This past week, a group of ten Colby students with an eclectic mix of class years, majors and backgrounds traveled to Nicaragua through the CVC’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program. The group spent the week building the foundation of a small school in a small rural community called Las Cebitas, about 45 minutes outside of the capital of Managua. After helping local masons by digging six-foot holes, mixing dozens of loads of concrete, and bending countless meters of rebar, the group had the opportunity to visit Nicaraguan historical sites including the former national palace, the Sandino memorial, and Coyotepe, a 19th century fortress used as political prison and torture chamber by the Somoza regime up until the early 1980’s. Even more than volunteering their time and learning about the history and culture of the beautiful Central American nation, the group enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the people of Las Cebitas by working side-by-side the masons and playing with their kids. Each and every Colby student on the trip was profoundly impacted by the experience and (reluctantly) left Nicaragua with a new understanding of both the culture and people of the area and the global processes of inequality and service.

The journey to Las Cebitas, however, began long before the group departed Mayflower Hill towards Logan. The group has been engaged in educational seminars led by Colby Professors and staff in order to be better prepared to reflect on their experience in Nicaragua. In addition, one of the goals of ASB is to offer the experience to all Colby students regardless of their socio-economic situation. The CVC is able to do this principally through the Goldfarb Center ASB Financial Aid Initiative, and with strong support from the Latin-American Studies Department, Student Government Association, Campus Life, and the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation. The group raised their remaining fee through bottle drives and coat checks on campus and through various off-campus donors. The trip would not have been possible without the contributions of these parties, and the participants are incredibly grateful for this support.

If you would like to learn more about leading and participating in Alternative Spring Break next year, please contact cvc@colby.edu.