When Lonna Harkarder asked me to consider organizing a group to visit San Ramón back in 2002, I was really not sure what to expect. While my students and I had been supporting SCSRN’s work for several years, none of us had any first-hand experience with Nicaragua. However, I had total faith in Lonna when she said it would be a marvelous adventure, so I rounded up some parents and students and headed to San Ramón in the spring of 2003.
From the minute we arrived at the airport in Managua to the minute we returned there, the trip was amazingly well-organized. The staff was extremely competent and did everything possible to make our visit safe, fun, and educational. We were delighted with the tranquil beauty of Finca Esperanza Verde and hated to leave after our time there. But when we arrived at our guest houses in San Ramón, it was clear that this part of our adventure was also very special. Everyone quickly bonded with their host families, and our guides filled our heads with fascinating information about the history of the town and the many programs that SCSRN had made possible for its citizens. We loved meeting the children of the local schools, and the mix of cultural activities and service projects was just right.
Since that first trip, I have returned each year with another group of students, and this year’s group is about to depart at the end of March. Even though I have been there so many times, San Ramón never fails to surprise me. Each year there are new things to see, new people to meet, and different projects to take on. When I ask my students what has meant the most the them on these trips, they always say the same thing – the most meaningful part of their time in San Ramón is the interaction with the wonderful people they meet, from the children of our sister school to the guides to the host families. They return with an expanded view of the world and their place in it, thanks to the many lessons they learn on these trips.