Dulles. 3:25 a.m. 7 March 2009. The “first team” has assembled and we’re waiting to board Taca Airlines. By 6:30 we’ll be in San Salvador; and at 9:30 Managua, Nicaragua. We’re all a little giddy from lack of sleep and the excitement of the travel, the project, and the experience. Nine of us are on this flight. The remaining five come tomorrow. By the time they arrive, we’ll have counted and sorted vitamins and over-the-counter meds, arranged local transportation, and made final arrangements for travel to Ocatal. We arrived in jeans, sweats, and boots; already shorts and sandals are surfacing in anticipation of 95 degree Central American sun.
These are W&M students: some have started (or resumed) their studies even now: a chemistry worksheet; a required novel – and discussions of upcoming exams. The plane is on time and we’re off to San Salvadore!
We arrived in Managua at 9:30 a.m., flying over active volcanoes on our way to Lake Nicaragua. Some of the Students for Healthy Communities (or, Nicamiga/os) were awake to see it. Others, not so much. We have settled into hostel. At 4pm, we will meet with our Nicaraguan physician, who will bring the medicines we’ve purchased. We’ll spend the night counting and sorting pills, preparing our “pharmacy.” Tomorrow is a long drive through the countryside to Ocatal, which serves as our home base. We’re there at night and up in the mountains, in the Cuje district during the days. Those of us who are returning are eager to see old friends and to reclaim our view of area that has become an important place of identity for us. Gabi Arias (’11, 2nd year) has navigated, managed logistics, and kept us on course. Sarah Goldman (09, 3rd year and co-leader) is our purser, spiritual guide, and cheerleader. We’re eager for our teammates to join us tomorrow and to get on to the work ahead.
Next report from Ocatal.