‘degrassi’ nicaragua entry 4: ana golja journal

Ana Golja
03/10/13
ana-golja-nicaragua-journal

This past August I had the pleasure of joining my fellow cast members on a Me to We trip to Nicaragua. I knew right when I found out about the trip that I’d want to be a part of it. I am very close to my family and had never travelled anywhere without them, but with the help of my Degrassi and Me to We friends, I was able to let go and really embrace this experience

I thought I knew exactly what this trip would be like—work, make a difference, meet some kids—but never in my dreams did I imagine it would affect me the way it did. The connections I made, even despite the language barrier, were astounding.

At the worksite one day, a boy by the name of Eduard brought his mp3 player. He played a couple of songs that we all hummed to, but then he turned on “You’re The One That I Want” from “Grease.” Aislinn and I exchanged looks and started belting it out! The kids and workers nearby gave us awkward looks and started laughing, until all of a sudden they all started singing too! It was at that moment that I started to bond with the people of the community.

In addition to making connections with the people of El Trapiche, I also got to bond with my cast-mates. I specifically remember one rainy morning. We were on our way to the worksite, which was a 40-minute drive up a huge mountain on a narrow dirt road, when our bus got stuck in mud. Our trip facilitators, Jameson and Tara, were contemplating taking us back to the hotel but we all refused. We wanted to go in and do the work we came to do. Fortunately, Camilo, the Free The Children rep in Nicaragua, came to the rescue in his pick-up and took us to the worksite, three people at a time. When we all made it the rain started to pour heavily. It was the biggest thunderstorm I had ever experienced.  Finally we couldn’t take the loud pounding of the rain anymore so we joined together and sang a medley of songs at the top of our lungs to drown out the storm. That moment was one of the greatest parts of the trip. It somehow brought all of us that much closer.

This was truly the trip of a lifetime. It was a wonderful balance of community work, education and fun. I made incredible connections with people, realized how fortunate we are and made memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I learned a lot, cried a lot and laughed non-stop. My time in Nicaragua really showed me what a big difference a small group of people can make in a very short amount of time.  This may have been my first trip but it definitely won’t be the last.  Already looking forward to next year…

Ana

Don’t miss the special broadcast of ‘Degrassi In Nicaragua’ Thursday, October 3 at 9:30e/6:30p immediately following the fall premiere on MTV!