. Plus, they got a chance to leave the cold and snow of Minnesota and Washington D.C.!

The first of two visits to Montelimar. This one for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Mellisa, Caitlin, and of course, Jenny. Talk about a different Xmas than what we are used to in Minnesota. Instead of snow we had pools and beaches and all the food and drink we wanted!

At the pool at Puesta del Sol Resort on the beach north of Chinandega with my dad, brother, and Jenny.

My dad, brother and I enjoying our balcony at Puesta del Sol.

Back in Chinadega in front of our house with my mom,Amy, Caitlin, and Caitlin´s mom who was also visiting.

My mom and I in front of the sign for Volcán Mombacho beforing we rode to the top. It was raining all the way up this very steep road to the top, I think that was only the second time I was ever really cold in Nicaragua.

Jenny and my mom looking out at Lake Nicaragua below from one of the viewpoints near the top of Volcán Mombacho.

Jenny, who is known for her love of church interiors in Nicaragua, standing inside her favorite in Granada when my mom was here.