Quetzaltrekkers, a Gigantona and a lot of happy kids

Today was a great day for Quetzaltrekkers and one of the local projects that we support. Minibiblioteca Manuelita Sacasa is a social organization aimed at educating León’s youth through various fun and interactive workshops. One of its most successful initiatives is the “Movil,” a library on wheels that travels to different schools to provide educational seminars for young students. Quetzaltrekkers has proudly supported Minibiblioteca since 2012 by keeping the Movil running, quite literally. Paying for the gasoline for the motorcycle, as well as the salary of the travelling teacher and all necessary books and materials he shares, Quetzaltrekkers has paved the way for truly wonderful events like today. Similar to the concept behind the Movil, the event consisted of Minibiblioteca’s travelling to a less fortunate school in order to share resources and laughter. For our hand in the project’s success, Minibiblioteca was quick to invite us to see how our support had fostered a similar bond of support with this new school.

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In what was a great display of educational programs working together to benefit young students, Minibiblioteca took a trip to a small impoverished school in rural León. Traveling with about five teachers and thirty students, Quetzaltrekkers and Minibiblioteca set off to bolster a growing relationship that benefited all involved. Upon arrival, the hosts immediately demonstrated their kindness in welcoming their new friends, leading them to a shaded area where they would be given a small presentation on the importance of the event. After both parties shared their excitement about the opportunity to work together, the real fun began.

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Given the limited resources of the rural school, there were certain materials that Quetzaltrekkers and Minibiblioteca knew would provide a great experience for the hosting students. Most notably, a performance of one of Leon’s most famous traditions: the Gigantona. A historically rich aspect of the local culture, the performance of the Gigantona requires a couple of children to dress up in comical outfits and a couple of kids to play the drums, while some more kids add intermittent rhymes and jokes. Needless to say, the students of the small school were thrilled to have the opportunity to both watch and participate in the performance. And they were just as thrilled to be able to return the favor.

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After the ceremonial Gigantona performance, it was time for the hosts to demonstrate their fun and gracious ways, to the delight of both Minibiblioteca and Quetzaltrekkers. They kicked things off first by hosting a series of group games, from Simon Says to Rock, Paper, Scissors, leading to relentless laughter for the students, teachers, and hiking guides alike. Once everyone caught their breaths, the hosts provided a delicious lunch for all, followed by the presentation of a kind and symbolic gift for Minibiblioteca: an avocado plant and a lovely mosaic of Rubén Dario, representative of the growing relationship between local educators. After finishing the day with a relaxed reading session, in which Miniblioteca shared its many books and the host school shared its creative student-made books, the parties said their goodbyes and looked ahead to the next event together, which will once again be made possible with the help of Quetzaltrekkers and its generous supporters.

Volcano Boarding fun with Leon`s street kids

This weekend, Quetzaltrekker volunteers joined 18 brave boys from Las Chavalades on a trek to the top of Nicaragua’s most active volcano – Cerro Negro. For most of the boys, this was their first visit to the “Black Hill” – a popular destination for thrill-seeking tourists interested in volcano boarding down the steep slopes of a volcano.

 

QT volunteers and Chavaladas street kids on cerro negro

Group picture before the hike with Cerro Negro in the back.

Las Chavalades is one of 4 projects here in León that receives ongoing financial support from Quetzaltrekkers. About 60 children from the ages of 6 to 18 are welcomed each day at Las Chavalades, where they are provided with help in order to overcome drug addictions and particularly difficult living circumstances.

When our vehicle pulled up to the Las Chavalades building, the boys rushed out in excitement. After a 45-minute drive on a very bumpy road, the boys raced up to the top of the 728 metre volcano, taking time to observe the impressive volcano and surrounding area. From the top, it took no more than 2 minutes to reach the bottom of the volcano for those who chose to try volcano boarding for the first time. For the rest of us, we had fun getting to the bottom on foot.

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Hiking up Cerro Negro. Quetzaltrekkers guides help carrying the boards.

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Having fun on the top.

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“I believe I can fly …”

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“Me, too!”

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Our QT guide Sofie and Chavaladas kid Goblin boarding down.

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We all shared a snack, hopped back into the vehicles for our return to León. It was a quiet ride back to the city, with most of the boys fast asleep after their big adventure.

 

Project La Casona

Approximately one year ago QT began to support the poor Leon community of RTO Walter Ferrety. This, like many communities struggles with teen drug abuse.  One of the recognized contributing factors to this issue is the lack of positive activities for teen participation.

Working with community leaders, QT has taken the initiative to improve the local football field La Casona to help create a more positive environment. The field was used during the day but as it had no lighting, drug abuse remained during the late afternoon and night. QT took the bold approach and paid for the installation of new lighting for the park. Now families, children and teens can use the park during the evening as well. Continue reading

Celebrating Quetzaltrekkers Scholarship Kids

In addition to providing monthly financial support to four local non-for-profits that help at-risk kids in Leon, Nicaragua, Quetzaltrekkers also runs its own scholarship program. Recipients of the scholarship are required to maintain high grades and take great pride in submitting their report cards every semester. In return, Quetzaltrekkers pledges to pay the kids’ school fees through university and also pays for some kids to take English classes at the Casa de Cultura. This past weekend, Quetzaltrekkers welcomed these brilliant students for a special lunch at our office. It was a happy, crazy day, filled with games, burritos and proud parents.

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Telica School Project

Special nonprofit project School volcano Telica | Quetzaltrekkers Nicaragua | #hiking

Aguas Frias is the name of a community that is 30 minutes away from the Telica`s crater, one of our famous hikes. The small community has 54 families, all living together as a team. It wasn’t the first time that Quetzaltrekkers helped this community, in 2009 we built a couple of latrines for the school.

One of the biggest needs of Aguas Frias was its school, a place for around 60 kids. The school had only one destroyed classroom where two teachers tried to teach six different grades, the floor was full of holes because of the leaks on the roof and the classroom was literally falling apart.   Continue reading

Painting the Special School

Painting Special School Project | Quetzaltrekkers Nicaragua | #education

Last Saturday the Quetzaltrekkers volunteers and two parents spent the day painting five classrooms from the Special Schools in Leon. The Special school, located on Sutiaba neighborhood, exists since 1975 and at the moment it has around 150 children between 5 and 18 years old. It is the only school of its kind in the whole department and accepts kids with handicaps as cerebral palsy, blind, deaf-mute, Down syndrome and other special needs.  Continue reading

UNIFORMS FOR THE CHILDREN

Somoto School Donation | Quetzaltrekkers Nicaragua | #education

Quetzatrekkers Leon has been working with communities in Somoto, Madriz since 2009. Our Somoto Canyon hike brings us right into the backyard of many small communities. Our goal has always been to work with these marginalized communities that we come into contact during our hikes.

In the past we built a kitchen and classroom to use as a library in the school. We also fixed the roof and put new floor in three class rooms, all with the help of Henry Soriano, community leader, and the parents who committed their time to help in the construction. Helping this community was really rewarding for us, but we knew that more schools around this area needed our help.

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PAINTING KM18 LIBRARY

Painting KM18 school - Quetzaltrekkers Nicaragua

Kilometro 18 school opened in 1989. This school located in rural area away from every major highway, only three buses visits this area every day. The dirt and bumpy road to this school is poor at best. Even with these circumstances, 87 children attend the primary school during the week and 68 teenagers to secondary school on Saturdays. The children live in the surroundings neighborhoods and use horses, donkeys or bicycles to arrive in the morning.

Quetzaltrekkers discovered the school 4 years ago when one of her teachers approached to the office asking for help. Since then we’ve help them with school supplies and materials for special events. Last year we decided to go further and build a library, the school only had three class rooms that couldn`t fit all the children. New library offered an extra space to learn and work for the children. The grand opening was in July 2014, since opening this new space we have 25 children joined the newly created book club. Quickly teachers filled this new space and booked filled the shelves. Continue reading

Skate Club

Skate club - Quetzaltrekkers Leon Nicaragua - El Fortin

In Quetzaltrekkers, we strive to provide children with a positive constructive environment. We believe through sports, we can tap into their motivation and provide valuable messages to enrich their lives.

Two months ago, we began to talk to two local skaters and we came up with the idea of teaching young kids to skate. We started this awesome project with the kids from a local project “Niños del Fortin” which is connected with Las Chavaladas. Continue reading