I was part of the 17N Raleigh International Expedition in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I was first allocated on the NRM (Natural Resource Mnagement) phase: a 19 day duration. This detailed working within the Rincon de la Vieja national park in Costa Rica. There, my team, an international grouop of about 14, worked alongside the park rangers to maintain the area, in my case this meant clearing the sides of the path of weeds in order to clear a way for a later drainage system. We worked hard every morning before the sun was strongest and spent our afternoons relaxing; cooking, learning spanish or hiking to one of the many nearby waterfalls.
I was in the community for my second phase. I, alongside one other american boy, lived with a host family in the rural Nicaraguan community of Martin Centeno. In the mornings we dug a trench for the new water pipe which would provide more reliable water to the 40 families who live there. In the afternoons we taught basic english in the school and WASH (water, sanitation and hygeine). We spent our free time relaxing on hammocks, socialising with the local teenagers or enjoying our host mum, Coquita's, delicous rice and beans: a meal that soon got repetitive!
I hugely enjoyed my experience and returned with lifelong friends, a sense of adventure and mediocre spanish.
Report by: Phoenix Leonard-Shaw (E Social, 2016 Leaver)
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