May 20, 2008

Butler Volleyball In Nicaragua

May 20, 2008

Butler athletic trainer Randall Wilkerson documents the Bulldog volleyball team's 10th day in Nicaragua.

It was another beautiful day here in San Juan del Sur. After a late night of volleyball last night, everyone was still energized early this morning to head out "Nica Style" in the back of the pickup truck and over to a special project we have heard about our whole trip.

One of our guides, David Niffin, has been working on an "Earthship" house in the middle of a Nica community. The house is the first in this community but it is entirely environmentally friendly and easy to build. It's mostly made up of recycled bottles, tires filled with packed dirt and a mixture of dirt, sand and cut-up straw as the cement that brings it all together to make the structure. They are using a simple water system and sewage treatment and use thermal/solar heating and cooling.

The house is in the process of being built, but it was beautiful! I would love to see it when it is actually complete. The goal is to use this house as a learning center to help the Nica people and others understand how to easily build an eco-friendly house with the materials around you and to also to help with food production so food is readily available to the family who may be living in this house. To learn more about this project, you can visit the website www.earthship.org.

After hanging out at the worksite and learning some more interesting Nica lifestyles by talking with some of the workers, it was time for some relaxation. We met up with the Nicaraguan team for some lunch and fun on the beach. The Nicaraguan team does not usually get to stay in the places they are playing and really enjoy it, so hanging out today was a lot of fun.

Once all the fun and games were over, it was time to get down to business. Our match was in a new recreation center built by the mayor. We ended up losing 3-1, but it was a pretty intense match.

The last two days playing on concrete that has a layer of dirt and dust on it has been a challenge. The girls have been slipping and sliding a bit. I have also never seen them drink as much water as they do here while playing.

Last night was great because it was at night and the open air allowed great ocean breezes. Today, however, had very little circulation and was hot.

I have been using the my medical supplies throughout the trip for matches, the volcano hike, and our bodies just getting used to the environment, but since we are coming to a close I donated a couple of the extra supplies like tape, hydrogen peroxide and band-aids to the Nicaraguan team. After seeing the hospital yesterday and just experiencing their environment and culture I realize what we take for granted each and every day.

I felt like I was overly prepared if something were to happen here, where the other team might just brush an injury off and keep going. The coach was overjoyed when I gave him what few supplies I had left and I know they will get put to good use.

We concluded our night with a dinner at this great restaurant right on the beach and watched a beautiful sunset. It has been great watching the girls bond and get ready for the upcoming season as well as learning so much more about the staff as well as myself.

Adios!