Today, was poverty day. I know what you are probably thinking. “Wow, Rebecca. It must have been really sad seeing all of the Nicaraguan people in poverty.” I’m not going to lie. Tears have been shed. But that wasn’t what today was about at all. It was about learning about the lives that some people go through everyday. Not about showing pity or shame when we see something different, but really understanding. Understanding that there might be more to a person than meets the eye. And probably more importantly that these people are human beings, too. To them, digging through the trash is life. It is survival.
I went into the day so nervous to be the leader of the day, and rightly so. Yes, I actually CHOSE to be leader of Poverty Day instead of Fun Day (which is tomorrow by the way. I mean LOOK at the names! I don’t even know). Yeah, yeah. “Rebecca are you crazy or something. That’s way too much responsibility.” It’s true that I’ve never been much of a leader. I’ve had problems with shyness and public speaking all of my life. I had to take classes to improve my confidence and speech. But the point is, I wanted a day where I felt like I could make a difference. (Yeah I’m not that fun, guys.) I wanted to not only change my group, but change something in me. When my leader told me that I seemed like the perfect person to lead the day because of my calm demeanor all I could think was, “O h god no.” I was already picturing myself crying as soon as I stepped out of the bus to the dump. But, that’s not how it happened at all (Thank goodness for that).
We woke up at 6 am to prepare for the activities of the day. Although many of the people at the dump were busy working, we managed to talk to a few people. I join a group and talked to a 70 year old man at the dump. He was sitting in the shade of his wheelbarrow and told us how difficult it was searching for things at the dump. He said, “Even after a long day of work, I would have only gathered enough things to sell for around $4 (U.S.) or less.” We eventually managed to recruit a few kids to play a game with us. After a “Name Game” energizer (and making weird animal noises to imitate our favorite animal), we made posters for the children to present to the group. We learned their likes, dislikes, dreams, and so much more. They seemed to have similar interests and hopes as us. After presenting a gift to the woman in charge, we left to go back to the hostel. After the dump visit, we had a poverty reflection, where students formed groups and discussed what they saw and what they found most moving. Although it wasn’t particularly as emotional as I had expected, the thing that stuck out most to me was when I was walking through the debris, looking down at the shattered glass on the ground and the burning trash around me. There was so much destruction around me. And the thing is, the people picking through trash at the dump don’t exactly have the most protective shoes. (NOTE: Don’t worry parents, we sanitized and showered thoroughly after the visit. And we wore protective clothes. Everyone was careful and safe!)
After the dump we ate lunch and had some free time. Everyone went to the air conditioned supermarket (yesss) and grabbed some incredible, well-deserved smoothies for the first time.
After free time, we took another field trip to an orphanage. I think it was clear that this was the highlight of everyone’s day. The children and the Mother was so welcoming and caring, they shook our hands politely and said hello. But as soon as the cameras were out the kids posed and smiled like models. (It was too cute I swear I could have burst.) We had a short tour of the orphanage and observed the CAP projects from the previous Global Glimpse delegations (beautiful paintings in the children’s rooms.). Next, we hung up the piñata that we brought for the orphans and watched as each child took their turns swinging the piñata bat. I can’t believe how fun it was just watching them and taking pictures (they really like cameras. That is, everyone except for little Santiago.) Afterwards we played a game of soccer with the kids (which they eventually changed to some sort of variation of American football.) The girls played with the dogs and the cameras while others played soccer. It was really sweet seeing students giving candy and gum to the kids (No pun intended. Hahahaha. Ok.). At the end of the trip, everyone was very obviously sad to leave. We took a group picture and gave a gift to the Mother. There was a flurry of bittersweet goodbyes and a lot of hugging. Luckily, I took a bunch of awesome pictures!
As we took the bus home, everyone was in a good mood. We sang to Karma Chameleon (I think that was what it was called) and everyone had a blast. We arrived back at the hostel, had dinner, and went to English tutoring. By the time we came back, everyone seemed exhausted from the long day (but the good kind of exhausted I think). We had our nightly meeting and shared some memorable moments of the day. Some people got emotional. Alright, I’ll admit it. I cried a little…a lot….in front of everyone. I was basically a mess, but I’ve never felt so happy at the same time. I’ve grown so close to everyone and I can say with certainty that we are a family. And even though we may be apart after the trip, I won’t ever forget these people and these experiences. (Yeah. Even the embarrassing ones.)
Sorry you had to read through this enormous thousand word post, but thank you. Reba out.