It was Thursday, June 18, otherwise known as politics day. We started at a reasonable time of 6:00 a.m. today, and after the allotted preparation time we went off to another great day. Breakfast at Buffet Estelí was a plain, but filling meal of gallo pinto, or beans and rice, and a fried quesadilla. With breakfast in our stomachs, we sat down for our seminar on, well, politics in Nicaragua. Part of the seminar was reading an editorial about Nicaragua’s current big fish, the FSLN (Sandinistas) and incumbent president Daniel Ortega. According to the article, Ortega has quite a track record, such as murder, armed robbery, and sexual assault, in addition to being a leading figure in some small political movement that came to power in 1979 (right, the Sandinistas). However, politics is never simple, and the FSLN has indeed presided over an unprecedented period of growth and stability in Nicaragua while its opposition has become divided over petty issues. Despite many rather criminal activities, Ortega is still seen as a hero of the revolution by many people in Nicaragua. Recently, he has even changed the constitution to allow himself unlimited presidential terms, and has been complicit, if not the driving force behind the cornering many private businesses into government hands. Ortega is certainly not the “good cop” in Nicaragua.
After the seminar, we took a walk to CENIDH, translated as the Center of Human Rights in Nicaragua, a UN-recognized activist organization. The courageous employees and volunteers brave illegal defamation and police brutality in order to fight against human rights violations occurring in Nicaragua. We played a small game where the objective was to fit two people in an inner tube and have them run with it on their hips without using their hands at any time in the challenge. After that bit of frolicking, the director introduced CENIDH’s activities and discussed what he thought of human rights in Nicaragua, GG leader Bryan translating the entire time. The director was of the belief that part of the reason of why rights violations continue to occur in Nicaragua is that the people generally lack full knowledge of their rights due to insufficient schooling, thus making it easy for any wannabe-dictator to manipulate the people. Thus, quality education is of utmost important for improving the lives of Nicaraguans as it can lead to both better employment opportunities and better civic responsibility.
While CENIDH’s commitment to human rights impressed us all, we could not stay forever. We left for lunch around noon, and upon arrival at Buffet Estelí we were treated to another delicious lunch featuring fried chicken, which surprised GG leader Renee as she had eaten fried chicken before leaving because she thought she would not be able to eat it during the trip. With lunch out of the way, we returned to the hostel to a welcome block of free time and preparation for Friday’s English tutoring, which I was very grateful for as teaching can be awkward without proper preparation. At around four in the afternoon, a “professor” came in to give a presentation. He was actually part of a small drama group and a small little ruse in order to surprise us out of our boredom. They gave a satirical, amusing rendition of Nicaraguan history featuring revolutionaries wearing clonetrooper helmets. The presentation concluded with some impressive break dancing (throwback!) by the supposedly shy actor. We had a few more minutes of free time and ended up playing Uno with two of the actors, which was quite a treat. Unfortunately, they have lives as well and left shortly before our walk to Buffet Estelí. Dinner was very amusing for a few Glimpsers as they spent most of their food time laughing uncontrollably, over a topic that I personally did not find out. Dinner came to an end as well and we returned to Hostel Tomabú for our nightly meeting. After that was over, we all looked forward to a most wonderful free day on Friday (tomorrow at the time of this blog entry), except yours truly who is humbly recounting the experiences of E2A currently. So, on behalf of my fellow tripmates, thanks for continuing to follow us and stay tuned ‘till the end!
Sean Li, signing out on June 18, 2015! @[email protected]
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