Monday, April 15, 2013

Nicaragua bracelets

We all have them. Lets go BEST!

We are all checked in at the airport in Managua and waiting patiently. I decided that this was a good time to give everybody a little present I picked up at the artisan market. Leather bracelets that say NICARAGUA. Woo-hoo!!!

On the road again

You've never seen such a group of sad people until you've seen us being dropped off by our host families two by two at Casa Xalteva. Our students held their host moms, dads, and siblings tight with big puppy-dog eyes. Some of the kids have been begging me for "just one more week in Granada". We are all sad to leave but we will also all be happy to see our loved ones back home.
We are currently on our bus headed to the airport. We will arrive in Atlanta at 9:35 am Tuesday morning. Before our ride our guide Andres read us a very sweet text message from the school director and we gave him an Atlanta braves hat as a thank you gift. We also had a moment of silence for the victim and families affected by the Boston Marathon bomb attacks.
Be safe everyone and stay tuned we are on our way home and I will keep posting until we are there!

- ❤ Mrs P

Group presentation, bug bites, time-out for two

Last night's curfew was extended to 8. The boys wanted to go out for pizza together in a big group. They were very surprised when I "popped-up" on 4 of them returning late at 8:17 (17 minutes after curfew). One boy hid from me behind a car, then took off running full speed all the way home once I approached his terrible hiding place. As much as I wanted to be mad I couldn't help but laugh at these fools. It was our last night in this fabulous city and I had a feeling the rules would be bent a little. Since it wasn't too late and they were genuinely apologetic they got off with a warning.
This morning we represented our black history presentation for the younger students and we also danced the electric slide, Cupid shuffle, and the wobble for them. After our presentation I gave the kids free time from 10:30- 1. Some of them hung out at the school using its wifi and chilling with the teachers that they've grown close to. Others made their last rounds at the bakery and pulperia. Some went back home to take a nap and eat lunch. At 1 we met up at the school.
As soon as I approached the school I got news that some of our boys were playing football in the street and hit a power line, sending sparks flying and almost taking down the line. Accidents happen, HOWEVER, I'd already told these boys not to play football in the street.... Several times. They intentionally ignored my safety rules... And they know me well enough to know that I don't play that. These two young men are currently on lock-down in their home while the rest of us are playing basketball and eating pizza. I have always made myself very clear that following my instructions is vital for everyone to remain safe and out of harms way. For those who cannot follow simple instructions staying home in "time-out" is the only way that I can make sure they are not a distraction to real issues that I must handle, like Amadou's bug bites and another student's missing money.
I will be checking on my sad sad time out young men shortly. Until then we will continue to enjoy our last few hours here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


We are currently at La Playa Poneloya on The Pacific Coast. Big waves and black sand have the boys very excited. Time for lunch and sand castles!

Mrs Tanner and Mrs Vincent have returned to Atlanta. But my international road dogs Dr Malik and Ms Venisee are still here. It's great having these two ladies backing me up, I appreciate them so much!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

B.E.S.T. Vs. The Volcano Cerro Negro

I'm so happy I planned 2 volcano visits, especially since Masaya Volcano was closed. I'm going to be honest, Cerro Negro Volcano had us scared, all of us... even me. The climb up was rocky and steep. It was hot and rugged. Just by looking at it it wasn't clear exactly how one could get up there. We could see people who looked like a line of worker ants marching along the very top so we knew getting up was possible... But what about getting down?!
Cerro Negro is a black volcanic mountain that last erupted in 1988. It is our hemisphere's youngest volcano. It's much smaller than other volcanos that I've seen but it is also steeper.
After about an hour's climb we made it to the top. Our guide showed us the craters. We touched the ground near the crater and could feel its heat. It was amazing, educational, and unforgettably frightening!
We made sure we took lots of fun picture and finally we decided to leave. There were several options on how to get down. Returning on the same steep rocky path we took to get up was one. Sliding down the ashy side on our butts on a specially made board was one. And walking down the ashy side was another. We all chose to slide down in our butts and boy were we a filthy mess by the time we got down. As the sun set we all got back on our tour guides bus and returned on our hour long dirt trail trek back to the hotel. Today was another amazing day hard but amazing. All done in the name of learning hands-on and teaching across the curriculum.

Hotel San Cristóbal

We arrived in Leon to El Hotel San Cristobal. It is nice and the best part for me and my gringo crew is that the rooms have A/C!!!! Woo-hoo! To really put the icing on the cake we also have cable and wi-fi! This is gringo heaven. We checked in had lunch and took a 40 minute nap/ down time and now we are off to Cerro Negro. There is a volcano there that we are going to meet.

New haircuts and a road trip

I'm so tickled by Kaleb and Stiggers. Kaleb didn't get a chance to cut his hair before our trip and has been wearing hats for a week. Well I guess he for tired of those hats and decided to get a haircut. Stiggers wasn't going to be left out and went along to get a haircut too. How do they look you ask? Fantasticos!!! They had no problem cutting our hair into the style they wanted. They went together (without my help) and communicated wheat they wanted! You have no idea how much this tickles me; these boys are fearless international pros!

Last night chaperoned by teachers, chaperones, and host families we went out dancing. Half of the boys danced a little even asking girls to dance in Spanish "bailamos?" They remembered the songs and dance moves that I'd taught them in class and that they'd learned here in Nicaragua. The other half were petrified and had to be coaxed to get out on the dance floor. When we get back ill tell you which boys danced and which didn't, if you think your son is too shy to dance you will be in for a surprise! We had great fun and got home very early to get ready for our road trip to Leon.
We are currently on the bus. Stay tuned for our next update and check out these cute haircuts!

Friday, April 12, 2013

La Laguna de Apoyo

Since Masaya Volcano was closed we ended up spending a nice relaxing afternoon at La Laguna de Apoyo. We didn't want to leave. We had so much fun in fact that I just realized that I didn't take any pix with my iPhone (to share with you). I took all the pix on my regular camera and I don't have a way to upload them while here :-(
Since we didn't go dancing last night we will as a group for a short while tonight. Then we have to be at Casa Xalteva at 8am in the morning to head to Leon for our little weekend excursion. Our tour guide, Andres, is AWESOME. He's very funny and he has taken great care of us every step of the way. I have to make sure we do something special for him before we leave.
Today we also gave BEST Academy t-shirts to the 3 instructors who've been teaching the boys at Casa Xalteva. I also have pictures in my camera but not my phone. I have no idea how I didn't take pix with my phone today. Ill do better tomorrow, I promise, LOL.
Below is a pic of Andres, our tour guide. This was taken early on in the trip,
Ill be posting from the bus in the morning .

Dirty clothes and bad news

Everyone is in class now. Laundry pick up came and only the teachers used the services. Most of the boys' host families washed their clothes and some of the boys (kaleb and stiggers) hand washed their own clothes and hung them out to dry. They are so hardcore, getting the full Central American experience. After the folkloric dance show last night we were supposed to go Latin dancing with the school teachers and host families but we all ran out of cordobas. We will change more money today and hopefully reschedule for tonight.

We just got a little bit of bad news ( don't panic everyone is ok). Our tour for today has been cancelled. We originally were supposed to see Masaya Volcano however due to a small eruption some fires were started in the trees on the volcano. The government is being very "hush-hush" with details because they don't want to scare away tourist or panic the locals. Their initial story was that a local person hunting in the woods accidentally started a fire, but word of mouth has revealed that it was a lava related fire. The last time this happened they closed the volcano for 3 months. We were really looking forward to this experience, but this is beyond anyone's control. Anywho, we won't be able to go there. The program is finding another outing for us and we we should still be able to see the volcano Cerro Negro tomorrow in Leon.

Ill keep you posted as to what we do
later today.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

At The Folkloric Show

Pictures below.

Clases and el Mercado Masaya

During classes today I scouted out a laundry mat for us. They will actually pick up all our dirty clothes from Casa Xalteva at 9am, wash, dry, and return them to us at the school. They charge by the weight and I estimate it should cost 70 Cordoba ($3.50)
After class we went to open Masaya market and now we are waiting on a folkloric dance show.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Clases, basquetbol, y fiesta de cumpleaños

Today was another action packed day. We started off with classes all morning then lunch with our host families. After lunch we were asked to present information about American culture and traditions to the older students (middle school/ high school) at Casa Xalteva. We decides to make it a black history lesson. Many people around the world study African-American history and they enjoy our music, sports, political leaders but few get to meet us face to face because we do not travel on a large scale.
The BEST Boys were great! They paired up and took on topics black historical figures, our music, our traditions, our foods, dance, our celebrations, sports etc.
The Nicaraguan students loved the presentation but I think their teachers enjoyed it more. I think the BEST boys really for a chance to see how much we have to be proud of as African- Americans. We taught them about Dr King and the Civil Rights movement (some they'd already learned in school). They learned what soul food is, we taught them how to dougie and the electric slide and the wobble. They heard us say the US Pledge of allegiance sing the national anthem and the negro national anthem, lift every voice and sing. Did I mention they they did all this IN SPANISH?!?!?!?! Well let me tell you ladies and gentlemen they presented all this in Spanish, it wasn't perfect but it was excellent. They all make me proud everyday that we are here. Good job parents, please take a moment to pat yourself on the back. We will present the same information for the younger children Monday morning.
After our presentation we headed to the basketball court to start our much anticipated gringo vs Nica basketball game. The game was played 5 on 5 and the first team to 5 wins. The first few games our boys were slaughtered. The Nica team plays everyday together and they work well together our students are not a team so they were at a disadvantage . After a while though are boys made a comeback and won the last 2 games ( of the 6 they played.
If you think the day ended there you are wrong I keep my crew BUSY! We all went home quickly to grab dinner then the students were invited back to my host family's house to celebrate my oldest son's 9th birthday. His birthday is tomorrow but since our day is scheduled so tight tomorrow my just family INSISTED o. Give him a party today. They invited all the kids in the neighborhood. They decorated the house and bought a cake and a piñata. This was a great opportunity for my students to participate in an authentic Nicaraguan birthday party. Back home I could take about it, show YouTube videos about it and have them read about it, but here they get to feel, hear, and taste it. Even though it was a kids party the boys seemed to have a good time and enjoyed helping bust the piñata and grab candy.
Tomorrow after class we will go see a folkloric dance dinner show from 3-9pm. This is pretty exciting and the more I think about the quality of the program and services that we are getting I'm shocked at the great rate we paid for it. Please make sure you continue to check the blog.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Las Isletas del Lago Nicaragua

Our tour today was another great one. Lake Nicaragua is the only fresh water lake to have shark, sawfish, and tarpon, it is also Central America's biggest lake. To look at it is like looking at the ocean it's huge and stretches as far as the eye can see. To see Mombacho Volcano behind this enormous body of water is a sight to behold. When Mombacho Volcano erupted a long time ago it spit out large rocks that formed 365 Isletas (little islands) in the lake. Some islands are vacation homes for the wealthy, other are homes for the average Nicaraguan and others are restaurant tourist destinations.
Here are a few pix from my phone. I have about 30 more from today that you'll have to see when we get back home.
Tomorrow's agenda includes classes, 4pm basketball & football game with Nicaraguan friends who want to learn more about the sports.

Martes 9 de abril

Today is much cooler than it has been. It's a little overcast but its still a beautiful day. On the agenda for today is Spanish classes in the morning (all boys are in class now) then tours in the afternoon. I will post pix once the tours begin.

You should have all spoken to/ skyped/ texted your son by now. When I ask they tell me that they have been in communication in some way. If you feel you need to talk to your child please call me or leave a comment on the blog. If you see an unusual or unknown number calling you please answer its most like one of us!

Monday, April 8, 2013

How to call me

Hello parents,
It took me a while to get my Nicaraguan phone number but it is finally all set up if you need to call me for any reason please do so at :


I know this is more numbers than you are used to but this is how it is when calling internationally. If you call me at this number you will be charged for an international call so we will make it a quick conversation.

I hope you all are checking the blog at least twice a day for updates. I'm surprised at how much the boys enjoyed their Spanish classes today, hopefully this will help build confidence when speaking.

Class time

We all woke up bright and early, ate breakfast, and met at Casa Xalteva to begin our classes. This gave me a chance to catch them and get a picture of each student. Some tried to hide but under threat of physical harm ( By me) they lifted their heads and took the picture. They are all doing well.

After classes today we will go back to our families for lunch then return to Casa Xalteva to volunteer with the children.

We've been invited to a basketball game tonight. There is a very very small group of guys who play basketball here. Baseball and soccer are king and this group of 15 basketball fanatic are eager to play the sport with new people who are experienced in it. They also want to know more about American football and teach our student about their sports. Ill keep you all posted on if we are able to meet up for our game tonight.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Walking Tour. Hot hot hot!!! Sunday April 7

Today we had a walking tour of Granada and boy was that a hot hot hot tour. We visited a fort them walked through a cemetery. The cemeteries here have all the tombs above ground. This is something we talk about in class so it is nice to make that connection in real life. Since getting here a few of the boys also got a chance to dance with their host families just like we practice en la clase de espanol. The tour is still going on so I will update you all again!

More pix from Saturday April 6

I'm trying to get pictures of each and every boy but they aren't nearly as concerned about this as I am. They are having a great time, lol!

Oh and how can I forget that our last stop before returning home for dinner was at a panaderia (bakery). Where we all ordered sweet bread for our snack for the ride back home. Who knew these boys were so crazy about bread. Maybe it's just here in Nicaragua.,,