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Celebrations of Independence in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

For days we’ve been hearing the boom, boom, bang and rat, tat, tat of drums as local school marching bands prepared for Independence Day celebrations here in San Juan del Sur.


Festivities kicked off on September 14th with an awards ceremony on the malecon. A huge parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto followed.

Nearly every child from every school in town spends weeks practicing for this parade. Parents and relatives line the streets and look on with pride as their kids perform.

Celebrations of Independence in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Celebrations of Independence in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


Celebrations of Independence in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Celebrations of Independence in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

For over two hours paraders big and small marched through town in the hot sun until they finally arrived at central park for the parade finale.

In an attempt to get a clear shot for photos I made my way through the crowds of people on the streets and sidewalks.

Celebrations of Independence in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

As I took in the incredible sights and sounds around me sweat dripped from my brow and down my back. I was hot and thirsty and kept thinking to myself, “Wow, how do these kids do it!?!” 


Celebrations of Independence in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Parades are a common occurrence in Nicaragua, but this one was really something to see. 

Independence Day Celebrations: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Parade Finale at Central Park as seen from the rooftop terrace at La Terraza Guest House: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua 

Independence Day Celebrations 2015: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Independence Day Celebrations 2015: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Food vendors lined the permitter of central park. They served traditional Nicaraguan favorites including barbecue chicken, grilled corn, vigorón and quesillo. The smoky aroma of barbecue wafted in the air.

Locals enjoyed the day eating, drinking and celebrating with their families around town and in the bay.

Celebrations of Independence in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Although Gordon and I have been in Nicaragua nearly 4 years this is the first time we’ve captured Independence Day events on camera.

While a picture is worth a thousand words I have to say nothing compares to feeling the beat of the drum in your chest and seeing first hand the smiles on the paraders faces.

Standing next to my Nicaraguan friends and neighbours as they celebrated their country’s independence was a real privilege and spectacular experience!

How can I make a real difference in Nicaragua?

Today we are super excited to tell you how a couple clicks of your mouse and $100 can make a substantial long term impact on a child, family and entire community here in Nicaragua.

$100 = 1 child’s tuition for an entire year

It is often said youth are the future. This is especially true in Nicaragua. 

We are at a cross roads with this generation. Until recently a child could focus on the family trade. Fishing or farming often put education on the back burner.

In the new Nicaragua the workforce is changing. Focus is on English speaking tourism, skilled labour, entrepreneurship, technical abilities in IT and university educated professions.

Nicaragua has high unemployment rates and maintains stunning levels of under employment. We live in a reality where only the best and brightest are really able to flourish.

I know! I know!

– A class in session at Escuela Adelante: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua (PHOTO CREDIT: Jessica Gildersleeve)


Program Destiny is a critical first step in helping San Juan del Sur youth ages 6 – 12 on the journey to a different Nicaragua.

It is a two year supplementary ESL (English as a Second Language) program that is taught through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) based learning.

Students of Program Destiny get exposure to university laboratories, organic farming operations and health servicesThey also regularly engage in Skype sessions with students in the United States who are studying Spanish.

Escuela Adelante students are not just taking a step forward for themselves, they are helping their family and community move ahead.


Tuition for Program Destiny is just $20 USD per month per student.

The parents of these students believe in the effectiveness and necessity for this education and therefore are happy to pay the $20 per month fee.

$20 may not seem like much, but jobs in Nicaragua are scarce. The majority of individuals that are actually employed are earning $200 (or less) per month.

While Nicaraguan families aspire to provide a better life for their children, many simply can’t afford any additional monthly expense beyond that of which they pay for food and shelter.

For this reason Escuela Adelante sets aside 20% of its enrolment capacity for families that just can’t manage to pay full tuition.

Escuela Adelante does not receive funding from government or non-government organizations. Funding comes primarily from student tuition.

Although they get support from Bring It Volleyball Tours (who generously provide the school’s workbooks) and local businesses AURIC clothing and Chicabrava women’s surf camp (who help cover some of the operational expenses) they still need help to fund these scholarships.

Escuela Adelante has successfully secured a matching grant for all scholarship fund donations received through this appeal!  This means a $100 donation, combined with the $100 match, actually pays for one student’s tuition for an entire year.

If our In Nica Now readers can raise $1650 we can fully fund the scholarship program for the 2015/2016 school year.

With the upcoming semester starting on September 16th time is of the essence.

We would love to have 17 people step forward and fund a student for the whole year, but we know $100 is a lot to ask.

No donation is too big or too small!  Every single dollar will help us reach our end goal and we sincerely appreciate any help you can give.

Donate now & make a meaningful, lasting impact on a child, family and community in San Juan del Sur!

On behalf of the students and staff at Escuela Adelante we thank you in advance for your kind support!

Level 3 Graduation Ceremony

– Program Destiny Level 3 Graduation Ceremony

Please note:  All donors who are either living in San Juan or plan to be visiting are invited to meet with co-founder and school director, Jaime Hunter. She can show you first hand what you’ve helped make possible.

To learn more about Escuela Adelante you can check out their Facebook page or visit their website at


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