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RC Students Spend Spring Break Volunteering in Nicaragua


Kaitlyn Bell

Staff writer

            While many students left school for a week filled with beaches, warm sun, and relaxation during their spring break, one group of Roanoke College students stepped up to the challenge and served others in a small community located in Nicaragua. Jesse Griffin, Director of Community Service, and nine students made the long trek down to Ochomogo, Nicaragua. This small town, brought a sense of humbling spirit to the Roanoke College students.

After arriving into Ochomogo, students were placed in homestays with local families who were described as some of the most generous and selfless people, although they themselves lived off of hardly anything. Conditions were difficult, but nevertheless rewarding for the students as everyday tasks such as showering and using a bathroom became much more challenging.

On the first day of service work, students were split up into small groups that went to work on different houses in need of latrines within the nearby areas. Many of these families applied for new latrines to be built on their property because they were in desperate need. The 13 families that were supported during this project were chosen based on the greatest need. Students explained how one of the most rewarding parts to this service experience was the fact that although they did not feel as if there was enough work for them to do, the families of Ochomogo were happy and excited to have part of the Roanoke College community with them for the construction.

After a week’s worth of hard work and both mentally and physically challenging themselves, students spent their last day in Nicaragua visiting a coffee plantation on top of Volcán Mombacho. They had the opportunity to do an 11 part zip lining canopy tour, which even included jumping off and swinging from tree to tree. After zip lining, the Roanoke College group was able to put their bargaining skills to the test at the local markets where artwork and textiles flourished. After a long, hard week’s work of moving bricks and mixing cement, students returned home with a humbled sense of spirit. This service opportunity gave them the ability to look at the world in a new perspective and appreciate the many privileges that they have been given throughout their lifetime.