As we awoke Saturday morning, the fog filled the valley and from the balcony of the La Sombra to the point where you could barely discern the trees at the edge of the property. The bird singing in the otherwise still forest gave the scene an even more dramatic and far-off feeling, as though we truly had stepped into a 1980’s-era adventure film.
The week had been a long one, but had also gone by so quickly. We had several long days, and though things shut down relatively early each night, we packed a lot into each day. Friday had been a particularly long one: Fred, Dan and Amy led the students in an all-day shooting excursion, while Will, Sarah and I worked on the slideshows. We had nearly 14 hours of prep time and only took breaks for coffee, meals and to attend the evening’s bonfire and mariachi party (pictured in the slideshow above).
The day faded to evening, and evening into the dead of night. Now we were loading up the bus and heading down to the town of La Dalia for our graduation ceremony…and that would be it. We would all go in different directions, with some of the students heading north from La Dalia and some of them coming back with us to Managua.
The graduation ceremony was fantastic, and the students were super psyched to see each of their best photographs printed and hung on the walls of the La Dalia Community Center. Their shows were so much fun to watch, but the students’ faces were even better. As their parents and community looked on, the students stood in front of us to say in their own words what the week had meant to them. Then we watched shows that featured each group’s best work and then the stories from the week. As we watched their images cycle through on screen, their faces were just priceless.
After the ceremony, we shared lunch and finally said our goodbyes. There were some laughs and a good many tears. It’s amazing how attached you can get to those kids in just one short week. It’s also amazing how our students in these workshops never fail to amaze. It doesn’t matter where we teach, what the language or cultural differences are, or what the logistical challenges may be: without fail, all of the students we have met have amazed us with their sensitivity, hard work ethic and ability to learn.
As we made the long trip back down to the capital, the bus ride was set to the background chatter (literally) of our two diligent translators, Luis and Sarah. Their energy and enthusiasm for life definitely infused a special character into the week. As everyone fell asleep as the ride wore on, I leaned on the window and listened to to the two translators go on about whatever they were talking about. As I sat with my hat over my eyes, bumping along with the vibration of the bus, suddenly all was quiet. Nothing but road noise. I looked over to see that both Luis and Sarah had fallen asleep mid-sentence and were out cold. I chuckled to myself.
Moments later, the bus lurched to a halt to avoid hitting a car braking in front of us. Both translators awoke in unison, and before their eyes were even open, they were already chattering away again as if they’d merely paused to take a breath. It was hysterical.