Travel Blog

We travel to Nicaragua and Costa Rica at least three times per year to work with the artisans who partner with us. In this blog we share some of the stories of our adventures.

That spark

We are winding downhill past San Ramon in search of a few cooperatives of artisans that Jairo and I had researched about via the internet. I happen to glance up and catch the sight of a homemade sign, “Artesanias: Mujeres del Plomo”. “I think that was the turn”, I say to Jairo. He pulls the car over into a dirt patch and scans in both directions before making a three point turn in the middle of the road. We drive back towards the sign, slower this time and indeed it is the turn off. Jairo navigates the small car easily

Two Yards of Black Plastic

As we approached the port of San Carlos, Jairo turns to me. “I think we should buy some plastic just in case it’s raining while we are on the boat”. We were traveling with lots of cargo: Two large cardboard boxes filled with school supplies, one feed-sack holding 35 backpacks, five flattened cardboard boxes for Don Antonio to pack future orders of balsa ornaments as well as a large LLBean rolling duffel with my personal affects and gifts. I’m glad that Jairo is able to anticipate future needs especially since it would be sad to arrive at the island with

The best part of the fish

One of the biggest benefits of working on this underdeveloped island, is the food. Not only is everything so fresh, Arlen and her sister Irena were taught to cook by the owner of the small, rustic hotel who is a chef from Spain. I have never met Dona Carmen, the hotel owner, but I would love to know the name of her restaurant if I ever travel to Spain. Every evening, we are treated to another amazing gourmet meal for $8.00 (in comparison to the $15/night we pay for our room it is a little pricey but worth every penny).

The importance of sleeping with earplugs

Friday evening: Lesson learned over dinner: How to remove an insect that has crawled into your ear while sleeping. Step 1: Remain calm. Don’t panic. Step 2: Look for a good strong flashlight. Step 3: Hold flashlight close to ear canal and turn on. Step 4: Have patience and wait for insect to follow the light and walk out of your ear canal. According to Jairo (who has tried this technique several times) all insects will instinctively follow the light.

Math Word Problem

6:32am and it is raining. I hear the steady drops as they fall onto the tin roof. Today is Friday and I am thinking about the artisans from Mancaronsito who are supposed to be coming to turn in their samples and receive their next month’s order. I am thinking how much time 15km in a row boat really takes. The calculation is more like something I’d see in my daughter’s math homework: Alba Luz lives on Mancarronsito. She needs to travel to the big island of Mancarron. How long would it take Alba Luz to row 15km in a small

Note to self: Next trip, avoid cerviche in the Central Park

Remedies for diarrhea on Isla Solentiname, given to me and consumed in this order over the course of one day: One Anti-Diarrhea tablet guaranteed to stop the problem immediately One hot chamomile tea to soothe the stomach One tall glass of fresh coconut water to kill the bacteria poured by Don Antonio after he cut open the coconut with his machete Another cup of hot chamomile tea to reinforce the stomach soothing One medium glass of coca cola with a pinch of salt to destroy any remaining remaining bacteria Two tall glasses of rice water (literally water that rice was

De Regreso al Trabajo

There is the smell as I disembark from the plane in the Managua airport that immediately welcomes me back to Nicaragua. It’s the combination of a certain clean agent, humid air and thick wood fire. My nose seems to find it everywhere. The supermarket, Duilio’s house and even the hotel room. As strange as it sounds, somehow those three distinct odors mix in a way that makes me feel like I am back amongst friends. Fourteen days will pass quickly with meetings, coffees and visiting our artisan partners so we got to work immediately. Yesterday Jairo (my in-country coordinator) and