Today we took a break from the hustle and bustle, slowing it down to explore the reality of Leon, Nicaragua. Our group focused on the mission of humanity during our time here, interacting with local organizations like Quetzaltrekkers and Barrilete. Leon served as a microcosm to further our understanding of the world as we discovered new and effective ways to provide Aid and Development to those in need.

We began with a seminar discussing the ethics and complications behind providing aid to foreign communities. The group split up into two teams as we looked into the arguments and evidence behind providing and denying aid to foreign communities. Our conversations revolved around the shortcomings and necessities to consider when providing aid.  Towards the end, we settled on a consensus that aid may take many forms, but they key is to make sure there is a vision.  We must understand the community we are attempting to help. Aid may come in forms besides money, but ultimately, if not only on the basis of humanity, it is absolutely imperative that we provide assistance to those in need.

Afterwards, we dressed ourselves up as we prepared to welcome out guest speakers from Quetzaltrekkers: the director Mitchell Lincoln and volunteers Brooke and Suzanna. They came with enthusiasm and sincerity as he explained his mission. All of us listened while we learned about what defines an NGO, social enterprise, and non-profit organization. The Quetzaltrekkers’s mission of servitude and initiative inspired all of the Glimpses, and some were even considering joining the volunteer organization. The volunteers joined us all for lunch and heeded questions from the eager students.

Following lunch, all of us climbed onto the bus to enter the world of Barrilete, an organization run by a woman named Maria dedicated to aiding the children in the community. Children of all ages swarmed the students and staff with welcomes and hug, creating an environment of blissful gratitude and content. Maria took the students on a tour, showing us all of the work done by previous organizations who have developed and expanded the Barrilete facilities.

Soon, however, the students were exposed to the true hardships faced by Barrilete. The facility had bare unpainted walls and the kitchen was unusable in the rain. Most of all, Barrilete was in constant need of money and food. In spite of these hardships, Maria served as a mother to the children, providing them with education, meals, and even a home. Under the most dire of situations, Maria united the community of Leon, concentrating on the future of the nation held in the lives of the children she cared for. The Glimpsers recognized Maria’s love and commitment to the people and saw the beautiful truth of Leon. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, the group left feeling stronger, inspired, and more convicted than before.

Back at Hostel San José, the students were tired but powered through the fatigue, considering the needs of the community. Everyone broke up into groups and explored the questions of Who, What, and Why. Who is the organization benefiting? What are they doing to create the greatest positive effect? Why is their mission significant? The students answered all of these questions and discussed the possible options for development, tying into the previous seminar. As we began discussion about the necessity and priority of each idea, we concluded the  discovery portion of the CAP project. The students saw the true side of Leon and looked to the future.

Following our discussion, we began our next seminar to prepare for our English tutoring session tomorrow. The students went over the basics of being a teacher, but also recognized that in this experience, they are all students as well. Everyone split into groups based on Spanish-speaking ability, and after receiving their guides, began creating their lesson plans. Engaging the challenge ahead of them, the students gathered materials they needed and were prepared for the task tomorrow to take place after dinner.

All in all, the day has been packed full of emotion, discussion, and most of all, understanding. Powering through the blaring heat and dense humidity, the students remained focused and on task. Whether they were interacting with local organizations or holding discourse among themselves, the Glimpsers maintained a positive and inquisitive attitude. Constantly questioning the world around them and searching for understanding, their eyes were opened as they took a break from the festivities and discovered a new truth to Leon, Nicaragua.

Tomorrow, Ariadna and Jasmine will take charge and lead the group through another day as the students explore the realm of education in a new culture.

– Robin Fu