Hi, my name is Shamar! I’m a sixteen year old from Brooklyn, New York and I attend Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice. Today, I was the Leader of the Day and here’s what we did!

We had an early start today because we were attending a Nicaraguan high school where we shadowed students. Herbie was a student that I shadowed at San Luis School here in Matagalpa. When getting to know Herbie, she shared her experience attending school in Matagalpa and her dreams for the future. She mentioned that her private school can become very expensive in terms of the costs for books and supplies. She also told me that her dream is to attend M.I.T. and study astronomy and engineering. On the other hand, I also noticed that there were a lot of students who didn’t take their studies seriously since they were playing games and talking to other students during class. This experience was weird for me because in my school in the U.S., you are supposed to respect the teachers and always pay attention. So Herbie and other students like her, showed me the determination to gain an education in their lives.

After our discussion, we went outside to greet the other students who were celebrating each other because it was Students Day, a day in which kids are rewarded for their excellence. This was similar to graduation in the U.S. but it didn’t represent moving on into another grade. In a sense, it showed me that you can be appreciated before moving on to the next grade. During that time, a little boy was practicing his English with me and others wanted to take pictures with me because of my hair (I have an afro, which is rare here). Afterwards, boys approached us to play basketball because, as black men, it’s assumed that you’re the best in America. However, in that case, we were the worst as we ended up playing the best team in Matagalpa! At first, it was disappointing because this is the sport I grew up with but as we continued playing we noticed that basketball is a shared passion that connects our countries.

After our time at the school and a delicious lunch, we gathered for an educational seminar to discuss the differences and commonalities between the educational systems in the United States and Nicaragua. During that time, we assigned different facts and statistics about the educational systems in both countries where we thought they belonged. A few days before that, we met with Donia Sonia, a veteran of the civil war,  and we discussed what ways they tried to improve education in Nicaragua but after hearing the facts, such that Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and that little of its money is invested in its education system and that only half of all students go to high school, it shows that work still needs to be done to provide an education for the next generation. We also reflected on how it may be difficult for some to be motivated in school because there are few jobs and less opportunities than in the US. So people may not believe that getting educated will actually help them in the long run. One of the major factors for the poor education in Nicaragua was the US involvement during the Cold War, when the US was supporting one of the factions in the civil war that was tearing apart the country in order to protect US economic interests. In that time, people like Sonia participated in the civil war so education wasn’t taken seriously. This currently still happens but for different reasons because there aren’t jobs and over 50% of people without diplomas aren’t employed.

I connected to their story as a child of parents from the Caribbean. My parents tell me their stories about not taking their education seriously and regretting it. Every morning, before I leave to school they tell, “Do not ramp with your education because I don’t want you end up like me who have no brains.”I learned that children from other third world countries are instilled with these very words but have different ways of communicating that information.So I try best to live up to these worlds and make the better of my opportunities like join SEO and Global Glimpse.

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