Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Nicaragua - Spring Break 2012
Twelve students along with staff member Makenzie Schiemann and faculty member Matt Schiemann, traveled to the city of Masaya, the cultural basin of Nicaragua. In Masaya, the team worked with Casa-Nica, an NGO aimed at doing something different with their development work as they believe that the most effective way to truly help Nicaragua is by working with and contributing to the pre-existing projects and foundations already created by the Nicaraguan people. Casa-Nica works with the Nicaraguan people in a diverse array of project fields such as education, agriculture, sustainability, technology, and animal care. Our team chose to help Casa-Nica in their mission by spending a week volunteering at the National Zoo.
At the zoo, the team fully immersed themselves in the everyday operations and workload. The first two days of work were focused on the manual labor of building a new boardwalk that allowed visitors to enjoy the beautiful butterfly gardens. The team then divided up the rest of the work between painting the jaguar cages, building rope ladders for the spider monkeys to play with, preparing food for the animals, and even feeding the lions, pumas, tigers, and alligators. The team was also fortunate enough to work in the Rescue Center and Veterinary Clinic to help rehabilitate some of the infant and injured animals. The team formed close bonds with the animals and loved getting to spend time with all of them.
In the evenings, the team spent time learning and engaging in the rich culture Nicaragua has to offer. This included participating in a language exchange with a group of students learning to speak English. We also visited several cultural/tourism sites such as Laguna de Apoyo, authentic markets, Fort Coyotepe, the village of San Juan de Oriente, Masayan Volcano, and the beautiful Isletas de Grenada.