X-ray 1’s stroll through Nicaragua

11th August 2013

Entry 1: Day 6 of trek

75 kilometres in and X-ray 1 is smashing the Miratombo trek.

The hills are steep, the locals give dubious directions and there are cows in the road but sweet bread from pulperias is plentiful, the views are astounding and our spirits are high.

Tonight we sleep in a military outpost 1,600 metres up, and it is only thanks to Maripaz’s Spanish skills that we have any water for the evening.

But she’s not the only talent in our group. Rowan and Sakib have been learning Cantonese from Bonny. Tom has been sourcing as much agua that Nicaragua can offer drinking on average 7 litres a day. The two Ollie’s friendship grows and they keep us all entertained whilst we walk. Zai has almost single-handedly boosted the local economy, treating us all to snacks from the little shops in our path. Hannah and Emily’s infectious singing livens the whole group, and Naomi and Amy are always there for a chat to keep us going.

All of us feel so lucky to have David, Sam and Jake as our volunteer managers. They have an unbeatable combination of optimism, strength and compassion.

We’ve just been enveloped by a cloud and the panoramic view of the sunset has been obscured, sending the temperature plummeting. We find warmth in a group hug and a dinner of smash and soya before returning to our tents for another 3am start and day of trek tomorrow.

Entry 2: Day 11 of trek

Week 2 got off to a bad start. I left the salami unattended and it got carried away by a dog. That salami was the Holy Grail of lunchtime, so understandably the rest of the group still haven’t quite forgiven me.

Other than that one very minor incident, we’re doing great. We’ve perfected our morning routine so now can lie-in till 4am and are even getting to our destination before noon sometimes, which is a nice feeling. With some cleverly applied talc and wet wipes we’re able to freshen up to a socially acceptable level before dinner.

We’re halfway to the Momotombo Volcano, and, impossibly, we’re still improving. Our stamina, pace, strength, cooking, friendship and tans are all getting better.

We enjoyed the luxury of a beautiful waterfall the afternoon before last, where we leapt into the goosebump-inducing water for a wash and a bit of a photo-shoot. The grime returned with the half hour walk back up to where we were staying but the memory of the waterfall was enough to make us feel fresh.

Liz, Ian and Helen from Fieldbase have joined us tonight at a community school which is a real treat. Along with their amiable company, they have bought letters and lollipops from our fellow venturers on other projects which makes us feel part of Raleigh.

They also brought us an eagerly-awaited food drop, including some salami which could be my long awaited key to redemption - if I guard it with my life.