A ‘walk in my shoes’ experience
Each year, the Bainbridge Ometepe Sister Islands Association takes a delegation of high school students from Bainbridge to Ometepe for about two weeks. Ometepe families open their homes to the students and help them experience life in a different culture. For many Bainbridge students, it is a life-changing experience. Many of the students and their host families develop deep, long-lasting friendships.
Video made by Ben Cowan, one of our 2013 student delegates to Ometepe.
Students prepare for the trip by learning about our organization, participating in cultural-awareness activities, and exchanging letters with their soon-to-be host families. Students also participate in a service project on Bainbridge. And for the past five years, they have sponsored a fund-raising dinner and auction.
25 years after the first student delegation in 1990, a group of highly motivated, creative high-schoolers took it upon themselves to celebrate this momentous anniversary across both islands. On Bainbridge, they sponsored a community ivy pull to finance the 25th Anniversary activities: a Sister Islands display at the public library; an Ometepe photo exhibit at Roosters Cafe; the sale of specially commissioned anniversary pulseras; information tables at the Farmers Market; and designing and printing 500 post cards for a letter-writing campaign. They also organized a presentation by the mayor for the Health Delegation from Ometepe; gathered and delivered a suitcase full of mail from former delegates to their host families; and culminated their anniversary year by raising $25,000 at the annual student auction.
On Ometepe, they organized the first Special Olympics for children with special needs (see Special Needs page in “What We Do”) in addition to joining community members in four towns to work on construction projects of the towns’ choosing:
Merida—started construction of an outdoor elevated stage at the elementary school
Esquipulas—refurbished doors at the school (replaced hardware, painted)
Taquizapas— built a paved ramp on a very muddy section of road/path between the town and main road
La Palma— School play court
Find application forms and other delegate resources here.