Being in Nicaragua, we were very fortunate to have internet without interruption for six days in a row. That ended on Wednesday afternoon so we were not able to keep up with things. We went to a restaurant near la Casa de Protocolo called Barbaro that had free wifi. We looked so geeky with all of us on our iPads! :-)
Thursday morning began at 3:30 a.m. for Mitzi as she headed to Des Moines for a conference. Beth, Kris and I went to Emily Sendin's non-profit school in Chacraseca. This is a rural subsistence farming community where the average family wage is $2/day. The students and teachers here were clean, well-dressed and eager to work. It was great to see a school with books and even creative materials.
Then went to La Paz Centro to visit the Special School. The students were being sent home at 11:00 so the teachers could prepare for a meeting the next day, but they were nice enough to stay for 10 minutes to let us observe their teaching. Then we were able to go to another school which also had no students, but the teachers were willing to complete surveys. Following that school visit, our driver surprised us by taking us to the Miramar Beach for 5 minutes. This is a well-known beach for surfing and vacations in March! On the way there, we saw many, many houses made with tin and old black trash bags right next to such a beautiful beach.
It was 12:40, and we still had not eaten! Around 1:15, we arrived at UNAN-Leon La Preppa for a meeting with the Dean of the college. There was no food that we could eat at the outdoor "student center" so we survived a little longer on Coke Zero and Oreos. After a very productive meeting with Francisco, the Dean of the College, we had one more place to stop. Boy were we exhausted and extremely hungry at this point----roughly 3:50pm. Our final school visit was at Los Pipitos, a Nicaraguan organization that supports children with disabilities. We did get to meet the one Speech Pathologist in Leon. Then, FINALLY, around 4:45, we sat down to eat at El Convento hotel. Our waiter must have thought we were starving and nearly ate all of the warm bread in the restaurant. :-)
After we were finished eating and walking along the streets of Leon, we ran into Ulises! This was the second time we randomly ran into him in the city. (We were avoiding going back to la Casa because Maria would expect us to eat again.) We had one last walk near the Cathedral before heading back to pack all the pottery and hammocks! Then, the real adventure began..... trying to communicate our plans to Maria ourselves in Spanish or with the Cuban who knew little English as our translator. We could only laugh!