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Hey everyone, I´m Lauren O’Brien and I go to San Marin High School in Novato, California.  This trip is the first time I have ever been to a foreign country where I don´t speak the language, and so far I have been learning so much.  Being Leader of the Day has forced me to face my fear of public speaking, and I am so glad for the amazing other glimpsers for helping me find my strength.

After a few of us hit the local gym this morning at around 6:00 am, the rest of the glimpsers woke up at 7:15 am to head over to Quiero Mas  for a traditional breakfast of rice, beans, cheese, and watermelon at 8:00 am.  After breakfast, we spent the late morning back in the hostel for a seminar about politics.  This raised discussion about corruption in the government, and whether or not the ends justify the means. Our question of the day was: How does the lack of transparency and centralization of power affect the role of the government?

A fact that shocked many of us today is that 54% of citizens are willing to give up some of their civil liberties in order for the government to get the job done more quickly and efficiently. I was intrigued by the opinions my fellow glimpsers had. This seminar raised many questions about the legality and shady dealings of the so called democratic governments around the world. These questions were soon answered when our guest speaker, Silvio who is a lawyer and also studying law and political science at the UNAN, Leon´s nearest university. He spoke to us about the similarities and differences between political history and structures of the United States, Nicaragua, and Europe. Silvio´s presentation helped us to see politics through the eyes of another culture. As his and our leader´s opinions were on two opposite poles, this left us glimpsers to decide for ourselves how we viewed the different types of “democratic” government.

After lunch at Queiro Mas, we went to the Museo de la Revolucion.  This museum holds the history of Nicaragua’s Samoza era, with pictures and replicas from the battle that took place here in Leon.  Our tour guide Roger actually fought in these revolts; he even pointed out a photograph that he was in with his gun held high.  Most of the soldiers in these photos were around 16 to 18 years old. This really helped me to see how young adults are truly the ones who bring about change, and that all of us here could make a difference, certainly not taking up arms to fight, but to stand up for what we believe in and create change in this world.  Even though we know that we don’t have to shoot anyone for what we believe in, it was pretty awesome seeing everyone try on the helmet and carry the bazooka that was once used during the revolutionary war here in Nicaragua.

After our trip to the museo, we went off for an hour and a half of free time, where some of us went to the cyber or the supermercado (supermarket) to help with both the communication and junk food withdrawals we have been experiencing. Then after a few minutes of rounding everybody back up at the hostel, we set off for dinner at Queiro Mas and our English tutoring that we do with the university students at UNAN.

When I signed up to lead this day I was weary that I chose one of the slower days on the trip, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how much everyone had to offer and how much they appreciated the museum.  I showed myself how to come out of my shell more today and that staying strong is so much easier with all of these amazing people here to back me up. Now as I am so far away from my real family, I still feel like I have a family right here in Leon.