- Costa Rica and Nicaragua trip
– being away from family and friends for a month (preparing me for this year being away from parents)
– opening my eyes to the privileged life i have compared to what others deal with everyday, appreciating more
– preparing myself for future travel to third world countries
– Becoming close with people and not expecting it
– missing being in that environment because even though it was very hard at some points in the trip, it was so amazing
– learning to work with other people and their opinions
– working with a budget (all prep for this year in hostel)
– travelling without parents the students needing to organise how to get everywhere
- dealing with people
– Having patience with people when I was getting annoyed with them
– Negotiation, how to handle different opinions
– Organising people, getting past the language barrier and dealing with the locals
– life in NZ and how easy it is compared to life in a third world country
– Being in a malaria area and needing to put insect repellant on all the time, water drops, insects and spiders
– People having guns around everywhere, on the street and going into banks
– going to the village for a week and realising how little they have
– Being away for one month, so being away from friends and routine
– Needing to book all of the transport and accommodation
– Being away from family, when I was getting sick I needed to deal with it myself instead of mum being their to help me
Imagine people. Lots of people, rushing around and yelling. Yelling at you but you can’t understand them. You are in dirty place full of clutter. There are people are trying to take money from you, trying to take your belongings. You are tired but still have a long way to travel. Welcome to a third world country. Over the summer holidays, from the 28th of December to the 28th of January I spent my time in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Over this month I learned a lot about myself, travelling, and the world that I live in compared to the world that others live in.
There were 15 of us altogether. 13 students, 2 P.E. teachers and 1 World Challenge expedition leader. I had two close friends on the trip, but the others I didn’t know so well. As the trip went on, I got closer to everyone including the two teachers. The idea of the trip was to prepare us students for travel later in life. The teachers really took a back seat in all of the activities that we did as it was very student lead. We were in charge from the moment we finalised the group coming on the trip. We decided what tramps we wanted to do and where we wanted to go throughout the trip. A day by day budget was given to us that we needed to stick to which covered food, transport, and accomodation. The 13 of us split into roles and were in charge of that area for about a week. A leader was also chosen that needed to make sure everyone was doing their role correctly, and to complete small tasks like passport checks. In the lead up to the trip we had a preparation day, but it was nothing compared to the shock we got when we arrived in 30 degree heat at 10pm in Managua, after 3 long flights and needing to think about how we are going to get to our hostel. We didn’t realise what a challenge it would be.
Being stuck with the same 15 people for 30 days was cool because of the relationships that formed and the way that we all grew so close, but it was also very tiring at times. We needed to learn to work together and help each other out so we could get things done, yet also learn to know when to stop, and let someone else have their turn. At one point in the trip, Meg and I were in charge of booking the accomodation, this was when I needed to use all the Spanish that I didn’t know. The language barrier is a lot harder to get past than you think. Trying to talk on the phone to someone who has no idea what your saying is pretty stressful when it’s about 9pm and you have no where to stay tomorrow night, – The phrase book really came in handy at times.
Becoming close to everyone was pretty amazing. Seeing how everyone acted together at the start of the trip compared to the end is quite interesting. The two teachers that came on the trip were probably the best two that could have come. Rusty and Jarred are two super chill and funny people who looked past the fact that they are teachers and act like they are our mates. One time on the trip we were on Ometepe island outside a supermarket and Jarred said to me “you hori bitch!” because I spat on my hand after putting sanitiser on a blister. There was so much banter with them but they also let us keep learning and let us take control which was so cool. The group ended up having a phrase thing that we just said all the time. It was when Taisei, one of the students on the trip, was asking if we were able to have a bonfire by the campsite, but instead of asking for ‘a small fire’ in Spanish, he said “Hasta la leche” which means ‘the last drop of milk’ in Spanish, and in their slang means ‘the final straw’. So that became the thing that any of us would just say randomly.
I think that it’s so crazy that I became so close with these people over a month, who I would have never known if I didn’t go on this trip. Meeting new people is something I love, so I am super happy that I was able to meet these people get to know new personalities. I feel as though from being on the trip I have learnt to deal with people in a way where I do not feel overwhelmed or confused, I can manage the frustration and annoyance from others.
Appreciation. “The recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something”. Throughout the trip I have really learnt what appreciation is and what it means to fully appreciate something. After a month of layering on the insect repellant because of the malaria area, being scared that a tarantula could come into the tent at any moment and bite me, prepping the water that I wanted to drink an hour before because it is unsafe, counting the people that I’m with and travelling in at least fours because abductions have occurred in this town, being cautious about every action I make because their are guns in this bank and they could easily just shoot me, triple checking that my bag is locked because thefts are about, setting my alarm at about 4:50am most mornings to start the tramp at 6am, trying to explain in Spanish that “I a m g l u t e n f r e e, so I can’t eat that” “e s t o y sin gluten”, freaking out because I could have booked the wrong bus and we could be stranded here for another 2hrs, I can say that I appreciate my life in New Zealand a lot.
Going to a thirds world country is a pretty major experience.
Being independent is something which I thought I knew. Going out as a kid without your parents, paying for your own food, getting the bus home and feeling old and cool. But in reality it is so much more than that. Being independent is being able to support yourself and being able to get from here to there without help. It is not depending on anyone or anything to help you in achieving something. Travelling during the trip I think was one of the hardest tasks during the trip. There was always so much going on, keeping track of your bag, your ticket, your money and the people you were with. One of the biggest travelling days we had was getting from Granada to Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. This was a whole days worth of travel, starting with waking up at 5am. We got taxis to the bus station, stayed in a public crowded bus for 2 hours, taxied to the ferry terminal, got on a 2 hour ferry, and then a bus trip to the campsite. It was crazy trying to organise and figure out how we are going to get 15 tourists to this island.
In this week we helped out with rebuilding a plant sanctuary, painting classrooms, filling in potholes, and digging waterfalls. We stayed in a big community centre on the edge of bush sleeping in hammocks.
This was when I saw the local people and how they live. We were like prizes to them, if you caught someones eye on the bus and they were selling something, you became the target. They were desperate for the slightest amount of money from you.
There was one point in the trip where I got sick. There was a flue going around and it finally hit me, this was something that I was super scared of happening, because whenever I have been sick, mum has always been around to help me and make me feel better. But this time she wasn’t there. I needed to deal with it myself which got hard at some points. The sicker I got, the more homesick I became. I had the other people on the trip to help me and skyping me friends which also helped.
Going on holiday with your parents is quite relaxing, you just sit back and wait for the drinks to come to you. Not worrying about the costs of the hotel your staying in, or the thieves that could take your money if you leave your fanny pack. But when you are the one who needs to research safe hostels and stick to a budget everyday, the trip becomes a bit different.
I miss it. The laugh of my teacher, tears coming out of his eyes because he can’t handle the ‘dead baby joke’ that Tom just said. The tired feeling of lying in my homemade hammock, hearing the sound of foreign birds as the sun sets. I miss walking through the city of Granada and being harassed by men trying to sell sun glasses, numbering off to make sure that we hadn’t lost a student.
I remember first arriving, and shitting myself over being bitten by a moskito. We all lathered on the deet which ended up taking off the colour on our sleeping bag liners because it is so strong.