Community Service Abroad for High School Students

1. To live in the “most poignantly beautiful of places…The City of Mists…the Place of Refuge, the Eternal City, embraced in green and granite peaks ascending another 200m into the sky all around,” with sunsets that take your breath away every evening in “one of the safest countries in the Americas.” [Quotes from Lonely Planet]

2. To travel to “the next Costa Rica” well ahead of the coming tourist waves.

3. To befriend some of the warmest people in Latin America, eat dinners with and take dancing lessons from them, enjoy karaoke nights together, hear their stories and history, and share their lives for awhile.

4. To build with your own hands, with your hosts, a community center that will double as a medical clinic for visiting US doctors who perform vital surgeries several times a year.

5. To play soccer and baseball with local youth, teach arts and crafts, new games, and a bit of English to children at a handicapped center in Jinotega.

6. To ride with your friends in high style every day on the one-and-only Blandon brothers’ magical bus.

7. To explore the ancient prayer grounds of Sierra Blanca; take a canopy tour through zip lines; stroll the cobblestone streets of ornate Granada, and browse the crafts at the sprawling Masaya artisans’ market.

8. To climb to La Peña de la Cruz to feel the clouds and cast in the spell of the panoramic view below.

9. To tour an ecological coffee farm and other grassroots initiatives to learn about, up close and personal, sustainable development in an underdeveloped Latin American country.

10. To understand the Hopi Indian saying: “To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.”

VISIONS in The New York Times