Friday, April 15, 2011

Pool Time

This past week the pool was at full capacity, acting as a host to both a kid's English party as well as a women's exercise class.  Not only was it an escape from the immense heat that has settled in down here, but it was a treat to all of the community members who come and participate in our weekly programs.   

So first on Monday afternoon, program directors Megan, Steph, and Joanna hosted a pool party for one of the kid's English classes taught at Salero to reward them for their good behavior and steady attendance.  The pool was packed with about thirty-five kids, not including some of the moms and younger siblings that came, and because many do not know how to swim were all huddled into the shallow end.  Needless to say the leaders were kept on our toes for the entire event, but in the end everyone had a great time and walked away accident-free.  

Then the next day, Tuesday, the women's exercise class came over to have a day at the pool for themselves.  Led by program directors Steph and Megan, the afternoon was filled with water aerobics and exercises, a game of dance freeze, and some healthy snacks and hangout time.  All in all a beautiful event.  For many of the women this was the first time they had ever done or participated in any sort of pool exercise class, and so it was extremely rewarding for the directors be able to share it with them.  The hope is that this can become a more regular activity for the class, as the women really had a great time. 

Megan and Steph leading the women in some stretches holding onto the side of the wall. 

All of the women's exercise class in attendance. 

Shirley, who also joined us for exercise class.

A snapshot of kids excited to be in the pool.

Kid's English.

Monday, April 11, 2011


This past weekend all of us program directors and Amira traveled to Matagalpa for our annual staff retreat.  Leaving Friday morning we stayed in Selva Negra, which is an organic coffee farm and ecolodge located in the Northern part of Nicaragua.  Set right in the midst of rich forest, there were numerous hiking and walking trails to take advantage of, as well as a wide range of other activities to choose from and a delicious restaurant to dine in.  Whether we were hiking, reading, eating, or simply resting, it was wonderful to be able to relax in such an environment.   

It was not only nice to get out of the heat and get outdoors for a couple of days, but it was also great to be in each other's company and talk outside of the everyday busyness of programs.  As much as we do not want to admit it, our time here is quickly coming to a close and so it was nice to have a chance to discuss what the last couple months are going to look like.  BUSY is the only way to describe it.  Next week is Semana Santa, which is a holiday for us, and then only a couple of weeks until the first round of summer volunteers arrive, then the second round of summer volunteers, and then the new program directors, all pretty much in a row.  Manna Project is really unique in that part of its mission is to host these summer groups for a month at a time, offering them a chance to really take part in some of our work down here in Nicaragua and experience the culture first hand.  The hope then is that such an experience will inspire them to take back home with them a heart of service and an incentive to get involved elsewhere.  Needless to say these volunteers are a big investment and an important part of the organization.  So at dinner Friday night we spent time talking about our own personal roles in their adjustments and time here, and how we can be effective leaders.  All of the conversations were extremely positive, and even though the house is going to double in size for the last few months all of us program directors are looking forward to the new faces, helping hands, and fun experiences that are sure to come!

Small lake located in the center of the resort.

Joanna, Amanda, and Steph posing with some of the local flora.  

Megan, Steph, Will, Dane, and Zach posing for a picture on the trails. 

Entrance to the Selva Negra restaurant.