February 29, 2024

Thursday morning, we visited one of the 2022 scholarships recipient’s home. This was a special visit for Ms. Liogas, Mme Bousser and myself as Carla is the student we are supporting. On March 11, Carla will be starting the third year of her Public Accounting and Finance program. It was very interesting for Carla to share with us her experiences since starting university in Managua. A determined young woman, Carla opted to attend an accounting program offered every Saturday by a technical school in Granada during her summer vacation. She felt that enrolling in this program would allow her to review second year concepts before starting third year. As Carla spoke about this course and her university courses, we could hear the passion she has for her classes. 

Carla shared with us a typical school day. She gets up at 3 am so she can leave her home just after 4 am to ensure that she can be near the front of the bus stop line. By doing this Carla increases her chance of getting a seat on the bus which allows her to study during the two hour commute. Although she finishes classes at 1 pm, she often stays at the university till 6 so she could use a computer at the university. This meant she was often heading home in the dark. On one such occasion she had her phone stolen. On weekends, Carla needs to go to a cyber cafe and pay to use a computer to get her work done. Despite the long days and the difficulties, Carla is eager to continue her educational journey in a few weeks. It was wonderful to meet Carla, to hear about her university experiences thus far, and to be able to personally wish her continued success. 

During the afternoon, I led a professional development session with the two science teachers at the Diria Institute. Thanks to Mme Bousser acting as our translator, the four of us were able to talk about our classroom practices. I knew that the classes at the Diria Institute were large but I was floored to hear that one of the Grade 10 chemistry classes has 46 students in it! I think the Diria Institute teachers were equally surprised by the small size of my Grade 11 chemistry class (11 students). 

As a teacher, I take for granted that if I need supplies I can order them. The two science teachers at the Diria Institute do not have that luxury. For instance, hydrochloric acid which i use for many experiments is not available to science teachers in Nicaragua as it is deemed too dangerous and a controlled substance. I was able to share with them resources and materials had prepared for them. Let’s just hope my translated materials make sense! 

It’s hard to believe that our time in Nicaragua is drawing to an end. This trip is a wonderful opportunity for not only the students but also the teachers from The Study. 

Sarah Howard

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