After eight packed days, the Capital University Music Service trip to Nicaragua was a resounding success! Nine Capital students opened themselves to new ideas and a vastly different culture (which BTW the U.S has occupied three times) and came away with a new awareness and insight. The world got bigger and smaller all at the same time. Here's a quick recap of our trip:
A dozen of us left Columbus last Monday at an extremely early hour, which put us in Nicaragua with enough time to explore and check out our home base for the next week. Six of the nine students are involved in music. One of our three non-music students is a triple major!! While Columbus was experience near-freezing temps, our week consisted of temperatures in the mid to high 90s. Needless to say we were a glistening (sweaty) bunch. It was HOT!
Throughout the week, we split in to two teams. We'd meet to start our day at 7:30am (The sun is pretty high in the sky by 6am). After breakfast, one team would visit a church or school. Sometimes the team would help prepare a meal. Other times, the team would share healthy habit practices, such as teeth brushing and hand washing. There usually was some dodgeball or soccer involved too.
On another day, three team members headed to an island (requiring many miles down a terrible road and a 30 minute boat ride) to help build a church. Can you guess which ones were the first to bed that night?
When possible, another team would share and play music. From jazz improvisation to Girl From Ipanema to Green Day - they'd play anything they could. Stephen's saxophone was a huge hit as many of the kids had never seen nor heard one before.
The other team headed to the Communidad Hosanna Masaya Church in the town of Masaya to collaborate with the Timothy Music Institute worship team. The five musicians’ were very interested in collaborating with our team to record and write music. We started with a cover song called Brighter and ended the week by writing and recording an original song with lyrics sung in both English and Spanish.
Four songs in all were recorded throughout the week - three with drums. We hope to have those finished soon and I'll make sure to share with you. We had taken some portable recording gear - which by the way, rocked it in the heat. Wowzer! The church has a radio station which we used as a makeshift recording studio. We also tracked quite a bit in the church space. We had no idea going down that they had as much gear as they did - and we used it all.
To say the team made friends would be an understatement. Israel, Biljenna, Alvaro, Lourdes, Kevin and Josue were so accommodating, enthusiastic and just great people. When we weren't making music, students were texting and sharing photos and artwork. It was truly incredible to watch the bonds being made. The image below posted on Israel's Facebook page.
The team also had time to hold a few clinics. Most had never taught before but all had been students. They were able to take techniques and approaches used on them to share with the students.
"A week of laughs, hard work, music, joy, memories and experiences that I will never forget! Can't believe it, more than a year and a half since this idea was born and here we are at the conclusion of the first stage, but I'm sensing a lot more coming out of this trip. Can't wait to see what we do together! "
"The day we said goodbye broke my heart a little. Before we left for this trip Sam kept saying "I want you to get your heart broken" as a goal for the trip and at first I truly didn't know what he meant. And although he was referring to a broken heart from the terrible living conditions and things , mine was broken in more ways then one. I have never experienced so much love from people I didn't know in my entire life. " Daeja Johnson
"These kids stole my heart" Rachel Comi
Final group photo of an amazing trip! We stayed positive and embraced the new experiences, allowing them to alter our perspectives and notions. We were tourists on our last day but the student's would have preferred to keep making and sharing music. The world got both bigger and smaller - all in eight days! And we learned a lot that we'll be able to apply to future trips.
The bulk of the planning for this trip was done by Samuel. It was an impressive display of leadership and Capital is lucky to have him on our campus. Almar and I were along for the ride and offered occasional guidance - and all of the students handled themselves professionally and represented our school really well. Finally, Jennifer Adams was invaluable in putting this trip together and helping it become a reality.
I'd love to share more stories so feel free to stop me and ask about:
- the vast uses of bicycles in Granada,
- just how hot it was,
- the crazy, yet polite way they drive and use the car horn,
- the wildlife running in the streets (goats and chickens and horses),
- the ubiquitous nature of wi-fi (everywhere),
- the litter (everywhere),
- the school system,
- the bathroom situation,
- how often the Cultural Pluralism class was mentioned (often),
- the mango trees (everywhere!)
- especially our drivers' love of 80s music from the USA.
Here's the blog we kept with more stories and images.
Nicaragua fue en éxito! (Nicaragua was a success!)
Thanks for reading!