dear friends, the student trip to nicaragua is nearly ready for takeoff on wednesday, returning feb. 21. our friends group is working on several projects, led by george pardo, that the trip will try to advance. among them: 1. a biointensive farming expert will travel to nuevo amanecer next weekend to demonstrate the technique to students and residents. some preliminary work may be done. since nuevo now has water, it is hoped that up to four crop seasons are possible. the water system needs enhancements to improve flow to part of the community at a cost of about $6,500. again, some work may begin during the trip. 2. a solar installation for lights and and power is to be put in the community center during the trip at a cost of about $1,800, paid for by friends. george is planning a smaller trip toward the end of march to advance these and other projects. also, students will have another trip april 16-24. some members of friends have indicated an interest in going on one trip or another. if you're interested, contact pete white or george. 3. during the february trip, two solar cookers will be bought at a women's factory in northern nicaragua. if chefs de cuisine in nuevo and amanecer like them, we may purchase more, so that they will save money on wood and save their lungs from smoke damage. while on that side trip, students plan to purchase ceramics in condega that can be resold here. 4. residents of nuevo are due to receive title to their homes in march, after six years, and can legally sell them. a community meeting is planned during the feb. trip to assess their needs and wishes for the future. on another subject, the existence of the students group beyond june is in doubt. this issue was discussed at their meeting tuesday night. dick wiltamuth and pete will not continue as advisers, having returned this year only because no one else stepped forward. the issue must now be resolved. clearly, the positions have to be made attractive enough to bring tenured teachers aboard. discussions have been held between district administrators and school board members. independent study and offering a credit are possibilities. since this is budget season, a solution will have to be found in the next couple of months. also, jen brady suggested that a manual could be prepared on how other schools can emulate the students' success. we hope the last chapter won't be an obituary. a full report on the feb. trip will be forthcoming at our next meeting, march 6. please reserve your seat early.