In November, we were contacted by a college student who was studying abroad for the semester in Central America. Dustin had found us online, loved the concept and wanted to see if he could help out in anyway after finals ended. He had been in Guatamala, Honduras and was going to end his three month trip in Managua, Nicaragua–just 20 minutes north of us. He had a background in fair trade products and wanted to learn more about what exactly we were doing in Masaya, so we invited him to come hang out with us for a few days. Dustin came the week before we were going to go back to the States, which was perfect timing because it was one of the busiest weeks for us–he could really see what was going on. He also ended up bringing his good friend Anna, who loved the locally made pottery and wanted to see more of the artisan areas of Masaya and San Juan de Oriente.
They came into Hotel Masaya early in the morning, we were both so excited to officially meet them both. After they got settled in, we all grabbed some lunch and started talking about LOOTB–about what we do, what they wanted to learn more about and wanted to help out with. It was really fun talking to them both as they had different, young and new perspectives on everything in Central America.
We wanted to bring them along with us as we walked through the poorest streets of Masaya so that they could feel and truly understand why we were doing what we were doing. We got to know a bunch of kids playing around in the streets so we took photos with them and gave them notebooks for school. Dustin and Anna loved it and it was so special to be able to actually share this experience with others because it’s one of the greatest things we’ve ever experienced ourselves. We portray how awesome it is online to everyone, but it can only truly be felt by seeing it in person.
After walking around for a few hours, we ended up going all the way back towards the big lake of Masaya. We noticed that there was a huge blue and green Movistar sponsored stadium with lots of music coming out of it. Intrigued, we decided to investigate what was going on. We walked up and I noticed the SF Giants logo painted on several of the walls–it was a baseball stadium!
The fake SF Giants logo instantly made me miss watching baseball in San Francisco but then I heard the sound of batting practice in the stadium and I had to go in and watch. Everyone else was down to watch some baseball too, so we each paid C$10 ($0.42) to get in and sit wherever we wanted to.
We walked in and headed straight for a seat behind home plate. The stadium wasn’t exactly packed, in fact it was pretty empty. However, that didn’t seem to stop the Nicas who were there from making as much noise as possible during the game.
There was tons of drinking, some of the guys looked like they had been drinking since the night before and barely made it out. Those guys were the loudest and most entertaining to watch as they danced around in between each pitch. Jonathon described it perfectly: it was straight from the baseball scene of the movie Hook. Extremely drunk people that were free to do or say whatever they wanted. It seemed very strange. Nothing like the AT&T Giants ballpark we were used to.
The skill level of the baseball players was about the same as a High School Division 3 Freshman team. The guys in the crowd were more entertaining than the game on the field. After a few innings, we decided to leave and head back into town to rest up and grab some Chinese food for dinner.
We sat down at Joshys, ordered and began reflecting on the crazy day we just had. We picked Anna and Dustin’s brains about what they thought of what we were doing and how to progress LOOTB forward with people of our generation. They were so helpful, made insightful suggestions and showed us their passion for LOOTB–it really made our day.
They stayed for a couple of days and then headed off to Granada to meet up with some friends, we were sad to see them leave but thankful that we got to spend the time that we did with them. They infused us with a wonderful energy that took us through the rest of the week before we took off to go back to the States. We still stay in contact with them both, have online brainstorm sessions and consider them a solid part of the LOOTB team.