Today was Poverty Day and we got the opportunity to visit the city dump, or basurero, which sparked a new found appreciation for many things we considermm jhjuhk trash. We were also then able to base our experiences and knowledge on poverty to create projects for the Hope Project to assist the children of Sor Maria.
The day started off at 6:30 with a pancake breakfast at 7:00. We attended an informative academic seminar on Poverty where we learned about rural poverty in Nicaragua. However, we got to experience a first glimpse of this poverty yesterday when we visited Tejerina, the village with the families that opened their homes up to us, enabling us to understand their lifestyles. Having Poverty Day after our $1 a Day was a great decision because we were able to connect the days’ ideas and experiences. We then visited Las Hormiguitas and learned about the Escuela Movil Team, who educates children working at the dump, giving them an opportunity to be exposed to education which was heartwarming to see because it’s not something that these individuals can be given every day. After seeing the reality of those making a livelihood off of others’ trash, we silently reflected on the vivid moments that opened our eyes into a world like theirs. It’s mind-boggling to realize that the meaningless items that we constantly toss away are what people make livings out of. At the group self reflection, we shared our feelings and initial impressions on what we saw at the dump. Most of us were heartbroken to see how the people worked so hard to collect the trash, but earned far less than enough to sustain themselves. Unlike the families at Tejerina, these people did not work as a community, but as individuals for themselves which was a major change in the way these people lived because it was a different type of poverty.
After witnessing such extreme poverty in the morning, we were given the opportunity to help people in poverty by presenting ideas to the Hope Project in the afternoon. Raul and Farrel from the Hope Project came to the hostel to listen to our CAP (Community Action Project) proposals. We had five ideas: Playground, Learning Center, Fencing, Garden, and a Rain water Collector. Our groups were based off of the needs that we all felt were necessary in these children’s lives; they exemplified the need for entertainment, education, security, and sustainable food and water supplies. Each presentation was well thought out and executed. Farrel and Raul spent time deliberating to weigh their options and ultimately decided on creating a Learning Center, Fencing, and a Rainwater Collector with any left over funds. We have three projects that we plan to create and we are very excited to work with the Hope Project in Sor Maria because it will definitely improve the lives of these children.
Nicely ending the night, we watched a documentary called “Dreaming Nicaragua”, which consisted of looking into the lives of select individuals and their families as well as their ideals. Many aspects of the film tied into what we have learned and first handedly experienced about poverty. For example, a fourteen year old, Yuri, lived the same way as the people we saw today. She lived at the Esteli city dump and made a living by searching for trash in order to stay alive. Her end goal was to become a model and her parents wanted her to be educated since they didn’t get the opportunity to do so. However, Yuri never finished school because she got pregnant at the age of sixteen. This is very common in Nicaragua where young girls get pregnant early on, inhibiting their ability to reach their full potential in life which contributes to the cycle of poverty.
We and our fellow glimpsers learned a lot today; more specifically, we realized how much we take for granted in our lives in the U.S. These people value the trash that they find because it is what helps them to know that they will be living another day. Both we and the people at the dump both share goals. Their goals though, are worlds apart from ours; we strive to be educated and successful human beings, whereas they are hoping to just survive. We have so many material items and are so privileged with the things we are given. We all realized today that we must be more appreciative and show gratitude to the people around us.