During Spring Break last year, two other Brentwood students and I were given the opportunity of a lifetime: a trip to Nicaragua to help strengthen and build a small fishing village that each year goes through many hardships. By the end of those 10 days, my life was forever changed by the people in the community as I saw with my own eyes the service that the Together Works Society has accomplished, and the projects that they hope to achieve in the future. As soon as I stepped foot onto Canadian soil after 24 hours of grueling travelling, I realized why Ms. Murtland goes to Jiquilillo twice a year, and I thought of how I would be able to get back as soon as I could.
Now, a year later, I have accomplished what I thought was a crazy idea at the time: I have gone back to the slice of heaven that is Jiquilillo, but, this time I went back with 16 other students. Together, we experienced the culture and activities that Nicaragua has to offer, all while making a positive difference in the lives of others. Over the course of 10 days, we released 400 baby sea turtles with the hopes of them surviving in the vast Pacific Ocean, took a tour of the Estuary Padre Ramos and learned of the importance of the mangroves that are being protected on 22,000 acres, hiked up and sledded down the Cerro Negro volcano, cooked soup for the community near the dump, El Limonal, walked the streets of León while learning about the history of the revolution, took surfing lessons back at Monty’s Beach Lodge, taught English, played baseball, and we spent many hours building houses in Villa Nueva Esperanza under the helpful direction of Bert.
Many students have declared that even two days in Jiquilillo exceeded their expectations and I am fairly certain that everyone is feeling how I feel and are wishing that we were all back in Nicaragua eating coconut bread and playing soccer on the beach with our new friends. I know that one day I will go back and see all of the accomplishments that the community has achieved, and I hope that others will give Nicaragua a chance to change their lives, as it has mine.
Jade M, Allard ‘17