CSU Voices and Views

A Lesson on Life’s Necessities

By Mihir Patel
Business Major
CSU Monterey Bay

Note: Over the summer, 19 CSU Monterey Bay students enrolled in Professor Sanjay Lanka’s Business 303S class, an international service learning experience focused on community economic development in Nicaragua. Below are photos of the class and the observations of one of the students.

I think back on my experience as “Survivor: Nicaragua.” The number one thing I took away from the experience was to be happy with what you have and don’t take the necessities for granted.

We went to a local farm to plant coffee, mango, passion fruit and guava seedlings. The farmer used cow dung from his own herd as fertilizer. This is our class after we finished working for the day.

We went to a local farm to plant coffee, mango, passion fruit and guava seedlings. The farmer used cow dung from his own herd as fertilizer. This is our class after we finished working for the day.

Professor Sanjay Lanka spent part of each day teaching us about how the coffee industry works – from planting to production to packaging.  Here we’re getting a lesson from him at the meeting place of a coffee cooperative in San Ramon, Matagalpa.

Professor Sanjay Lanka spent part of each day teaching us about how the coffee industry works – from planting to production to packaging. Here we’re getting a lesson from him at the meeting place of a coffee cooperative in San Ramon, Matagalpa.

These are seedlings waiting to be planted.  We learned which are the best ones – the healthiest ones – to plant.

These are seedlings waiting to be planted. We learned which are the best ones – the healthiest ones – to plant.

This is the “office” of the local coffee cooperative. Members of the cooperative met here and so did we.

This is the “office” of the local coffee cooperative. Members of the cooperative met here and so did we.

The first day I thought the food was marvelous, and then I realized that the same food was eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner – every day.  We also had just-picked mangos and avocados that were wonderful.  That was the best part.

The first day I thought the food was marvelous, and then I realized that the same food was eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner – every day. We also had just-picked mangos and avocados that were wonderful. That was the best part.

We slept under mosquito nets, but the bugs still got us. I would sit on my bed under the net when I was writing in my journal.  We stayed in “guest houses” next to farmers’ houses, a pair of us in each one.

We slept under mosquito nets, but the bugs still got us. I would sit on my bed under the net when I was writing in my journal. We stayed in “guest houses” next to farmers’ houses, a pair of us in each one.

Near the end of our stay, some students went “volcano boarding.”  They sat on a board and slide down, being covered in black dust (that’s why they had to wear goggles).  I chose to go to the beach that day. The water was warm, the beach deserted.

Near the end of our stay, some students went “volcano boarding.” They sat on a board and slide down, being covered in black dust (that’s why they had to wear goggles). I chose to go to the beach that day. The water was warm, the beach deserted.

More student observations are available here.

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