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During a period of civil unrest and violence, a local eco-hotel is offering Skype Spanish lessons to support its local teachers

I’ll never forget my first visit to Nicaragua — the striking views combining beautiful greenery, delicate butterflies and majestic volcanos peeking through the clouds.

But the most memorable part was meeting Karen.

She was raising her family in the town of San Juan de la Concepcion while using her passion for youth to run an in-home daycare. At “Karen’s Cultural Center,” she taught children new skills through fun activities like art and sports.  

She taught me so much about strength, resilience and generosity of spirit. I cannot imagine allowing dozens of children come into my home (free of charge!) every day, and the amount of patience and love that she must have to harness to make it through the challenges that arise corralling so many small bodies together.

There are many things we love about travel. The opportunity to experience something new. The chance to dive into someone else’s world and live in it for a moment. Sometimes, we use travel to brush up on a foreign language, to keep our skills strong. But sometimes we can’t travel somewhere, or simply can’t afford to.

Now, La Mariposa Spanish School & Eco-hotel has an amazing solution. It’s only $12, and it comes at an urgent time.

What’s happening in Nicaragua

Since Nicaragua’s civil war ended in 1990, the country has been steadily and peacefully rebuilding. Though Nicaragua is still considered one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, the country has widely been considered one of the safest countries in Central America. Tourism had been growing rapidly and the country seemed poised to continue its upward trajectory.

Unfortunately, this all changed on April 18 when protests and strikes led to violence and turmoil with a death toll now reaching over 200 people. While criticisms of the government had been mounting for years, the recent domestic unrest began when university students in the capital of Managua were shot and killed while protesting a decision made by President Daniel Ortega to cut social security.

Even though the Nicaraguan government has since reversed the controversial decision, it seems that the damage has been done.

For two months now, Nicaraguans have faced regular violence, roadblocks, and food and gas shortages that have brought economic activity to a standstill. Small businesses have been especially hit hard and the once booming tourism industry has crumbled. Peace talks have been ineffective so far and it is uncertain what the future will bring.

Give back — and learn Spanish at the same time

Maybe you have been wanting to get back into Spanish after a few classes in high school. Or perhaps you speak reasonably well but miss the ability to banter during your travels through Latin America. La Mariposa Spanish School & Eco-hotel has an amazing solution.

While tourism to Nicaragua is down, the school has ramped up their Skype Spanish lessons program in order to respond to increasing demand during this challenging time. Now, you can help support local teachers by practicing your Spanish for just $12 USD per session.

Maybe you have a friend who’s been talking about getting back into Spanish. Or maybe you want to brush up on the language yourself. Maybe travel isn’t an option this summer, but you still want to expand your mindset. Now you can.

Details about Skype lessons

What: Skype Spanish lessons with trained local teachers

Who: Anyone, kids and adults alike! La Mariposa will pair you with a Nicaraguan teacher based on your Spanish level for one-on-one virtual lessons, or just conversational Spanish. You can even focus on a topic like medical Spanish if desired as well!

When: Lessons are offered the entire work week from 8 am to 5 pm (Nicaragua time – which is CT)

Cost: $12/hour. Participants pay via PayPal

How: Email Josimar at to set up a time for your first lesson

What do you need? A desire to learn Spanish, A Skype name, and a start date/time

About La Mariposa Eco-hotel & Spanish School

La Mariposa is a socially and environmentally dedicated enterprise, based on the principles of fair share and social/economic justice, caring for people, the earth and animals. They stimulate the local economy, bring responsible tourism, jobs, and sustained income into the community. All of their revenue is used to employ over 80 local people and support 15 community and environmental projects like school libraries, an organic farm, reforestation project, afterschool programming and a school working with children with disabilities.

During this challenging time in Nicaragua (more details here), La Mariposa has decided to close for the month of June 2018.

In order to help La Mariposa continue to retain and pay their employees, they’ll be offering private Spanish lessons over Skype with local teachers.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to practice or learn Spanish without dropping $500 for a class, here’s an amazing way to do it — while making a very direct impact on people who could use your help:

Reposted from our friends at Unearth the World.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathryn Pisco is a social entrepreneur from Chicago with a passion for travel and giving back. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio and attended Cornell University where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications and Business. After years of working in sales for large corporations, she founded Unearth the World (UTW) with her husband Mike, also a Cornell alum, after a 250 day, 20-country journey of personal travel and volunteering. UTW is a social enterprise devoted to planning meaningful and transformative international exchange opportunities for students, professionals, groups and families. In her time away from Unearth the World, Kathryn is a budding foodie, wannabe yogi and mom to beautiful twin girls – Lucia and Olivia.

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