Being the second free day of the trip, the hype (excitement) was real as everyone wanted to just kick back and relax. We had loads of free time planned for everyone; however, not everyone was in luck. Not exactly sure how, many students became sick starting with William the night before the free day just before I was crowned leader. Soon after that, a GG leader, (Jess McClish) became sick that same night and a couple of more students by the next morning. Now before any of the parents start to worry, the virus only lasts about 12 hours and every student has made it out healthy and strong due to extensive care by everyone else around them. Unfortunately, those that were sick were not allowed to leave the hostel during free time to keep the virus from spreading. This virus may have gotten everyone in the hostel worked up, but in the end we learned how much we all care for each other’s well-being and just grew closer as a big family as we cared for each other.
With all the free time given, it was even a bit overwhelming. Some students decided to just talk and play card games. What surprised me the most is that many of us used our free time to hand wash our clothes. It was great to see so many of us participating in hand washing our own clothes rather than just sending it off to the dry cleaning service – not something you would expect from a bunch of teenagers from NYC.
Free days are also the days when a lot of us just go out and enjoy what we have outside of the hostel. Activities included going to internet cafés to use the computers, call and talk to our friends and families, doing a little grocery shopping, getting food at restaurants, and meeting up with the other global glimpse group in Esteli from the California bay area.
After all that free time we had, we went to our English classes where we would help students learn English. In my group especially, I realized how much influence American culture has on the youth of Nicaragua. My two youngest students, Alvin and Amaroos (ages 17 and 18), probably know more about American films and music than the average American!
At the end of the day, I learned that being the Leader of the Day meant having many responsibilities like taking care of the group and making sure everyone is getting the help that they need. Before coming to Nicaragua, the one thing I worried about most was being the Leader of the Day. I thought that I would have to behave in a way which did not fit my personality and that I would be a horrible leader because the way I approach everything around me is different from the other leaders before me. I decided to stay true to myself and deal with situations as I saw fit and through feedback, I was relieved with all the positive things that were said to me. I learned that there is more than one way to be a leader.