Entrepreneurship Competition Followed by a Surprise at My House

This morning (and well into the afternoon, as it turned out) was the Entrepreneurship Competition at the UCC, a local business university. Every year they have a university division and a high school division. Everyone always asks me if I have teams competing, but since I know nearly all of the high school entrepreneurship teachers in the city, the answer is that nearly all of the teams are mine.

This year about 10 of 15 competing high school teams were “mine.” Among the creations:

  • Milk with carao
  • Tortilla maker
  • Eucalyptus tea
  • Milk cookies
  • portable cell phone charger
  • Muffins
  • Peanut and cashew chews

Milk with carao is one of my favorite products and teams of the year. The product is excellent and I think is very culturally appropriate and actually has potential in the Nicaraguan market. They’ve got the proportions down pretty well, so they have a milk beverage with purportedly high levels of iron, which is just sweet enough and pretty much just tastes and looks like chocolate milk.

And the team is fairly persevering. They had a lot of prior ideas that I shot down. Beer (and then non-alcoholic beer) comes to mind. They insisted that they could find hops in the local market. I assure you, there are no hops grown in Nicaragua. Most teams would have shut down after a few failed attempts, but not these guys.

For the Spanish speakers, here is a video of part of their presentation on Thursday. See if you can figure out what they’re saying. Unfortunately, the audio is not great:

And of course, they won first place (well, tied for first technically). They’ve still got a ways to go if they want to continue to be successful. This was just the first of a series of entrepreneurship competitions. They’ll need to nail down their logo and marketing, as well as finish writing their business plan and gain a strong understanding of the finances. But compared to some groups, they are already way ahead.

After the competition ended I went to two of my schools to stop in and take care of a few quick things, then I headed home around 5:00-ish. I was exceptionally sweaty and smelly and had my big bulky dirty bicycle with me. And there were some people in the front room, which didn’t surprise me because my host sister, Gabriela, is visiting with her two kids. But then I saw this:


Tables were set up for a dinner, people were dressed up. Clearly, there was going to be a wedding. “Who is getting married?” I asked. Just Juan Pablo and Raquel, your host brother and the mother of his daughter who has lived in the house the entire 15 months that you have been here, Eric! Apparently Raquel had been meaning to let me know that they were going to officially tie the knot today, but it just kept slipping her mind.

I quickly showered and changed into clean clothes and was ready for the ceremony. It was a small civil ceremony in the house, mainly attended by family. Raquel has a small family which was mainly represented by her father. Juan Pablo’s mother, father, step-mother, half-brother, sister, and two nephews were all there. And of course there was Evelyn, Juan Pablo and Raquel’s daughter. It was a nice ceremony, and afterwards some more people showed up and there was a dinner and of course cake.

So much for studying tonight. Luckily tomorrow is a day off in León for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, so I’ll have some extra time.

Juan Pablo's mom, sister, and her two sons

Juan Pablo’s mom, sister, and her two sons


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