By Conor Sanchez
Why didn’t anyone tell me March was over? It seems like everytime I look back at my calendar, 10 days have passed by.
I didn’t keep as meticulous notes as I did in January and February (and I’ve definitely lost count on the number of classes I’ve taught). Suffice to say I co-planned and co-taught plenty last month. The rest of my time can be summed up in the following photos:
On March 1, I found myself here, hanging out in the Pearl Cays – a cluster of tiny islands off the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. We had to travel to Pearl Lagoon for a Volunteer Action Committee meeting (which brings all Volunteers in each department together to discuss office updates and future projects). With an extra day built in to venture out and enjoy these gorgeous islands, the month of March was off to a good start. The boat trip out to the islands may have been the choppiest and most uncomfortable ride of my life, but it was all worth it once we stepped out onto the white sandy beaches and enjoyed an enormous bowl of Rondon – the coast’s signature dish – on this awesome dock you see in the picture above. This was by far one of the wildest and most untouched places I’ve visited in Nicaragua so far.
On Friday, March 6, I traveled to Managua to attend a mapping party at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, Managua (UNAN-Managua). Pictured here is Felix Delattre, a Digital Media consultant and developer, who has been working with communities in Managua, Bluefields, and Bilwi to teach and encourage open source mapping using Open Street Map. He recently did something similar in Bluefields with some support from UNICEF. It was great afternoon observing and learning how we could do something similar in Nueva Guinea.
On Monday, March 23, I delivered my first presentation on the importance of online mapping and how this data can be a critical resource for the community. Working with another Peace Corps Volunteer and a few guys from a local cyber, we’ll be teaching community members how to use Open Street Map. On April 18, we’ll be hosting our first “Fiesta de Mapas,” a 5 hour-long mapathon, which we hope will attract even more community members.
On Friday, March 27 my parents landed in Managua to pay us a visit for Semana Santa. It was great to see their smiling faces walk off the plane and we felt incredibly privileged to show them where we’ve been living and what we’ve been doing for the past eight months. Be on the look out for another post on what went down during #semanasanchez.