Giving Thanks

Giving ThanksWriting a post for things we’re thankful for in San Juan del Sur has become a Thanksgiving tradition at San Juan Live.  It reminds us to feel grateful not only for the warm waves and beautiful sunsets that Nicaragua consistently delivers, but also for the day-to-day dedication of people that often goes unnoticed, for the silver lining in experiences that didn’t quite go as planned and for the changes in town that we can reflect upon as signs of positive progress.

So as is customary at Thanksgiving, we’d like to keep the thanks alive in San Juan del Sur.  Here are 5 more things we’re grateful for:

1. Auric improves lives.  Auric is one of San Juan del Sur’s most popular surf apparel shops.  The custom designed clothing is inspired by and made in Nicaragua. Auric’s artistic designs and laid back vibe is so popular among locals and tourists that it’s practically branded the town’s fashion industry. But what most people don’t realize, is that they give a significant amount of money to local charities every month.  Non-profits such as Escuela Adelente and Manos Unidas benefit from monthly financial donations from this popular surf shop.

2. Rancho Chilamate epitomizes the best of Nicaragua. Rancho Chilamate offers untamed nature, adventure, and a connectivity to the local community.  Every time I ride on horseback with Blue or stay overnight at the ranch my soul is rejuvenated. I always return inspired to expand my vision, slow down and give more of myself to others less fortunate.

3. Escuela Adelante is raising the bar on education. Jamie Hunter and co-founding director Carrie Valladares are bringing international education standards to San Juan del Sur.  Their supplemental education program is accessible, impactful and wildly popular among local students.  Its popularity is evidenced by the rapidly growing attendance. This type of innovative program requires countless hours of thankless dedication as well as regular funding. Escuela Adelante is critical to the forward progress of education in town.

4. The mobile library delivers so much more than books.  It delivers education, inspiration and hope to the kids in the surrounding communities of San Juan del Sur.  I’ve accompanied the ‘book mobile‘ more times than I can count and every time I join their team I return home even more amazed at the extent of their reach. They drive across rivers and down bumpy roads less traveled to get books in the hands of children that are absolutely thrilled to read.  This program is one of San Juan’s gems. 

5. The San Juan del Sur Day School is thriving. I will be the first to admit that five year’s ago I questioned the feasibility of the vision – an international school with a life-outside-the-box style education growing with the community. And yet every month it seems kids from all over the world join the community of local students. Their recent move to the newly built school house at Finca Las Nubles has expanded the opportunities for learning. Their teaching staff is diverse and passionate.  And Julie Speier, their fearless leader, continues to improve the quality of technology and education in the classroom.

We are thankful to have such wonderful models of generosity and social responsibility in our little ‘pueblo’.  Keep an eye out for our upcoming holiday fundraising campaign where we’ll be coming alongside several of these programs to support their growing needs over the holiday season and into 2016.

How about you?

Whether or not Thanksgiving is one of your holiday traditions, we’d love for you to take a minute to tell us what you’re thankful for.