December 18, 2014: Day 6 by Robert

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on January 14, 2015 at 3:01 PM PST

Today we woke up as usual and ate breakfast. Breakfast was a little late (By Wayne's standard, that is. But honestly Wayne wakes up at 5:30 am for no reason!). 


After breakfast we went to work on the wall. I am pretty sure Sara was already there working before anyone else; what a trooper! 

We finished the top row of the right wall and with great precision the workers slanted the top of the right wall at a constant slope. It was rather impressive. The things these guys could do when it came to construction techniques was outstanding.


At eleven o'clock there was a confirmation but the people working on the wall did not end up going. It was rumored that Collin might get in trouble for having us work through the confirmation, but we ended up doing it anyway. 

For Lunch today we ate carne asada with rice, pico de gallo, and banana chips. Mark, Bianca, Wayne, and I ate with all the other workers. While we were eating it became increasingly difficult to imagine going back to work, but we eventually mustered up the energy.


While working I stressed my back and I came back to the house while Wayne and Mark continued working. Mark had to make sure to move all the dirt five feet over and then back over five feet again.

After Mark and Wayne came back, Mark and I went and played a little bit of soccer with the German volunteer, Ben. After a little bit of soccer we went back to the visitors house to grab our bowls and utensils and then we headed to dinner. We showed up for dinner a little bit late today, but they were nice enough to still feed us. So caring.

Then after dinner we went back to the cancha. I was exhausted and I didn't think I was going to play anymore soccer, but Mark and I ended up playing a good bit. I guess we had to make sure we were completely worn out. Mark especially. 

-Robert Long, student

December 16, 2014: Day 4 by Sara

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on December 18, 2014 at 4:12 PM PST

Buenos Dias,

This week we have had a series of interactions with Nicaraguan wildlife. It started off with an encounter of the painful kind when Jane unintentionally petted a scorpion. Thankfully it was a small one and didn’t send her into the land of pink elephants, which we were told that a sting can often do. The next day brought an unexpected visit to the house by a coral snake, no one was bit, but there was pain involved. Let’s just say it won’t be back to visit. The two foot lizard that tried to take a shower was shown better hospitality, and seemed to enjoy the ride out the door on the push broom, especially since I held back Larson, the cat, who wanted to eat it.

Wednesday took us on an excursion to see the Nicaragua outside the boundaries of NPH. A visit to San Juan Del Sur supplied our first real coffee for the week (until now there has been only instant), and we used that energy to surf and play in the water at Playa Hermosa. Que Tuany! (Nicaraguan slang for “It’s cool”).

Posted by Sara

December 16, 2014: Day 3 by Olivia

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on December 17, 2014 at 10:12 AM PST

Dío 3 at NPH Nicaragua!

This morning we got back to work on the wall. Large cement bricks were laid down in the trench. Some of us shoveled large piles of dirt and gravel to be used as filler for the cement.  

The work was grueling but very satisfying. We are starting to see height and the trenches filled.  

This evening we had dinner an hour early because the niñas had to prepare for tonight's Posada. There was a procession from each girl's house to the Ranchon. They danced and sang to several songs with homemade Christmas decorations all over their bodies. It was a sight to see!


After the dances they brought out piñatas for each age group to attack with a bat. Once a kid was able to break the piñata the rest dove to the ground to pick up candy. It verged on chaos. Wayne got to hit a piñata and it broke completely, the kids were very impressed.

There were lollipops and hard candies of different fruit flavors, chocolates and bags of juice. We are hyped up on sugar - hopefully we can fall asleep! Big day tomorrow.

Hasta pronto!

- Olivia (con Pelo Rubio)

December 15, 2014: Day 2 by Bianca and Hillary

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on December 17, 2014 at 10:12 AM PST

Greetings from Nicaragua!

Today was the first full day that we worked on the retaining wall for the slope behind the little boys’ house. We had a late start since breakfast showed up late, but no one minded except for El Jefe (Wayne).  Along with our group there were several volunteers who worked with us, like a student who lives at NPH Nicaragua and goes to college in Jinotepe.  The first task of the day was to move concrete bricks.  They were too heavy for most of us to lift, so others moved the soil that will be used for backfill of the wall.  Then, some of us started digging the trench for the foundation of the retaining wall. We used different tools to break up the soil such as a macana which is a really heavy long stick with a pointed end. Using the macana was one of the most challenging tasks of the day.  While we were working, a group of boys started to gather around us.  At first they were just watching, but as time passed the boys picked up the shovels and wheel barrows and started working with us.  They were so excited to help us and they responded very well to how appreciative we were for their help.

While some of us continued to work on the wall, others helped the girls with making Christmas decorations for the las posadas this week.  Las Posadas is a nine day celebration, with each day representing each month the Virgin Mary was pregnant with Jesus.  The celebration lasts from December 16th to December 24th, and the children have parades that re-enact the nativity scene and also perform dances.

Since the older boys left to go on a retreat, we ate our meals with the girls today.  Two or three people went in to each of the houses and we all enjoyed some beef soup with the girls.  A member of our group, Mark, has his birthday today and the group of girls he was eating with found out.  They started singing him birthday songs and cracked an egg on his head, which is a birthday tradition. 

After lunch, we worked on the retaining wall some more. We finished digging out the trench and made reinforcements for columns that will be part of the wall.  After some rest, we had dinner at the same houses we had lunch at.  The girls were a lot more comfortable with us and opened up to us some more.  Some presented their dances that they will be performing tomorrow and others braided the hair of our group members.


Bianca and Hillary

December 14, 2014: Day 1 by Wayne Holscher

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on December 17, 2014 at 9:12 AM PST

 Wow we are on second day at NPH Home for Children in Nicaragua. In that time we’ve enjoyed playing with the children.  We also assessed our project.

Started work this morning before Sunday mass managing to accomplish a hours. We moved concrete blocks and removed barbed wire fence.  Everyone got together for service and then we all ate lunch together.  After service some of the group made necklaces and bracelets with 12 year old girls. The rest of us, gluttons for punishment myself included, played soccer with the kids.


They’re GOOD. There is so much laughter and joy in the air.

Their school year works on the calendar year, meaning this is their summer. The students are done thinking for the year, wink wink.

During this experience of coming back to NPH I have been able to make new friends with our PWOB group.  We may only be together for 10 days but I will remember this forever. I was able to see/talk to my god daughters. They both go to Managua University and are doing great.  I have been able to see the rest of my family here grow. They all appear to be happy and doing great.

I would encourage anyone that has the opportunity to visit NPH Nicaragua to do it. They have shown me a new meaning of family.

Wayne Holscher

December 21, 2013: Day 9 in Nicaragua by Kristen Kirst and Brianne Vanderlinden

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on December 22, 2013 at 9:12 PM PST

Lessons of Love

The author of today’s post is by two staff members at Seattle University. Kristen Kirst is the Director of Advancement Communication and Marketing and Brianne Vanderlinden is the Assistant Director of Special Events and also a 2007 SU graduate. Each day is written by a different member of the Seattle University community making the PWOB trip to Nicaragua.

When we arrived in Nicaragua we were assigned three missions: pour concrete to build a sidewalk connecting the homes to the school, painting the school with new paint to improve student pride, and spending time with the pequeños.  Today was the finale of each mission. Sitting with the group this morning adding final touches of blue, we were serenaded with Christmas Mass rehearsals of “Gloria accompanied by the djembe.  We will never look at a sidewalk the same. 10 days has gone so quickly and tonight was an example of the family we have seen here at NPH and the family that we have now become a part of. 

One of the special traditions of NPH is presentations by the pequeños as they say goodbye and thank you to their new family members…us.  Returning to Casa Madre Teresa (our home during our visit) from the presentations is a happy yet somber walk. There is the tug of being ready to return to Seattle, but there is also the tug of a newly found home and the formation of special friendships that have just begun. There is something about putting your hands in the soil, sitting with pequeños of all ages, walking amongst their fields, using their tools, and listening to their music that continues to pull you in ways we will continue to unravel as we begin to face the reality of heading home to the US. 

This morning I [Bri] woke up with such comfort; I felt as if I was home, that I belonged here.  The long days of hard work and intense heat has broken down any barriers that keep me from feeling like an outsider. For most of us clothing choice is determined by the “smell test” and every meal we share is the most delicious food we’ve ever tasted on a simple plastic orange plate. We’ve learned it is much easier to simply eat with our hands. This trip has been so much more than a service trip. It feels like global engagement has taken such a powerful role in the education of our students and it has been meaningful to contribute while also gaining a better perspective of what is going on in the lives of current Seattle University students.

Today at lunch we sat with the littlest penqueñas.  Before every meal the little girls take turns leading us in prayer. You can imagine what it would be like to hear a 7 year old decide what she’d like to pray for… what she would like to pray for today is her sister to pay better attention during the blessing.

Love is found everywhere here. You see it witnessed by the boys walking with their arms around one another whether they are heading to the soccer field or to go work.  You see it as everyone gathers to say a blessing for every meal.  You see it in the loving expressions of the tias and tios (aunts and uncles) as they gently nudge the pequeños.

For us it is holding a pequeño on our laps as we watch the presentations each night in the Ranchon, playing soccer endlessly, pressing their hands into the sidewalk that will be a new path to school for them. Love is found in the shouts of “Hola Hola”, “Buenos Dias”, and “Como Estas” wherever you go.  When language challenges dissolve and a pequeño grabs your hand and laughs out of sheer joy when you mess up a word. Love can be expressed without words and we have truly experienced that at NPH.

Now to learn how to actually speak Spanish and plan a return trip next year.

December 21, 2013: Day 8 in Nicaragua by Nick Elam

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on December 22, 2013 at 9:12 PM PST

A Day of Light:

Saturday, Teamwork, Awe, Relaxation and Stars

The author of today’s post is Nick Elam, a senior majoring in Strategic Communication. Each day is written by a different member of the SU community making the PWOB trip to Nicaragua.


Today was our second and last tourist day. It was a great way to begin to exit our journey and spend some time seeing more of this beautiful country.

Our day started out at 8 in the morning, driving through Rivas and San Juan del Sur, to arrive at our final destination, Playa Hermosa. Before arriving at the beach, we got to see a few parts of Rivas and San Juan del Sur, two of the larger cities in Nicaragua. The market in Rivas was chaotic and full of life. Our van, Vincent VANgo, was bumper to bumper with taxis and other cars, as we tiptoed through the market. After leaving Rivas, we drove to San Juan del Sur, a tourist town for Nica that sported a presence of Gringos. It was beautiful all the same, and the bay was a spectacular site. After winding through a few more streets and neighborhoods, we approached the gate to the private beach area, paid our fees and entered the jungle-engulfed rode until we found our day’s paradise, Playa Hermosa.


This past week has been full of teamwork. It amazes me how quickly our group has developed into a team. We all supported each other, as each person has gone through their ups and downs. Today was in honor of our team and the effort we have committed to; a well-deserved gift.


Playa Hermosa is beautiful. It is tucked away in Nicaragua’s western coastline and separated from the busy, public beaches in San Juan del Sur. The secluded beach has a small inn, restaurant, massage area, hammocks, bar, surf equipment and few people. It was a day in paradise for us PWOBers. The water was warm enough to stay in for as long as you like, and the waves were large and perfect for surfing. The coast was lined with Nicaragua’s beautiful jungle; you could see every color of green in the tall canopies. I felt like I was in a beautiful landscape portrait.


Everyone got to do themselves today; we were all together and alone at some point. It was a great time to begin the process of reflection and meaning making for these past few days. Naps in the hammocks, body surfing, and eating some delicious food were a few of the treats we spoiled ourselves with. Before dinner, we made time for a reflection and sharing. For me, it was great to see how 13 people, few of which had known each other before, came together to give ourselves to another community, and ultimately form our own. This group is truly a gift.


After dinner our night ended with some light, both above us and below us. It was a clear night, one of the few that we have seen in our time in Nica. The stars here are impeccable, nothing dilutes their brilliance. To bring more light to our day, the ocean had another treat, marine phosphorescence. As you waded through the water at night, looking at the stars, you could see little particles of light shining in the water. The world has a funky way of illuminating beautiful adventures such as this.

The light in this day (the sun, stars, and phosphorescence) speaks to how brilliant and bold this journey and place truly are! …So grateful to be a part of it!

December 20, 2013: Day 7 in Nicaragua by Maria Hernandez

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on December 22, 2013 at 9:12 PM PST

The author of today’s post is Maria Hernandez, a graduate student with the College of Education’s Psychology program. Each day is written by a different member of the Seattle University community making the PWOB trip to Nicaragua.

Today has definitely been a day of ups and downs for the group. After the amazing and relaxing day we had sightseeing yesterday, everyone woke up feeling really tired. On top of that it seemed that today was the hottest day we’ve had here so far. Still, we dragged ourselves to the worksite and continued our work knowing that after today there is only one more work day before we leave.

Our word of the day today was gratitude and it came in handy anytime we were complaining about the hard work we were doing. Needless to say, we got through the day and were able to finally finish the entire sidewalk project!  Although I did not help on the sidewalk project today it was still a great sense of accomplishment to know that I had been a part of the end result. We were also able to finish putting the first coat on the second school building. After finishing with both projects we came back to the volunteer home covered in paint and dirt. On top of that I felt like my clothes were completely stuck to my skin from the humidity and sweat. Not a pretty picture

However, the day was made complete when we went to dinner with the girls today and played a great game of cards. Afterwards, we were able to watch them practice for the night’s holiday presentations. It never ceases to amaze me how the pequeños at NPH come together to do performances that showcase the variety of talents they have including dancing, singing, and playing instruments. It is great to see how the older and younger kids unite on these performances to bring happiness and smiles to the huge family they are a part of, a family of which I feel more and more a part of every day I spend here. 

December 19, 2013: Day 6 in Nicaragua by Helen Packer & Lindsay Mannion

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on December 21, 2013 at 8:12 PM PST



The authors of today’s post is Helen Packer, a Junior Humanities for Leadership and Creative Writing major, and Lindsay Mannion, a Senior Humanities for Teaching and Spanish major.  Each day is written by a different member of the SU community making the PWOB trip to Nicaragua.

Today was our first tourist day and a chance to explore some of the cities close to NPH. On our list: el Volcan Masaya, el Mercado Masaya, la Laguna de Apoyo, and Granada. At 8:30 fourteen of us piled into a little white van.

Laguna de Apoyo provided the chance to check off a bucket list item we didn’t even realize was on our bucket list. Apparently, after thousands of years volcanos collapse and form lagoons. That meant that we were all swimming in an old volcano.

By the time we reached Laguna de Apoyo the van had started to feel like a real Nicaraguan bus. We were now holding sixteen people, after we picked up Audrey’s friend Fatima and her brother Freddie. Our van (nicknamed Vincent Van-Go) teetered down the steep incline to La Abuela, where we stopped for lunch and swimming.  La Abuela looked out right over the water and our sixteen person table sat right up against the dock, precariously close to the edge. After being packed tight into the van, everyone was excited to jump into the water.

The water was cool and refreshing in comparison to our sweaty days of work. We cooled off and laughed about the fact that we were swimming in an old volcano.

In the second part of the day we drove down to Granada and took a boat tour around Lake Nicaragua. The lake contains a lot of tiny islands, mostly filled with private houses. On one tiny island, which was about the length of our small tour boat, we met a family of monkeys and became better friends than we were intending to! The mama monkey, Lucy, hopped aboard our boat, prancing up and down the aisle in search of food. She jumped up on to Fatima’s lap and climbed from seat to seat, jumping on people’s shoulders. Our guide gave Lucy some crackers to snack on and she wiped her hands on Helen’s shoulder. Helen wasn’t too happy about that. Lucy posed for some selfies with Sam.  When it was finally time to go, she seemed hesitant to leave the boat.

We finished the day with a several-hour dinner in Granada. After all the days of hard work, it was nice to have a day off, even if it was packed with activities.




December 18, 2013: Day 5 in Nicaragua by Kyla Terashima

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on December 20, 2013 at 1:12 PM PST

The author of today’s post is Kyla Terashima, a Sophomore Nursing Major and Spanish Minor at Seattle University. Each day is written by a different member of the SU community making the PWOB trip to Nicaragua.

Waking up today was a struggle to say the least, with all the work we have done our muscles ache with every movement and our skin is burnt red from the scorching Nicaraguan sun. Yet the beauty of NPH is the pequeños keep our spirits high and make the back breaking work well worth it.

Despite the aching of our bodies, anticipation for tonight’s posada was in the air and it did not disappoint. We joined the pequeños in a night of singing, dancing, and piñatas. Piñatas in the states may seem like a time for candy and some harmless fun. Here at NPH though, piñatas are serious business. The boys have no problems diving onto each other for a small dulce or fighting over whom next gets to take a swing at the life-size paper tinker bell. However, in this simple moment of whacking a paper-filled box, relationships are formed. We share smiles and broken conversations with the pequeños, learning more about them each day and them learning about us. Screams of joy and laughter continue to fill the ranchon until the last piñata has been torn to shreds. I don’t think a single person left without their hearts filled, even the often shy tias, who oversee the girl’s houses, couldn’t help but crack a smile and join in on the fun.

As the stars and moon shine bright in the clear sky it’s obvious to me the pequeños of NPH have become our family. They barged their way into our hearts and have made no plans to leave. While our skin tones and cultures are different, we have all found a place to call home here at NPH. Con mucho querido, buenas noches from our family to yours.