By Sam Romero ’17
Brian Thorpe ’15 visited La Manzana, Nicaragua for six weeks over the summer with the Amigos de las Américas program.
He signed up at the Phoenix chapter through the international office. Training is two hours every other week to learn about community work and leadership.
“Amigos is not for everyone,” Thorpe said, “but is entirely life changing.”
His project was in the northwest part of the country in the Department of Madriz from June 19 to Aug. 12.
“The most rewarding part was seeing the relationships I was able to build,” Thorpe said.
He said he was taught leadership and responsibility on the projects he was assigned in the small town.
“My favorite part was absolutely the people,” Thorpe said. “It was so great to be able to meet all these different and inspiring people.”
According to Thorpe, each volunteer is given one family to stay with for the trip to help them experience the every day life of a normal family. However, most nights Thorpe said he ate with the community.
“The most difficult part was adjusting to a lot of things,” Thorpe said.
The enviroment is different and was not like everyday life in the United States, he said.
Thorpe said he would go on another Amigos trip because of the travel experiences it creates.
“The Amigos de las Américas creates leaders and young men with authentic experience,” said Ms. Catharine Steffens. Ms. Steffens is the head of presentations of Brophy and works with Amigos. “Each program is a different experience and raises awareness about the difference of cultures.”
Amigos de las Américas started in 1965 and now has 14 programs throughout 10 countries in South and Central America with over 25,000 volunteers, according to Ms. Florence McCutcheon, an Amigos representative.