“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius
Day 10’s theme touched upon the idea of poverty as well as design, which was step two of our group’s CAP Project. The design step included finalizing the plan for the project and then presenting it to Doña Yadira, the head of Los Pipitos and the GG Leaders for approval.
5:00 was our wake up call. For breakfast, we ate scrambled eggs and a variety of fruits including papayas, pineapples, bananas and cantaloupe at Abya Yala. Every day, they provide us with freshly squeezed juice; today they served us a new, dark Jamaica tea, which was a hit among all of us. After eating breakfast, everyone attended the seminar on poverty, lead by one of our GG Leaders, Cristina. This seminar explored the different roots and causes of poverty, including place, politics, peace, people, and past. We also discussed and analyzed some statistics relating to poverty in Nicaragua, such as the numbers of impoverished people, correlated with shorter life expectancies in Nicaragua. This seminar helped all of us gain a new perspective on how much more poverty there is in Nicaragua than there is in the United States.
Our first field trip was to the headquarters of Los Hormiguitas, an organization that brings education to children and teens who can not access any form of education because they are working. By bringing education to the students, the people of Los Hormiguitas hope to inspire children on the streets to pursue more education and provide them with better opportunities. The leader of this organization, Prof. Santra, discussed the multiple ways that the organization interacts with children who are forced to earn a living without an education. Los Hormiguitas and their volunteers from all over the world introduced their different techniques used in raising the self-esteem of these children, including the use of a 500 pound cart with many educational games that helps teach reading and math. This cart contained many clever, colorful and creative activities that engaged the student.
We then followed Los Hormiguitas to a dump called the Vertedero Muncipal. Here, we were able to see many children living in the dump utilize the educational cart. At first, many of us were astonished to get a taste of extreme poverty. There were people digging around in the trash and cattle roaming around in the dump. An array of emotions were present at the beginning; however, all the glimpsers were quick to get comfortable with the children and others working in the dump. Some worked with the educational cart, while other glimpsers played soccer with children. We all found it so amazing and inspiring to see this organization dedicate their time to these people not only in the short run, by providing water, but also in the long run, by raising the children’s self-confidence to learn new things.
In the second half of the day, four designated speakers for the CAP project made final decisions as to what would be presented to Yadira, the director of Los Pipitos. Upon her arrival, the glimpsers discussed their main ideas and plans for the project, such as painting the walls of the facility and adding rugs, in order to make the place more child friendly. To everyone’s relief, Yadira loved our ideas and was very grateful.
After a dinner of nachos, all of us Glimpsers walked to the nearby school for our 3rd day of tutoring English. They all went successfully and many of us noticed the improvement and are excited for tomorrow’s classes.
Right before our nightly meeting, three of our GG Leaders planned a surprise party for our fourth leader, Maria, because it was her birthday. We all signed a big card, sang ‘Feliz Cumpleanos,’ ate some cake and had a very good time.
In conclusion, today was one of the harder days because we visited an extremely impoverished community, which many of us could not have imagined. Although many people may have felt uncomfortable or guilty at first, by the end, everyone was having a good time playing soccer or talking to the locals. Everyday in Nicaragua has shown us how much we can connect with others regardless of language barriers or social status.