Here in the cool and rainy yet hot and humid weather of Estelí, we have spent our morning observing one of the city’s dumping grounds. Unfortunately, many locals to Estelí have no knowledge or awareness that they live so close to a dumping ground. At the dumping grounds there were an estimate of 30 – 40 workers; their age ranging from five years old to mid 50’s. As you can imagine, everywhere you turn, there is a large pile of trash mixed with dirt and also a plethora of insects flying around. The workers would come into work at 7 am and leave at 5 pm. Although this job may sound easy, just putting plastic bottles into a large bag, (the size of a small room), the working conditions hinder many from working more efficiently. Each bag, filled to the rim, only cost about $4 U.S. dollars. Being able to visit the city’s dumping ground was a heartbreaking and also eye-opening experience for all of the Glimpsers. It took a while to process what we had just been exposed to and witnessing the extreme poverty that we had seen earlier in the day. This experience has changed everyone’s perspective on poverty and also their way of life.
Many think that poverty is not being able to support yourself or your family, but there are also countless underlying factors: being under a ridiculous amount of stress about not being able to provide food, clean clothes, clean water, a warm home for their family, etc. The conditions that the Nicaraguans at the dump live and work in is unbelievable and heartbreaking. After our field trip to the dumping grounds, we lightened the mood by going to the internet cafe and also to one of the smaller super markets by our hostel. There, some Glimpsers emailed home and bought snacks to prepare themselves for teaching their first English class. The class lasted from 6 – 7:30 pm and was held in an active fire department building. Noting that our first class was on a Saturday, around 30 students showed up eager to start learning English. All the Glimpsers had an amazing time teaching their students English while also practicing some Spanish. When class first started, a majority of the students were intimidated yet excited to learn English from us. Thankfully, once everyone was introduced, all the students opened up and had an amazing time. By the end of class, all the students walked out knowing more English than when they first walked in.
Being the new leader of the day was challenging at first, but became easier as the day went on. Today’s schedule was changed around quite a bit due to the cancellation of two of our guest speakers regarding poverty in Nicaragua. With the last minute changes, we decided to fill in the time by planning our English lessons, going to the internet cafe, and also to the supermarket by our hostel. The leadership experience helped me realize that nothing ever goes the way it was planned and that you need to think quick on how to fill the time in. This experience most definitely strengthened my leadership skills in many different aspects: being social with the group, but also differentiating yourself as the leader, and also speaking up to get everyone’s attention.
On this day particularly, many had experienced their lowest lows and also their highest highs. Experiencing the dumping grounds and knowing that families live there is awful. However, teaching the eager students English was the highlight of the day that helped us end the day on a joyous and spectacular note.