Nicaragua: September at La Bastilla

Hi everyone,

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind of activity at the school, so there’s lots to report!
One of our objectives recently has been to make the campus really productive and our new teacher
of plant science/agriculture Mayra has thrown herself at the challenge! As well as planting maiz
and ayote on campus with her team of students she is also running a special project with the
support of a university called Zamurano in Honduras. A special irrigation system has been installed
and strawberries planted, with cucumbers soon to be added! In addition she has planted a new
vegetable garden containing broccoli, tomato, carrots and lettuce, leaving the former vegetable
garden available for a special project on growing peppers. We’re all excited to get to try the produce
once it’s ready, and hopefully it’ll make a good profit at the market.
The school bakery is also finally up and running, and producing delicious bread three times per week
thanks to our new oven built in August.
Construction work is also taking place at the Ecolodge – with a shiny new reception building now
complete, and a 4th cabin which will add two new bedrooms, about halfway finished. There is also a
plan to construct a deck area with a roof which can be used for meetings, courses or yoga classes!
Our hotel manager Eneyda also wants to try her hand at growing some vegetables and herbs for
the hotel in the garden. The hotel held a School Festival at the end of July, with a barbeque and
entertainment and made around $300 from ticket sales. We are now planning an evening of music
and dance for September, and hope it will be equally as successful.
We were very happy to welcome back a former teacher at the school – Margarita, who is now in
charge of the boarding school. She is doing handicrafts lessons with the students and helping to run
our School Enterprise Challenge business. She is also in charge of the bakery and runs a choir with
the students, who yesterday gave a special birthday cake and serenade to a tourist staying in the
Ecolodge !
The third year students have been having a new class in their final semester of how to write business
plans, and all are well underway with writing their plans at the moment. They will present the plans
in front of a committee in November as part of their graduation, and the best will win a prize and
perhaps financing! This is a great way to teach them real life skills and give them some practise at
entrepreneurship and public speaking. Competition is going to be fierce for that prize!
Finally a lot of my time has been taken up with preparing for the Teach A Man To Fish annual
conference 2011 – ‘Education That Pays For Itself’ which will take place in October. We’ve set up the
website and registration form, sent out lots of invitations, and so far we’ve had a great response. It’s
going to be a logistical challenge to accommodate and feed 100 people here for 3 days, but we’re
really excited about the event!
I’ll write again soon with more updates from La Bastilla!

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