Despite the excitement of the seismic activity last night, your Leon Glimpsers woke up this morning on the right side of the bed. Early in the trip, this group is already showing a remarkable level of engagement and energy, a fact that was praised by all four leaders at tonight’s night meeting. We would ALL like to encourage all our readers (parents and pets included) to please continue to post your comments and responses; Brayan reads them aloud to the entire group at the end of every night meeting. The more embarrassing, the better! Joking aside, I do feel that it is important to inform you that your comments are read and treasured not only by your children, but by everyone here. Without you caring parents, none of this happens, and we truly appreciate your continued involvement in the experience that we are all having here.
Where yesterday we explored the city of Leon itself, today our exploration took us into Leon’s culture. After a delicious breakfast of pancakes, granola, fresh fruit, and yogurt, we hopped on board the bus and traveled to Xuchialt, a nearby educational institution that focuses on the arts, primarily music and drawing/painting. We were treated to the viewing of a traditional dance number, as performed by the director of Xuchialt and another one of its professors. It was impossible not to laugh at the two men’s portrayal of an old man dancing with his somewhat younger and more, shall we say, exuberant wife. Then, a third professor played guitar and sang an energetic song about his unfortunate experience with gossipy women. These performances were a magnificent introduction to Xuchialt, and they paved the way for what would be the highlight of the day for many of us.
Our trip to Xuchialt culminated in the opportunity to take part in one of Leon’s time-honored Easter traditions- sawdust artwork. Our hosts guided students through the process of creating different colored sawdust, by adding pigment to bags of white sawdust, along with water, and shaking them vigorously. The colors that the process created were incredibly bright and distinct, as you can see in the pictures I have attached. I truly wish I could attach all the pictures that I took, but I have selected the few that I feel capture this activity and its results the best. There are more at the bottom! This sawdust art brought out every student’s artistic side; not a single one failed to contribute to what can truly be described as two wonderful pieces of art. Not enough can be said about our group’s willingness to literally get their hands dirty and take part in the creation process, and a huge big love was given to each and every one of them during tonight’s meeting. We left Xuchialt with a feeling of accomplishment and gratefulness, as well as with a newfound understanding and affinity for the culture of Leon.
The day took us from Xuchialt to lunch, and from lunch back to the hostel, where we introduced the group to the concept of their upcoming Community Action Project, and then set out on foot to the Myth y Leyends Museum, which simultaneously celebrates the history of an old prison, liberated in the Sandinista Revolucion, as well as numerous Nicaraguan legends and myths. As we strolled from room to room, we were greeted by replicas of ghosts, spirits, and other supernatural figures, and our trusty tour guide Brayan gave us chilling descriptions of each one’s story and current whereabouts. At the end of the tour, half of the group was able to walk around the parapets of the prison; unfortunately, the other half was thwarted by increasingly strong winds, which were an indicator of coming rain that did absolutely nothing to dampen spirits within the group. Unfortunately, many cameras were dead by this point of the trip, and as such I cannot include any pictures of this part of it. Lo siento mucho (I’m very sorry)!
The last stop on our travels today was Leon’s central park, which we had familiarized ourselves with yesterday on our tour of the city. This time, however, we were there for much more than sightseeing. Today, students faced a formidable test- approach total strangers and ask them questions related to both Nicaraguan and American culture. To all of our delight, they passed this test with flying colors. When the group reconvened, students had numerous recounts of locals’ answers to their questions. I can’t put into words how proud this leadership group is of these students and their courage and commitment to the Global Glimpse mission, and to truly making the effort to achieve our goals for them. Today was a special day, one that I will stay with me long after I leave Leon, and I am sure the same is true for many others of us here.
I want to close this post with by making an exciting announcement and giving props to a certain student. Tonight’s meeting marked the first time that the prestigious title of El Lider del Dia was handed off to a student, and with it the responsibility of writing each day’s reflective blog. Your first student leader and blogger is *drumroll*…
Megan Ho! We’re very proud of Megan for taking initiative and braving the task of being the first student to hold ELDD responsibilities. We all look forward to watching her bring her friendliness and openness in a leadership role.