July 26, 2013

Road Trip to Esteli

Just 4 Teachers HANDS Team:

Day three - It was an early morning. We were up at five to be loaded in the van for six.   Today, we were headed to Esteli, a rural school a few hours outside of Managua.   Emaus School was a pleasant surprise and so worth the trip.

First of all, it must have been 10° cooler, and the breeze was a welcome break from the heat and humidity of the city.  The teachers were scheduled to be at teacher training provided by the government, but several of the teachers chose to remain behind to meet us.  Reina, the vice principal, gave us a tour of their unique facilities. Emaus is one of the only schools that has a facility for physical education in the form of a very large pavilion set on a cement pad.  We eventually congregated in the computer lab which was a pretty impressive setup.  The five teachers that joined us, were very expressive in their love for their school and their students.  One told us the story of giving birth to her son, Joseph, three months premature. Doctors had told her that her child was dead, but God miraculously saved Joseph and returned him to her.  Today he is in grade 5 and a wonderful musician and singer.

We headed into the village for lunch, and the principal, Mercedes, and her staff joined us.  Mercedes told her story of wanting to retire but she was asked by her supervisor to remain in the position longer. She is in a lot of pain with her knees, but trusts God each day to give her what she needs to serve him wholeheartedly.  Her biggest challenge is the finances of her school. Families often do not have the monthly tuition, so each month, she and her assistant total the funds received, pay the Hydro and other bills, and see what's left. She pays the teachers first and often goes without herself.  She says that if she is the school leader and tells her teachers that God will provide, she must set an example. She has found that God is so faithful to ensure that she and her retired husband have what they need.

On our way to the inn in Matagalpa, we visited a coffee production plant. The highlight of the visit was seeing how one man with a very special nose and set of tastebuds is able to determine the quality of the beans brought in by the various local farmers.

When we arrived at the Hotel San Jose, the owner named Anibal, was very excited to show us not just the rooms, but the gardens and even his renovations. I got some great pictures of the village and mountains from the gutted second floor windows.  After dinner, we walked the streets of the village. They were really hopping! The feel of Matagalpa is very different from that of Managua. The energy is reminiscent of the resort towns back home.  I got my first exposure to a Nicaraguan grocery store but confess it felt an awful lot like a No Frills.

Back at the inn, I was able to get a hot shower and some news on CNN before turning in early.

Submitted by Jennifer Shoniker


Jul 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

My first HANDS trip was to Esteli. I loved it there! We worked in Emaus - worked on the computer lab among other things :) (this was before the pavilion)

warms my heart to read about baby Joseph!

I will keep Mercedes in my prayers.

Thanks for sharing!

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