I’m writing this last entry some six years after this trip happened. The final day in Nicaragua wasn’t particularly eventful. It was a standard early travel day. We caught a four-hour shuttle back to Managua from Granada, and flew back to the San Francisco Bay Area.
I have many strong memories of this trip still, all recalled in these entries—of the spark-fast formation of international community at Rancho Esperanza, and then how it just as quickly unraveled and disbursed, leaving a bright spot in my belief that moments of social magic exist. I remember the hole punched through the sky by the setting sun and rising full moon while evening kayaking in Estero Padre Ramos. I remember the combined fear and elation of climbing and descending Momotombo, and how I scraped away the back end of my new travel pants by sliding down on my bottom to get to the bottom on the lava grit of that steep sulfur-stinky steam-venting volcano. This led me to think again about the what a great organization Quekzaltrekkers Nicaragua is: exposing travelers to Nicaragua’s rough and not so gentle nature, while helping homeless kids and kids at risk of homelessness.
We first encountered Quetzaltrekkers in Guatemala‘s second largest city, Quetzaltanengo, also known as Xela, a few years before our Nicaragua trip. This is where the organization was founded, thus the name. We went with them to climb Volcán Tajumulco, the highest point in Central American at 4222 meters. Both our Nica and Xela outings were no frills—rugged and a little rag tag—but the basics are covered, and the attitude was great. The guides are responsible, organized, friendly, and prepared. They’re all volunteers, from all over the world, and they took us places it would be tough if not impossible to go on our own. And we were giving back to the communities we were visiting, to some of the most vulnerable individuals: kids. We saw quite a bit of poverty and groups of homeless youth during our travels. It’s always refreshing to find organizations in the tourist industry that are doing the right thing and providing a good service.
In addition to the original Quelzaltrekkers out of Xela and its sister organization in Nicaragua, Quelzaltrekkers León, there are three additional sister touring organizations: Condortrekkers Bolivia, Emu Trekkers Australia, and Cúrtrekkers Ireland. Each one is a nonprofit that raises funds to help underprivileged people in their local communities.
And now, to next adventures.