We have hit our halfway mark and it feels like time is now working against us as we strive to complete both projects. This past week was spent entirely in Managua, a welcomed change of pace compared to sleeping in four different beds in five nights the week prior.

Marzena and I compiled all of our interviews and meetings for our specialty project and created an initial draft for our presentation. We were able to lock in a meeting with JM Smucker’s, another partner of TechnoServe’s, and also pay Edwin (ACEN) another visit. Comparing what we knew when we met him our first week, to what we know now, we want to continue to utilize him as a resource. Still, this project feels particularly daunting and we have quite a ways to go.

Our week ended with our final component, Finances, of our Business Model Training with Danilo and Orlando which we will be incorporating with our producers this coming week for the nursery certification project. They took us offsite (field trip!), very appropriately, to Casa del Café. This is the closest equivalent to a Starbucks, but in general, Nicaragua is not a coffee consuming culture. Despite it being one of the most important exports, Nicaraguans per capita consume approximately 4.4lbs/year, and often prefer lower quality (Robusta) coffee. I’m sure it also doesn’t help that the prices are very similar to US prices – a cup of coffee/espresso at Casa del Café is anywhere from $2-4 USD.

The upside to staying in Managua for the week was that I was able to finally have something of a routine. We found a gym a couple blocks from the hotel which has been useful as it gets dark so early here and Managua isn’t exactly a walking city – a difficult adjustment since I am so accustomed to walking everywhere in NYC. This also meant we were able to get lunch at the local parrilla across the street from TechnoServe, where most of the employees go, a few times this week. The gallopinto is smoky from being cooked in a pot on the grill and in Ryan’s opinion, the best in Managua. I don’t disagree, and I certainly don’t disagree with the price tag – fifty cents!

The Volunteer

Tana Megalos

Associate-Internal Advisor Consultant, GWM

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