August 15, 2012

Anna Ross's Guest Blog From Nicaragua

As you may know, at MSLO, there is an open invitation for employees to share travels and experiences on my blog and here is one offered by Anna Ross, Assistant Photo and Research Editor.

In November 2011, I visited Megan Vander Wyst, a college friend living in Managua, Nicaragua.  She was a volunteer supported by the Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps based in the United States, and for a year and a half she worked with a small non-profit NGO in Nicaragua called CANTERA.  Founded in 1988, CANTERA is committed to working with some of the poorest and most marginalized communities in Nicaragua.  While living in Nicaragua, Megan taught English and photography courses at the La Soya youth center in the Jorge Dimitrov neighborhood.  She also taught photography workshops in nearby urban and rural neighborhoods in preparation for the annual CANTERA photography contest.  I had the opportunity to visit the youth center, attend several of Megan’s classes, and help her hang the final photography exhibit at the National Cultural Palace.

We took several day trips and excursions, including a midnight sea turtle expedition with the hostel Casa Oro.  We traveled to La Flor Wildlife Reserve to see the massive arrival of the turtles. Every November, 30,000 endangered Olive Ridley turtles arrive on this beach to lay their eggs.  Every turtle lays approximately 100 eggs per night, but because of predators, only one turtle from each nest will reach the water once they hatch. And sadly, only one turtle from 1000 eggs will reach adulthood.  Nicaragua is a beautiful country with rolling hills, volcanoes, and tiny villages scattered along the ocean.  But the beauty of the people impressed me the most.  Some of them may not have as much as we do, but they are happy, warm, and welcoming.  It was an eye-opening experience that made me better appreciate the opportunities and privileges we have in this country.