The main part of our trip to Nicaragua is spent at CICRIN, an orphanage on the island of Ometepe, in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. The orphanage is run by Hellen Elizondo, who moved from Costa Rica to Nicaragua to live out her passion for helping the Nicaraguan children. In previous years we did different work projects; varying from helping build gabions (big rock baskets) to prevent erosion, painting buildings, helping out in the kitchen and anywhere else we were needed. Most afternoons and nights are spent resting and just spending time (and attempting Spanish conversations) with the kids. A few nights we go into the community, mostly working with the orphanage's local church. One night we go to the church to give manicures and hand massages. There we get to know the people of the community and enjoy a night of fun. We leave the orphanage with a better understanding of the culture as well as a love for the people of CICRIN.
Throughout the week we also have the chance to explore parts of the country. In the past we have hiked part of a volcano on the island up to a spectacular 300 foot waterfall, eaten pizza with backpackers hidden in the Nicaraguan forests, and so much more. But, while we enjoy these breathtaking moments, we also see the poverty that covers much of the country and the shocking differences between our cultures. We hope to maintain our relationship with the kids and Hellen at CICRIN, and continue to help, as well as learn from, the people of Nicaragua.
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