After a brief workshop where students compared education statistics in the United States and Nicaragua, the students learned that half as many young people attend high school in Nicaragua compared with the United States. Some of the reasons for this are not enough schools in rural area, poverty, and lack of opportunity due to the fact that many young people need to work to support their families.
First excursion was to a library that an American woman founded and obtained support for from philanthropists to provide a library as well as a kitchen and recreation areas for the youth of Matagalpa. Our Glimpsters work with students in four groups. One group taught them music- Rachel played her guitar and sang while Emily played the flute. Our sports group played basketball and baseball. Justin brought gloves and baseballs to share with the students. Another group painted the children’s faces and the children reciprocated by painting their faces. They painted butterflies, baseballs, flowers, and devils. Another group supervised students in coloring pages in a color book. At the end of the activities we treated the kids to chocolate ice cream for which the kids were grateful.
After lunch, we walked to the English center where we broke into groups and spoke to mostly high school students who were learning English. We shared our favorite films, foods, cars, and our dreams for the future. It was great to see the students using their English and Spanish to communicate with one another after minimal guidance by the Group leaders. Unfortunately we had to leave all too soon.
Finally, our students had the opportunity to spend some of their own money today. We went to a bakery and a coffeeshop. The students were surprised to find that the coffee was much like they have at Starbucks, but for half the price. One café was much like an upscale café you’d find in San Francisco- it was air conditioned and comfortable.
One of the biggest surprises today was when we came back for dinner and the kids found out we were having hamburgers and fries. Tasted just as good as home if not better. A few of the students were homesick yesterday, but were much better today. Parents- they love you and miss you very much, but they’re beginning to bond and enjoy their experiences here in Nicaragua.
Connor + Tony