Our First Day of Learning Service

Day 3–Vaden R., John D. and Carson C.

Our third day began on a rough note as John, Vaden, Spencer, and Colson arose from their beds after only a few hours of sleep. We were battling our rice and beans, lack of AC, and constantly sweaty bodies. As a result of our issues, sleep did not come too us easily. Never-the-less, we began our third day with excitement to finally meet the children at Los Quinchos.
This morning we embarked on a thirty minute walk down the busy streets of San Marcos. We dodged motorcycles, bikes, cars, and trucks as we traveled to our destination. We made a stop for our first breakfast at the Cultural Center for Los Quinchos in San Marcos and it was incredible. As we made our final trek to Los Quinchos, we stumbled into what seemed to be a quiet camp filled with joyful kids running around and showing us the farm. After we asked for the fresh mangoes we saw lying on the ground, the boys climbed the trees and jumped from branch to branch 40 feet above the muddy ground, tossing ripe mangoes down to us withought a question. After our time with the kids, we proceeded to hear the history of Los Quinchos told by one of the leaders of the children. Alberto had gone through the same difficult conditions as the kids who currently stay at Los Quinchos. He was forced to live on the streets of Managua for four years, starting at the age of 8 years old. This unimaginable experience led to his activism with Los Quinchos and his driving passion to help the kids in the same situation that he was in.
On the way to lunch we saw our biggest fear in the jungle. Any guesses? A big, fat, hairy Tarantula sprinting down a ditch. John, Spencer and I were in hot pursuit and trapped it against a post. As we were trying to be superior to all of those afraid, we went ahead and pet the wild beast. This was a huge check crossed off on the bucket list for the three of us and we were very proud of ourselves for having the courage to stroke the 8 legged monster. After arriving at the cultural center, we were met with a delicious lunch of pork, chicken, rice, and mixed vegtibles. Lunch was prepared for us by the talented cooks who graciously gave up their time to prepare us our meal.
Later that evening we undertook a scavenger hunt that took us all around the city of San Marcos. Our tasks were to find an ATM, find a supermarket and buy tupperware, find a Cybercafe and ask someone to borrow their phone to make a phone call, and finally find Kaiser University. My group of me, Spencer, Joe, and Connor completed these tasks in record time. As a group we were able to successfully ask for directions, figure out currency exchanges from US dollars to Córdobas, and finally barter on prices of hats, all while speaking Spanish. Our knowledge of Spanish surprised us as we found ourselves being able to talk to locals in their native language. Sitting in the hotel tonight, it felt like Halloween counting the endless number of candies we scooped at el supermarcado (the supermarket). We look forward to tomorrow’s adventure.

A quick note from Carson about service projects following the TED talk that we watched this evening:

Before dinner we watched a TED talk by a woman who worked for Where There Be Dragons in Cambodia. She talked about volunteering versus service learning, which are commonly considered synonyms. Through this, we learned how service can be interpreted in different ways, as we reflected on the question of what service we actually did today. It became clear that although we didn’t do the commonly assumed idea of service that we may have expected, like working in the farm, by simply listening to the story of one of the older Quinchos we were doing service. I had never thought of service this way and it actually made me think about how we treat and value the true learning of service in our own school and community.