Hello guys! My name is Jade Nguyen, and today, I was leader of the day. After waking up in the morning (a little bit earlier than usual), eating our typical Nicaraguan breakfast from Su Pollo Listo, and playing an extremely competitive game of “Zap!”, our minds turned to a much more serious topic: Education. “What does education have to do with the development of a community/country?” With this question in mind, the Glimpsers and myself proceeded to take on an extremely packed, interesting, and mostly, fun day!
The Glimpsers and myself experienced what Elena and Skarleth call a true “Nicaraguan transportation experience”. The tiny, colorful Bibliomovil bus picked us up, with 27 people (I think?) trying to fit into an extremely cramp, 22 seat car!
Nonetheless, we embraced the experience and made the best of it! =) About 20 minutes of beautiful countryside views and shocking scenes of rural communities, we all arrived at a small school known as the Sor Maria School. Stepping out of the bus, we were immediately greeted with the smiles and fun loving personalities of the Bibliomovil and Planting Hope representatives, as well as the community representative. We were then split into different groups, to teach different topics (body parts, numbers, letters, etc) to different age groups. For me, I was able to teach a group of 6th graders the body parts! My group members and I were shocked to find how easy it was to teach a group of kids something so fast! Each and every student put in a tremendous effort, and even stepped up to the plate when being put on the spot to sing the Body Part song! But, why was seeing an energetic group of students so surprising to us? It’s not every day that you meet a group of students who crave and value education so much. It’s not typical to find a group of students who will ALL actively participate and put in such a tremendous effort to learn something that may not seem important at the moment. Unlike most students in the United States, these students wanted to be there, wanted to learn, and wanted to better themselves. But it wasn’t only our group! All the other Glimpsers could say the same about their groups. For example, Fathima, a fellow Glimpser, spoke about how touched she was when her 3rd graders drew pictures for her to keep! In only an hour, all the Glimpsers were already so attached to their classes. We walked around the community giving food to small children and making small conversation with them. I think it’s safe to say that we all instantly fell in love with these kids.
Regardless, we had to start heading back to the hostel! So back on the tiny, colorful Bibliomovil, and back to Don Popo we went. We ate lunch and had another seminar. This time, our seminar was on our Community Action Project, also known as our CAP project. We were all clearly exhausted from keeping up with the kids earlier in the morning, because during the 20 minute break after the seminar, everyone fell asleep! Nonetheless, we got to meet more kids!
We walked to Escuela Perfecta Perez, a school right around the corner and a little bit more familiar to us (we teach English there). As we arrived, we were greeted by the school principal. He briefly talked about the history of the school, and answered any questions that we had. I don’t know if it was just me, but I could tell that this man really loved his job =) Anyways, he introduced us to two possible CAP projects we could complete on his campus. He wanted to fix up the Pre-School classroom to make it more fun and inviting, and also wanted to make a school garden that would group fruits and vegetables that would be used for lunch for the students! These ideas were very interesting and challenging! But to be honest, the minds of the Glimpsers were set on other things: it was recess and ALL of the children were out and playing!
We broke out face paint and jump ropes, and watched as the students quickly became attracted to us. It got real crowded, real fast! They were everywhere, pushing and yelling for a chance to get their face painted, or a chance to jump rope! All these kiddos were so cute!!!! The Glimpsers (including myself) were drawing 2 year-old status hearts, butterflies, and animals on these kids faces, and yet they still freaked out as if it was the greatest thing that ever happened to them!
It was quite amazing to all of us to see and experience how valued education is in Nicaragua. Every where you walk, you see something promoting education, whether it be schools, murals, statues, or the energy of the students! As Glimpsers, we believe that education is the key to ending the cycle of poverty. To see how valued that education is in Nicaragua gives all of us hope that one day this will actually happen. So much government spending, time, and commitment are devoted to education, and that’s such a comforting thing to know. Although there are still many issues in the Nicaraguan education system that are difficult for a third world government to fix, I believe that the mentality this country shares in wanting a greater future will essentially lead them to a greater future.
Thanks for your time,