One of the best ways of traveling like this is you never know what is going to be around the next corner. Allen and I decided to take the ferry out to Ometepe Island on Lake Nicaragua, mainly because it has two volcanoes on it, Concepcion & Maderas. Concepcion Volcano is said to be the most active in Nicaragua. We pointed the GPS towards Hacienda Merida, which is according to our motorcycle friend Kyle, a great place to stay. For $9.20 usd, we have a dorm style room with fans, mosquito nets and a restaurant 😉
The reason for this post, is actually not motorcycles or motorcycle related. My heart strings were pulled this morning, and that does not happen very often. Usually I see a cool spot or view, take some pictures and bamm, have a feel good moment. This morning, the owner of the Hacienda insisted on taking myself, Allen and another backpacker Greg for a tour of there primary school that is on the property of the Hostel. He teased us at breakfast with a unique way that they’ve built their buildings with garbage. Some of you may know, but in 2007, 10 years ago, I helped my parents build their current house in Quesnel, BC, so I am very familiar with Canadian building practices. Nicaraguan buildings are very different to handle the humidity and wet rainy seasons.
Below are the pictures of the Ometepe Bilingual school. It sits on the shore of Nicaragua Lake and currently educates 72 local students that are within 2-3 kms of the school. Some kids walk, some have parents that drop them off on scooters, and two students are actually picked up on a little 125cc Yamaha motorcycle (the school bus) that the school owns. This is a private run school that uses the public curriculum. Students learn Spanish as well as English as a second language. They employ local Nicaraguan teachers as well have a program to invite volunteers from anywhere to help teach the kids English.
Al, the owner of the property is really proud of the building materials that they’ve utilized. Ometepe Island has a garbage issue, just like everywhere else in the world. So a few years ago, they put an initiative together to get locals to fill 1.5 litre & 2 litre pop bottles with inorganic garbage, either from the street or home. locals collect pop bottles and collect garbage to fill these bottles. They cram garbage through the opening and compress the garbage to make a solid bottle. Once the bottles are filled, the filler writes their name on it and drops them off at the Hacienda for payment. Each “EcoBrick” takes about 1 hr to fill a bottle with garbage and each filled bottle is worth .50c usd. Basically what is being done locally is to replace cinder blocks with “EcoBricks” from a garbage problem. You can see in the photos of what is created from this cycle of garbage to building material, to finished product. This was unexpected to see today, and is unbelievably cool.
The smaller square school buildings cost approximately $5,000 usd for materials, concrete and labour.
For more info on this awesome place:
Storage area for “EcoBricks”
This is approximately $5,000 use to build