Nicaragua Educator Proposed Itinerary

At the heart of Central America lies Nicaragua, a breathtaking vision of verdant volcanoes and aqua marine lakes. Here the serenity of a quiet life in the mountains invites us to explore powerful idealism amongst innovative communities who share with us their inspiring approach to grass-roots development, including regenerative agriculture, music and theater for social justice, and local democracy in action. It is the perfect setting to train to cross-cultural experiential education.

Day 1-2 Coming together as a whole group in the gardens of Las Mercedes Hotel near the Sandino Intl. Airport, we take a moment to focus on tone-setting and arriving fully as a group before boarding private transport to La Garnacha, a small farming town based on the principles of sustainable agriculture in the northern highlands. Here we will start to workshop how to facilitate a student orientation, how to assess and manage risk, how to create a safe student container and how to engage the host culture with sensitivity. Additionally, we will brainstorm ways to frame a curriculum around global citizenship, awareness of self and leadership (GAL) to set students up for success and ownership on global programming. This orientation location also affords opportunities to tour a locally-managed organic coffee cooperative and a permaculture farm.
Day 3 From La Garnacha, we will travel by local transportation to the revolutionary hub of Esteli. Along the way we will discuss the benefits of “rugged travel” and workshop activities to facilitate and frame this component of a program.
Days 4-7 From Esteli we will travel on to the small, rural community of El Lagartillo, tragically affected by the war and currently implementing creative community-driven development projects. Here we will settle into a solo home-stay and begin our language studies with local teachers at the school Hijos de Maiz. We will also continue working on a community service project that was started by a group of Dragons students earlier this summer. This will afford us a unique opportunity to follow in the footsteps of a student group and not only experience what they did, but gain a deeper understanding of the cultural exchange that was facilitated. This will involve speaking to local family and community members to learn more about program sustainability, as well as gaining tools for facilitating successful home-stays, language learning and service opportunities. Our 4 days in this community will afford educators the additional opportunity to practice framing activities with briefings and debriefings that focus on extracting the most learning from cultural experiences.
Days 8-9 Heading south from el Lagartillo, we will pass through the town of San Marcos to visit Los Quinchos an organization that works with street youth in innovative ways to provide a higher quality of life and continue on to the colonial town of Granada. Here we will develop and practice activities for a transference curriculum that prepares us to not only successfully reintegrate our experience back home, but provides tools to do this for your own students. Additionally we will create a “tool kit” of lessons that can be used in your classrooms to highlight Global Citizenship, Awareness of Self and Leadership, not only drawing on what we have experienced in the field, but best practices that educators have successfully used before.