“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” –Wade Davis
June 5, 2014 was a vigorous, eventful day focused on the topic of Nicaraguan culture. Our day began at 6 am, with a great breakfast of traditional scrabbled eggs, gallo pinto, and cuajada. Immediately after, we had a cultural seminar that was run by our GG leaders. This hour-long seminar opened up our point of view with discussion on questions and quotes of the day. Robert, our Leadership coach, was great at challenging us with questions that compared America to Nicaragua, and he also spiced up our morning with jokes and satirical humor. Soon after, my group and I boarded the bus and headed to the beautiful, rural, untapped city of San Ramon near the outskirts of Matagalpa. The drive there was mindboggling because of the countless street shops and compact houses, which suddenly transitioned into dense vegetation and mountains. All of the students and coordinators enjoyed the drive talking with our new friends and leaders, and also being exposed to new parts of the country, ultimately giving us a taste of the Nicaraguan culture and life.
At San Ramon, the students were exposed to many different aspects of Nicaraguan culture including traditional career practices, living conditions, and food. Maritza gave the students an inspiring, life-changing speech about the struggle of women in Nicaragua being challenged by crippling financial problems, and the stigma that men have in this country. Their story of a multitude of failure, ultimately conquered by the strength of family and the will to support the less fortunate and local communities resulted in a complex business that we were fortunate to work with today. After overspending on handmade necklaces and bracelets, decorating our own creations, and making bracelets as gifts for friends and families back home, we left for a local restaurant that specialized in making nacatamales, which is a traditional Nicaraguan ceremony food. The hostess, Dona Adalila served us with smiles, passion, stories, and love and also taught us how to make nacatamales ourselves. At the restaurant, the best part was really bonding around a table with our newly made friends drinking coffee and eating traditional foods.
SURPRISE! When we came back to hostel the students relaxed and reflected, then travelled to a local university to learn traditional dances! Our instructor and his students welcomed us and after many failures and blunders, the students began to loosen up and really enjoy the dances. We danced to variations of salsa and other traditional dances including an ancient dance that depicted a farmer showing his love for a young woman. After a lot of laughter, sweating, and panting we closed our day of cultural exploration fascinated with the beauty, creativity, and prideful quality of Nicaraguan culture that I doubt any of us have witnessed in America. Finally, the sweaty bodies returned back to the hostel accompanied by Robert’s sarcastic jokes and personal “insults” towards the students that made our walk delightful. We ended our day with homemade Chicken Noodle Soup to satisfy our hunger. Reflection after dinner was insightful, personal, and rewarding for my fellow peers and me because each one of us found different parts of the day to be important and life changing. Ultimately, our Global Glimpse Delegation cracked at the surface of the friendly and proud culture of the Nicaraguan people, which left impressions on us that will last a lifetime.