Hacienda Mérida is an accessible hotel.
We have made the commitment and investment to allow everyone to enjoy the beauties of Ometepe and to participate in our mission for sustainable and responsible living. The restaurant/sitting area has ramped access as do the rooms on the second floor (even if you are not staying up here, the view of the lake is beautiful and it's a great place to read). For the day visitor or dorm user, there is a communal bathroom, shower, and sink designed for easy wheelchair use.
Darwin,the 15 year old student interviewed in the National newspaper El Nuevo Diario, is one of the students from the Ometepe Bilingual School in Hacienda Merida. We are looking forward to send children to the same event next year and funding will be welcome.
Young people improve their English in Granada
* 81 participants from around the country come for a week of reading, listening and learning a second language
* Six volunteer teachers from the U.S. and four teachers from Nicaragua
* U.S. Embassy, Peace Corps and American Nicaraguan Cultural Center promotes the studies
Some 20 young people laugh and shout English words to the teacher who is in the middle of the class. They're playing: they have to find out about a famous person. Is it female? – ‘’No’’says the teacher. Is it an actor? "No" he replies. Is it a singer? "Yes. Is it black? "It was black," replies the teacher. It's Michael Jackson! Shouts a student. "Right."
Thus, 81 young people improve their English in summer camp at Tepeyac, on the outskirts of Granada. Children from 12 to 18 years come from all over Nicaragua to participate. They met the necessary requirements to enter the "Summer Camp Intensive English", held for the second time in Nicaragua. It is aimed at outstanding students from secondary schools, public schools, and from families with low income.
Among them was Darwin Antonio Barrios, from Merida, Ometepe. The boy is 15. For two years he worked in a hotel to help his parents. The hotel owner found the website of the United States Embassy, which made the announcement about this program. Once aware of the program, Darwin Antonio Barrios then applied. There was a total of 160 youths who applied. Some were aware of the program by radio or television ads.
For the Communities:
Only half of the candidates were lucky enough to be able to participate and speak English. One advantage is that Darwin knew enough English because he learned with the tourists at the hotel. Darwin says that the English he learned in public school would not have let him pass the phone interview program.
"The 40 percent of the youth come out for the first time in his community," says Lizzet Gonzalez, Logistics Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy. And here they meet and practice their English: in different rooms of the retreats in El Tepeyac. They get up at six in the morning and then have intensive courses in small groups. Then attend classes in American culture, going on outings, doing assignments in the afternoon, and to finish the day they watch a film in English. Their day ends at 9:30pm.
The participants appreciate the intensive program. "Although the days are hard, children are raised without complaint and collaborate," rejoices the American Misty Ferguson, who is in charge of programming. The program for children costs 19 thousand dollars in total. But, students need not pay anything, just your ticket. They also receive workbooks and a dictionary. This program is driven by several institutions, among them, the U.S. Embassy, the Peace Corps, and the U.S. and Nicaraguan American Cultural Center.
Improving Young People’s Life:
According to the coordinator Gonzalez, these programs have a multiplier effect. Students share their experience and knowledge of English to others in their schools. Also, it helps them find work in Nicaragua, and gives them the opportunity to participate in access programs in U.S. universities.
Young Darwin Antonio Barrios dreams of becoming an English teacher or tour guide someday. "I like to communicate with tourists and attend to them," says Darwin before returning to class. Like the other 80 students, he will study English until the last day, which will be next Saturday. More young Nicaraguans have the same opportunity: the next summer camp in Nicaragua is already planned.