Today was a personal day of anticipation for myself (Zoe): Working like a local, “reality” challenge. We began the day at 6 am and barely managed to drag ourselves to our favorite restaurant, El Comodor, for a breakfast of Gallo Pinto, hard boiled eggs, tortillas and orange juice. From there our “real day” as a local in Granada started. We were split up into groups of around 3 to spend five grueling yet rewarding hours working at the mercado, or marketplace (a hectic maze of haphazard and magically organized vendors packed together so tightly one is inclined to not be able to breathe). Once we had our respective workplaces for the day, whether it was as kitchen help at a restaurant, filling bags of sugar or rice at a convenience corner store, or screaming at the top of your lungs desperately trying to sell street products, we began the work most Granadians are accustomed to on a daily basis.
During our time at our workplaces we were fully immersed and given insight into how the places we find convenience in frequenting so often actually operate, and how it is most definitely not as easy as it may seem. The rice that we eat every day at El Comodor in the form of the delicious Gallo Pinto probably comes from a small store who’s 90+ lb rice bag was hauled through the ant sized walkways of the mercado — only a small task that whomever is working there has to perform during their 6am-6pm workday. Or how the addictive plantains we so much enjoy are made by finding a specific quality of “mature” plantains and frying them for hours on end to meet the countless orders that are put in.
After our collective toils, no matter how varied they were, we all could agree during our nightly meeting that we had a new perspective on what “hard work” really meant, and how the value for it translates between Nicaragua and the U.S..
For lunch, we enjoyed rice with ground beef, shredded vegetables, and pasta while the vejetarianos had their routine platter of vegetables and rice at, once again, our favorite restaurant. We went back to the hostel where we spent an hour prepping for our English tutoring class and another two hours discussing our CAP Project (which we will be presenting to Hotel con Corazón this Sunday). As a group, we were able to successfully decide on the components and layout of our garden as well as the materials we would have to buy.
Following our CAP Project discussion, we had a special guest speaker, David Callejas, from Nicaragua’s most well- known jam company Callejas (this was kind of a big deel)! He gave us wise insight on the business side of starting a local company that became not only successful in Nicaragua, but also internationally. Moreover, Mr. Callejas answered our questions, shared his advice on how to cherish life, and assigned us homework. As El Lider Del Dia, Zoe and I presented Mr. Callejas with a Global Glimpse gift and each received a most gracious peck on the cheek!
We went to dinner at El Comodor, where we had merry Gallo Pinto with tamales and passion fruit juice. Immediately after, we walked to English tutoring and had a blast with our students! The light bulbs that lit above my students’ head really brightened my day as we returned to the hostel for our nightly meeting. Working as a local, although tiring, gifted us a new perspective on how the people of Grenada work every single day, most often their entire lives. Although they may not earn as much as Americans do for their hard work, they never fail to persevere and cherish every moment of every day. While we were ready to throw in the towel after a mere hour of standing, they remained optimistic and devoted as ever to the work that they do.
Goodnight, and Al-thea-later!
(P.S. Sorry for all the name references of our GG group and if they do not make sense)