Post-trip volunteer blog: Rea Nießen

Written by volunteer Rea Nießen:

A couple of month ago I returned from my 4th trip to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua with Random Acts. It was possible for our team to be there for the 4th time and open a beautiful new building to the Free High School campus because of wonderful supporters who believe in what we are doing. Some of them have been on this journey with us from the start, many more joined us along the way. This is dedicated to you guys, thank you so much!

I remember how I felt on the plane to Nicaragua, as part of the team that would attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the second building of the campus. I was excited and I could not wait to see what had been accomplished while we were away. I expected to be very touched once we were down there. And, oh my god – yes I was!

Like you I had seen photos, I had watched videos but being back, standing in the center of a beautiful school was the best! The new building looked so amazing! The biggest part of it is made of bamboo; it contains three more classrooms which can be merged through movable walls into one big auditorium. With functional tables, which you can fold, even more space is made. Because of this the building can be used not only for classes but it can also be rented out for bigger events or meetings too. A way for the school to help finance itself.

Standing there made me remember our first trip to San Juan del Sur like it was just yesterday. The first time we visited this place on a hill which would become the home for a Free High School. I remember how I tried to imagine the building, as I looked at the plans for the campus, but it all seemed so far away. How much has been created since then, how many hours spent by Austin and the amazing building crew on the construction site, how much love was shared. I remember every step of this journey, every trip, always seeing the beautiful progress, always loving to connect to the building in working on it with my own hands. And I discovered a love in working with bamboo, what a beautiful and sustainable material that found a wonderful purpose in this beautiful place.

That’s me with the plans of the first building during our first trip.

The campus is already in use which made it possible for us to spend some more time with the students. Our development manager Jennifer did some teaching on two days and included us in some activities. I love to spent time with the students, these are the people we wish to support, the ones we do it all for. Interacting with them makes it all so real and is the best reward for all the energy and love we give to the project. I enjoyed this so much and I feel grateful that we can do something to help them achieve a life they want to live, not a life they have to live, one that would leave them hopeless. It’s the best to look into their smiling faces.

Whenever I see the progress that was made and feel the wonderful difference that results from this, I think of every donor at home wishing they could be here to see what I see and feel what I feel. I always see myself as their representative, their bridge to the project, the wonderful cause they support. And in knowing I would not be here without them it is important for me to have them with me in heart and mind while I am in Nicaragua. We spent time on a beautiful campus filled with love, with laughter and with passion for education. I hope I can transfer a bit of this package of wonderful emotions and bring it home with me to share it with you.

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