This place feels like home. It’s a strange thing to say, because I don’t usually sleep with a bug net over my bed, find geckos in my shower, or live on a tropical island. Yet, only two days into our stay at Ometepe, it feels like home.
After a delicious breakfast at the Hacienda Merida, we all began a morning’s worth of work in the school. My group began by working to build the foundation of the classroom which we will be working to complete during our stay. Two hours were spent conversing with the locals, and with each other, as we cut endless amounts of wire and constructed the support frame for the foundation. I’ve never really been an avid wire cutter before today, take my sore forearm for example. But with a group like this, I would cut wire endlessly.
After another tasty lunch at our hostel (don’t worry parents, it really is delicious; they aren’t making me say this), we spent the afternoon learning to make authentic tortillas, and then kayaked to Monkey Island. Well, the majority kayaked, and I ended up swimming for a bit (unintentionally). I had the pleasure of sharing a kayak with one of our course instructors, Amber. It was all fine and dandy, until I noticed we were taking on a bit of water. Then a bit more. And more. Next thing I knew, I was tossed into Lake Nicaragua and Amber came along with me. Since we were proximately ten feet from shore, and had our trusty guide with us, it was the most hilarious situation. Soaking wet and laughing, we paddled back to the our hostel.
Endless jokes, card games, and moments shared, the past few days with the group have been incredible. Tonight Esther, the principal of the Ometepe Bilingual School, arranged for us to have a bonfire on the dock after dinner. For hours we sat around the flame, and as it dwindled, our bonds with the locals only grew. The hours were spent laughing, their teaching Spanish games, our teaching English games. Words may get lost in translation, and grammar was most definitely incorrect. Yet the laughter I shared tonight with Esther, Esmerelda, Javier, and the rest of the locals makes me certain that although from different countries, we are not as different as we may think.
Tomorrow we will begin our work at the school officially, yet we have all been changing from the moment we stepped off the plane, from the moment we met, from the moment we decided to come to Nicaragua in the first place. I am at home here. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a game of cards to lose.