La Mariposa Spanish School
Trip Start Feb 07, 2012
19Trip End Apr 24, 2012
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Have you ever imagined a place in your head, or maybe your heart that was so full of love for other people, animals, and plants, it seemed to pull at your soul? That was La Mariposa for me, and now for all of us. I learned about it after hours of "cybersurfing", scouring the internet for that perfect place for our family to go, learn Spanish and become completely immersed in the Nicaraguan culture.
Online, I read countless stories (on Tripadvisor.com) of the magic of this place. And, for months before we left, thoughts of this place were the last to leave me as I fell asleep.
As I entered the jungle courtyard for the first time and imagination lost its grip to reality, my heart leapt. Paulette, the owner, has gone to great care to recultivate the land to its wild spirit
The next morning, the beauty continued. I wish I could weave the words here to tell this story the way it deserves to be told.... Imagine being greeted by 12 smiling and incredibly beautiful Nicaraguans, all happy to be there, ready to teach you Spanish and even more happy to share stories of their home, family, and country. For the first four hours of every day, we practiced our Spanish with our local teachers, laughing together, knowing even though this was their job, it was us who was receiving the reward! Hunter surprised me the most as he was bouncing around smiling, with a Spanish dictionary under his arm and some homework that he eagerly tackled, AFTER four hours of class! Those teachers know what they are doing
Mealtime at La Mariposa is also special...Paul was surprised to learn that eating rice for EVERY meal for a week did not get old, as the cooks here offered new and refreshing ingredients and presentation of the rice and all the vegetables at the table were grown at their organic farm. I have never tasted such delicious avacodos.... Mealtime was also a time for chatting with all the other travelers who are here for a week, or a month. There are lots of Canadians here, a young woman (20) who goes to UNH, and a Dutch woman.
We volunteered at a wonderful little school in a barrio of La Concha, the town we are in. The after school program is a true necessity here as the local community is very impoverished and it offers the parents more time to work, therefore more opportunity to put food on the table. This program is COMPLETELY funded by La Mariposa School. It has been running for 4 years now. We read with the children. They asked us to translate a book they had in English....that part didn't go so well. :) Paul brought his mandolin and the students were thrilled. Make sure to look at the pictures below, the smile on the older boy who helps with the children is something that will continue to warm my heart for years to come.
There are too many projects to list that Paulette and the money that comes through La Mariposa support. Picture all the things we take for granted: school teachers, supplies, food, books to have in your own home, clothing, and even water. We can tell you more about this when we get back.
Paul tried his hand at doing laundry the old fashion way, built in washboard sink included. It is a peculiar feeling to have your undies hanging out for all the world to see while people enjoy their tea.
All told, La Mariposa employs over 25 people, paying them far better wages than they could make elsewhere. The sense of pride they all share in their work here is something I hope Sawyer and Hunter can remember forever. The number of people in the local community that benefit from Paulette's vision, energy, and above all, love is truly countless
I have no doubt that God smiles down on La Mariposa and hopes its magic reaches as many people as possible