Politics day began at 6:15 this morning, but if I was honest I would say that no one was truly awake until after breakfast. When breakfast was finished, we all rushed outside to get some fresh air and to play an intense game of “Ninja”.

Next, we had Dayling, Caesar, and Alberto Rosales from the Centro Nicaraguanese de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH) come to our hostel to discuss the reality of modern-day Nicaragua’s political state. CENIDH is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that promotes the education of human rights in Nicaragua and the rightful indictment of political crime and corruption. Each speaker woke up around 4:45 this morning and suffered through a 3 hour long bus ride just to speak to us!

During CENIDH’s speech and presentation, we learned about Nicaragua’s current president Daniel Ortega and his plan to build a $50 billion canal across Nicaragua to join the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Although this canal can bring large economic success, many of Nicaragua’s citizens believe that its negative impacts outweigh its benefits. If this canal is built, it will destroy many of rural Nicaragua’s forests and will displace over 100,000 people throughout the region. Since 2014, there has been 42 protest demonstrations from citizens nationwide who oppose Ortega’s canal. In fact, 24 citizens were killed in one protest just last December.

Many of us within the group felt a sense of familiarity when we compared Nicaragua’s opposition to Ortega’s plan to our experiences with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It especially made me think about how our upbringing in the SF Bay affected the way we reacted to Rosales’ speech and the idea of political corruption. In the end, I realized just how thankful I should be to know my rights as a human and to know that I have access to the education and knowledge that gives me a political voice back in the States.

After lunch and a couple of energizer activities, a Theater troupe from Estelí performed a short, storybook-esque skit that summarized Nicaragua’s political history post-Spanish rule. They made the learning experience quirky, fun and interactive! It was really awesome to see young people from the troupe use their art and their passion for theater and history to spread a message of education and awareness across their own community in addition to ours.

The rest of the day consisted of some more CAP donation hunting and English classes. The night consisted of dinner, a recap of our English classes and the nightly meeting. It’s now almost time for lights out! We have a big day tomorrow and an early start! Goodnight!

Personal Messages:
Ari: Hi Mom, Dad, and Cerica! I miss you guys a lot! Make sure you feed the rabbit!!
Jessica: I almost feel like I live here now but I’m counting down the days until I can be with you all. I wish I could just have you all here and it’d be A ok. I love every one of you that I know is reading this.
Claudia: I miss everyone at home. Love you guys!!