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Ellie's Nicaraguan Volunteer Trip

December 05, 2017

Ellie's Nicaraguan Volunteer Trip

The purpose of Lifepoints Adventure Grants are to bring life to trip ideas that people are being held back from - Whether money, time, or inspiration stand in the way, we want to help break down those barriers! Ellie's application came from such a pure place we knew we had to make her Nicaraguan Volunteer Trip happen. A genuine desire to help, advance her studies, and make a difference is #lifepoints ten times over.

Here she is with a recap from her trip! Take it away, Ellie 

Hola from Nicaragua! My name is Ellie and I was one of the lucky winners of a Lifepoints Adventure Grant this past spring! A recent graduate from Carleton College taking a break before medical school, my dream adventure was to spend a few months volunteering with AMOS Health & Hope in Managua, Nicaragua. I did an internship with them two summers ago and knew I wanted to come back because they do such sustainable and empowering work! (Check them out here.)

Here I’ll share with you guys a typical day in my life in Nicaragua! I am currently living with a host family in Nejapa, a small community on the outskirts of Managua where AMOS is located. Work hours are from 7am to 4:30 pm, so around 6:50 I try to catch a caponera (moto taxi) to take me to work. At AMOS, I drink some delicious Nicaraguan coffee and then get to work! I work for the urban programs at AMOS, which mostly includes planning for and helping facilitate the chronic patient support group and working with the consejeras (local volunteer health workers) These community members are SO FUN to work with and have been so welcoming to me – I feel so lucky!

Above is a photo of the amazing team I work with, Dr. Sonia (left) and Karla, a psychologist. We work on the urban programming together and I learn so much from them, including lots of Spanish. Karla also loves to run and keeps me updated on races happening in Managua!

After work I usually try to go for a run (AMOS has a beautiful running path) and then I take a caponera home. I hang out with the family that I live with, especially the two youngest girls who love to play kickball and hide-and-seek. Then I eat dinner and watch some of a telenovela with the rest of the family. The great thing about telenovelas is that there is a new episode every night! 

Dora, one of the youngest members of the family that I live with, and I posing in the back of her dad’s truck. Everyone piles in the back of the truck to drive to church and other nearby events!

On the weekend I usually go for a run in the baseball field outside my host family’s home. The two young sisters and sometimes some other kids from the neighborhood join me for a few laps!

I still have a lot to explore in Nicaragua (Ometepe is next hopefully – maybe when one of my sisters comes to visit), but my first weekend here I got to explore some beautiful beaches in San Juan del Sur with a fellow volunteer. There I also learned that Picky Bars are not only great training fuel but also great beach fuel.

Living and volunteering in Nicaragua has been enriching, challenging, and wonderful so far, and I am beyond grateful for all of the people and to Picky Bars for supporting me in this adventure! Thanks for reading!