When I started to write about Somoto and my volunteering, I realized that it is not so easy to put everything in a text. Alone in the first two weeks has already happened so much! I have tried it and hope to give you a little insight into my life and my voluntary service in Nicaragua.
Nicaragua and its inhabitants
Nicaragua is a country with about 6 million inhabitants, one sixth of which lives in the capital of Managua. From Managua it is 4 hours by bus to the northern small town of Somoto. There I’m sitting straight and typing this text. Somoto itself is said to have 15,000 inhabitants. The inhabitants are all so far open encountered and are super helpful.
An example: On the second day in Somoto, I am on the way to the project to La Playa. One of the project leaders explained to me the day before. So I run through the streets in the morning and walk straight in the wrong direction, without realizing it. Only after countless minutes is it strange to me and ask people on the road for help.
Without GoogleMaps, without a smartphone, without digital help – you hardly believe it – I get to the goal! With the help of people. You ask where you are going, what you are doing there and explain the way to you.
The inhabitants of the Corn Islands, which I visited recently, seemed to me not very friendly in contrast to the mainland.
ProNut – the project
- 2 project managers: Lastenia & Francis (social worker)
- 40 kids (between 3-12 years)
- Project goal: Catering the children with a hot meal each day
- Location: La Playa, Somoto, Madriz, Nicaragua
You can imagine a typical day sequence as follows:
- 9 am: I take a taxi or bus to La Playa (15-30 minutes). The mothers get together to cook for the kids. The ground is wiped and tables are put up.
- 11 am: The children arrive. We play, learn and make artwork.
- 12 pm: There is food that the mothers have prepared. Afterwards, you will continue playing, learning or making artwork.
The times are always different and it is not a certain time eaten and the children come and go when it suits them. The first are usually already at 10.30 clock and the last one around 12 clock. Each day is organized spontaneously.
After a week I worked with Lastenia, the second project manager, to work out a plan for the coming weeks.
Wednesday: Painting / crafting
Thursday: English and various group work
Friday: Valuation of the week / chair circle / games
- Monday: Games
- Tuesday: homework
- Wednesday: Painting / crafting
- Thursday: English and various group work
- Friday: Valuation of the week / chair circle / games
My duties in volunteering
In the first few days I was not aware of my tasks. On demand I was always roughly explained what to do, but I did not receive specific tasks. So I just got started.
The kitchen is unfortunately not my work area, although I like to cook. There the mothers cook and Francis, the project manager. I look after the 40 children.
The number of children is enough for me. It’s like I have two school classes for myself. And that’s how it feels after project closing!
The small ones are sugary and are satisfied with a few pens. The bigger ones, however, want to learn, play and get to know each other.
It is exhausting to concentrate on a group and perform group work. The chaos is thus preprogrammed daily. It is not as in German schools or institutions. There are hardly any rules and the children come and go when they want. I had to get used to it quickly.
I also had to get used to how the families live. It is not easy to watch women work at 32 degrees in the shade of the well to get water for the kitchen. Through the weekly visits to the families I get a picture of how the families live. In part, the children live with one parent and other siblings in one room.
And yet the families are open minded, invite you to your home and offer their guests fresh coffee.
After three weeks in the project it is quickly clear that I am right here and the children and families appreciate my help.