As this week comes to an end, the following phrases have now been reiterated by both Nicas and Brits:

Brits: “Where has the time gone?!”, “I don’t want to leave”, “How are we going to cope?”, “Can we take the Nicas and our host families with us?” and “Do you reckon we’ll have any alcohol tolerance after three months dry?”

Nicas: “Are you going to miss us? We will miss you!”, “I’ll cry when you leave” and “Can you take me with you to London?” 

The first question about time couldn’t be more accurate, the time has flown here between construction, community events and enjoying what we can of the local Nicaraguan culture.

This week was no different as between water filter construction, the Progressio staff’s last visit to Parcila and cross-cultural events with our Nicaraguan counterparts, week eight seems to be non-existent.

However, before writing about week eight, I thought I’d talk a little about last Sunday where, as a treat from the Progressio staff, we were allowed to go on an excursion to the waterfall nearby. Sometimes you need to recharge your batteries after a busy week and last Sunday was the perfect excursion for doing just that. The day began at 6:45am, ideal for a typical Nicaraguan Sunday where the sun shines brighter than a headlight on a pitch-black motorway.

We were advised the hike would be three hours each way, therefore “sufficiente agua” was needed (along with the standard Pepsi).

The walk was mesmerising and quite therapeutic for some who needed a change of scene and, while the day was hot, we were lucky to have a cool winter breeze accompany us.

After three hours of walking (easy for some, others gasping for air) the ice cold waterfall was refreshing to say the least. Being able to take in the idyllic scenery and contemplate the last two months with both Brits and Nicas was interesting and memorable. 

Sitting on a rock by a Central American waterfall eating beans and rice cooked happily and lovingly by our host mother is not something any of the UK volunteers can say happens every day, and it was clear this day and moment would be well remembered by all.    

It’s safe to say the Monday that followed most volunteers were slightly worn out, however our talk to the water filter beneficiaries was the main event of the agenda and I am happy to say it went well.

Tuesday was spent preparing for the Progressio staff’s visit, as well as English lessons. The English lessons have probably been one of my happiest moments here. We started this just four weeks ago and attendance continues to remain moderately high with attendants becoming regulars. They all come on their own accord and working with their eager minds is quite invigorating. 

Wednesday was the Progressio staff’s visit, which was busy as the day started at 6:30am. The day started with a lunch for various influential members of the community, all the volunteers, the four host families and Progressio staff. 

My house was host to this lunch and it was quite a beautiful sight. As my house has quite a big garden space in front, the area was decorated with tables and chairs, balloons and crepe paper, as well as my host family’s 20 grandchildren to entertain and keep away the various farm animals who made their presence known.

The day was slightly emotional as this was the last time this event would occur with Progressio. The four host families were given a gift by the team (I still don’t know what it is) and touching farewell speeches and culture exchange events were performed. The rest of the day was spent at the local school with piñatas, cakes and sweets.

Thursday was spent preparing materials to construct the water filters, a rather tiring process however when it has been constructed it will be worth it.

We have just two weeks left here and we are now wrapping up everything we have done. This will give the team some time to reflect on the work we have done here and hopefully everyone can be proud of what has been achieved.

Until next week! 

Written by ICS volunteer Pradeep (Pepe) Karnani