Traveling is an exciting thing. Perhaps somehow less when it takes 24 hours, four airports and three flights to reach the destination, but in the end I was happy to arrive in hot Managua and begin the adventure of living and working in Central America.

With Tana arriving a day later I had Sunday for myself and I took some time to settle in and practice my still imperfect Spanish. I could not imagine getting around without any knowledge of the language as most people I have been coming across do not speak any English. My first excursion into Managua was aimed at finding a good place to eat. Initially, I embarked on walking to the restaurant in order to discover the surroundings but soon enough I learnt that the pavements were not always present and jumped into a taxi instead. The restaurant I went to served delicious organic local food. Before coming here I wondered what I would be eating since Nicaraguan food is not perceived as vegan friendly, therefore I am delighted to report that I have been eating well!

Monday was our first day at TechnoServe (TNS) office and we were cordially welcomed by everyone. The office is located in a house which has an interesting history itself – it originally belonged to a wealthy family but it was seized during the revolutionary rule of Sandinistas in the eighties to become a residence for government figures including visitors such as Fidel Castro. Following the change of rule the house was returned to the family and these days it serves as a TNS office.

Our first day saw us getting familiar with the project with the help of Ryan, the Nicaragua country director of TNS. Essentially, we are going to be working on two assignments: analysis of the costs and benefits of certification for nurseries which sell planting material to the farmers and analysis of the market opportunities for specialty coffee which currently constitutes 20% of the coffee exports. Our schedule is pretty intensive as we will be meeting with various representatives of the industry including coffee associations, officials, cooperatives and farmers. The coming week we will focus on researching specialty coffee, outlining its potential and limitations and preparing questions for the upcoming meetings with exporters. I am looking forward to learning about this fascinating industry while continuing to explore Nicaraguan culture and history.

The Volunteer

Marzena Loos

Senior Associate, Shareholder Services & Funds Administration

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