It has been a whirlwind of a new year so far. Between a family death that took us back home and the coronavirus now threatening to shut down the world, it all seems like a blur. But thorough it all we have been busy developing Centro PUMA to take advantage of Nicaragua's uptick in tourism.
In addition to continuing our regular community programs, we are developing a tourist information and service center to help support and grow alongside our education components. Let's take a look!
Kids still come in droves for educational activities including lots of games and drawing. We recently put up some chalk boards to doodle on:
After Ramon finishes his English tutoring with kids, they always find a way of having fun:
Our last regular meeting with last year's Junior Rangers included comparing our compost pile to a trash pile that we made a year ago. Guess which one biodegraded and turned into soil for the garden?
We ended the meeting with a beautiful graduation ceremony where the kids walked a passage of candles where Arlin gives them their patch:
Doña Gladys's garden that we helped build is looking fantastic! She says that now her family is producing much more healthy vegetables at home, which has helped them financially as well as health-wise.
And now that tourism is returning (or at least it was until the coronavirus started), we are offering new services at Centro PUMA. It has taken all of our time over the last couple months to get these services going, but we are so proud of the successes!
We are partnering with Altagracia Spanish School where you can see Elieth teaching lessons in our beautiful garden:
We are exploring new, off-the-beaten-path tours, such as the "Cueva del Duende" lake shore cave:
Our garden has been producing daily bounties of fresh fruits and veggies
which our guides such as Serafin are now serving as incredible salads:
In addition to serving many types of coffee and smoothies in our "coffee garden," we offer traditional fire roasting of locally grown coffee. Here, Edgard leads a toasting session,
followed by tasting, of course!
We offer chocolate making, from fresh cacao beans--toasting, grinding...
to forming into bite-sized pieces:
Finally, we have developed a small visitor center with maps, brochures, naturalist books, tour info, a coffee and refreshment menu, and even a small sales area where you can buy locally produced goods such as spices and fruit wines.
There is still a lot left to do, but we wanted all of our supporters to know that we are working hard and we will keep you updated. If you have visited us and want to help, please make a donation at guiasunidos.org and put in a good word for Centro PUMA on Tripadvisor, Facebook, or Google Maps!
Stay safe and healthy!