Nos Vemos, Nicaragua!

nosvemos

[By: Claudia Aber, Stanford University student and GE/AsoFénix summer intern in Nicaragua]10 weeks after arriving in Nicaragua, August 25th was my last day working with Green Empowerment and AsoFénix. I spent this day reflecting on the work done, friends made, and opportunities had during my time here. This summer flew by, and I will cherish all of the lessons learned, taking them with me back to my life in the United States.More than anything, I appreciate the opportunity to have lived in the rural communities of Nicaragua. Every week I took the four-hour bus ride to the countryside of Nicaragua and stayed with host families while working on projects. I learned so much about the culture here in Nicaragua, the daily tasks of the mother and father of a family in the countryside. A typical day included the morning run to grind up corn for tortillas with the mom, while the father chops wood down in the mountains to be used for cooking.

Claudia with her host family in El Bálsamo

Claudia with her host family in El Bálsamo

I stayed with 3 different host families, but this photo shows the family I spent the majority of my time with. I really felt a part of their home, and they certainly treated me like a daughter or sister with both caring hugs and the occasional chore. I have a phone number where I can reach them and will be keeping in contact with them when I return to the States.During the second half of my summer, I spent the majority of my time collecting data from solar irrigation systems and residential solar panels to create technical reports for AsoFénix and Green Empowerment. I also created a user manual in Spanish for the owners of solar irrigation systems, explaining technical aspects of every important part of the system. These resources will help ensure that my internship has an impact beyond my short time here, and will be utilized by AsoFénix and Green Empowerment as they continue to bring renewable energy and water to rural communities. In addition, I created a presentation on solar irrigation systems and gave this presentation in Spanish to a group of 31 local farmers. The presentation informed all farmers of how the systems function, and the benefits and disadvantages of these systems.

Diagram of a typical solar irrigation system. Learn more at http://web.stanford.edu/group/solarbenin/solarirrigation.html

Diagram of a typical solar irrigation system. Learn more at http://web.stanford.edu/group/solarbenin/solarirrigation.html

Every weekend I returned to Managua and had the chance to explore the city with other interns. I loved seeing the tourist sites as well as the local markets and neighborhoods. I also was able to explore León, Granada, and Ometepe Island with both interns here and friends from abroad. After becoming familiar with various places, it was very easy for me to fall in love with Nicaragua.Today I packed and said goodbye to friends and coworkers in the office. I also had a going away lunch that included my favorite meal Chop Suey (Nicaragua’s version of Chinese food). I cannot believe that my time is over, and I will miss the calm lifestyle here. I am excited for the warm shower that awaits me, but heartbroken to leave the wonderful Nicaragua behind.

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