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New year, new students, new Project Officer

Tuesday, 16 February 2010 — Hi! My name is Rebecca and I have taken over from Alex as the new Project Officer in Nicaragua, so beautiful La Bastilla will be my new home for the next year.

I can’t believe it has already been three weeks since I arrived! The first week was relatively quiet around here without the students who were enjoying the last week of their summer holidays. All that suddenly changed, however, in week two when the new school year started. This year we welcomed twenty-seven new students into First Year, bringing the total number of students across the three year groups at La Bastilla Technical School to fifty-eight. This is a significant increase from last year’s total of thirty-five students, though, there were only two year groups last year. There are a lot of new faces about and new names to learn but I’m getting there.  All the students and staff arrived enthusiastic and ready for the new school year to begin. What a positive start!

As you are all probably aware we have seven school businesses now: coffee plants, egg production, pig-rearing, beekeeping, a vegetable garden, dairy produce, and an eco-lodge. I’ll take you through the main developments since last time.

One of the first activities the students got involved in this school year was to start making terraces on the relatively steep hill where the vegetable garden is based. The idea is to provide some areas of flat terrain so that managing the area and growing our products, especially our treasured frijoles (beans) – the main ingredient in most dishes we eat at the school, becomes easier and more efficient.

With regards to the dairy business, unfortunately only two cows were bought in December, instead of five as planned, due to difficulty finding enough good quality cows. However, we are expecting the delivery of our remaining cows by the end of this month.

There have been several positive developments with regards to the eco-lodge since the last blog entry. La Bastilla Eco-lodge is now fully registered with the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR) which regulates and sets the standards for tourism in the country, as well as advertises on behalf of all registered companies. So anyone who is planning to visit Nicaragua and will be entering via the international airport in Managua, or the borders with Costa Rica or Honduras, should come across our brochures. More exciting news: last week we finished building and furnishing the first cabin at our eco-lodge! Adding to the existing restaurant and two camping decks, the new cabin has two bedrooms which can accommodate up to three guests each, meaning that our solar-powered eco-lodge now has a capacity of twelve guests. Next on the agenda is to build another cabin which will be a shared dorm capable of sleeping up to sixteen guests, which should be ready in May. In the meantime we are focussing our efforts on advertising the eco-lodge so that more people can enjoy the wonders and beauty of La Bastilla.

It looks like I’ve joined the project at a very exciting stage. I am thoroughly looking forward to what lies ahead over the next year, and hope you enjoy hearing about the developments through my monthly updates.


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