Hola amigos y familia!
What are some similarities and differences in the quality of education? This question was the center of Day 12 here in Nicaragua.
Our day started at a pretty early 6:30 AM! We had a delicious breakfast to start off the day. Following breakfast, we played a round of the game the human knot, which served as an energizer. An education seminar lead by our very own Ms. Scheppach taught us many different things about the Nicaraguan education system. We learned about the poor education system and its causes such as political turmoil, low teacher motivation, and a lack of funding.
Our seminar prepared us for one of the most informative guest speaker sessions we have had throughout this trip. Genevive, a volunteer for the Peace Corps shared her experience with us. Genevive is an American from Michigan who is completing her service in Nicaragua. She has been here for 47 months and has been teaching Business Entrepreneurship at local high schools. From Genevive, we learned about all the struggles a Nicaraguan student faces. Few students here are supported by their families to seek a high school and college education. In fact, almost 50% of students here drop out of school before they can even graduate sixth grade. To make matters worse, for those who choose to attend school, Nicaragua has one of the highest elementary school student to teacher ratios in all of Latin America. What can be possibly worse than not having enough school teachers, let me tell you. Nicaraguan teachers are the worst paid in Central America, additionally they are the worst paid professionals in the entire country. So not only does Nicaragua have unmotivated students, it has unmotivated teachers. Teachers who do not impose a strict disciplinary system and sometimes who do not even show up to work. I speak for most of the Glimpsers when I say that Genevive’s discussion was truly inspirational, motivating, and eye opening.
And after the seminar, I could not agree more. Education is the biggest equalizer, and for many teenagers in America, it is something we take for granted the most. Talking to the kids here has taught me that anything is possible if you work hard and you really want it. Just like the saying, “If there is a will, there is a way.” Many kids beat all odds of their success through pursuing higher education, and I think that is what I and many other fellow Glimpsers gained out of today.
After the incredibly informative guest speaker, we headed to La Amistad, a school for special needs children. Upon our arrival at La Amistad, we were welcomed by the Principal there. She talked to us about the struggles and discrimination that special needs children face here in Nicaragua. They are still considered outcasts in this society. La Amistad is the only public school that allows for interaction between special needs children and “mainstream” students. After the introduction, we spent time with the kids there. We talked to them about their likes and dislikes, we face painted, and we colored pictures with them. This trip was a small reminder about a child’s innocence. They were delighted to see the smallest of things, a marker or a coloring book, things we take for granted.The Glimpsers made me incredibly proud by their interaction with the special needs kids today. After spending a good hour interacting with the kids, we were surprised by a few performances they had put together for us. One of the performances was done to “Bailando” a very popular song here in Latin America. In fact, “Bailando” has become a Global Glimpse favorite since our arrival. Once the final performance was over, we said our final goodbyes and headed back to the hostel.
We came home and ate a very delicious meal thanks to our amazing cook, Dona Francis. Following lunch, we had free time for a few hours. During this time the delegation took to filming a video for the Global Glimpse board at the Matagalpa square and working on our CAP (Community Action Project) presentations. Once our filming was over, we broke off into groups and explored the city with friends. Around 4:30 we met up at the Hostel in time for dinner and in time to prepare for our English Tutoring. We went to school and taught kids from 6-8 PM. After tutoring we walked home and had our nightly meeting and I handed off the Leader of the Day torch to Emma!
Overall, today was a day full of learning and new experiences as every day here has been! Today taught me to appreciate the education system back home. I have never been so glad to have a school where I actually learn things and have opportunities to be successful. Our quote of the day was “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” by Malcolm X
Today concluded our final “themed” day. We have to focus all our energy on our CAP now. This is the imprint we will leave behind, our legend in Nica. We have learned so many things throughout the past 12 days, but it is now time to put them to action. We can’t wait to share with you are final project!
Being the leader of a group of motivated teenagers has been so amazing. Each and every single person has taught me something new about myself or about life. And I cannot thank them enough for giving me that. I will be bringing back with me a bag full of memories, new friends, and a whole new perspective of the world.
Shoutout to family back home, love you and miss you! See you soon!