susieHi everyone! My name is Susie Leung and I go to Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco. I am Chinese and few of the things I hold close to my heart is my family, the strong pride I have in my culture, and the love of helping others. The pride in my culture is what encouraged me to go on this trip. I thought since I love my own culture as much as I do then I would also like to learn more about different cultures that are different from mine. However, the selling point of this opportunity was the chance for me to help people in need.

As I woke up this morning, my responsibility as the leader of the day was to also wake everyone else up. So as I  woke up to a knock on the door and someone else’s  voice telling my roommates and I to wake up, disappointment fell across my face due to the fact that I was unable to wake my peers up. As the leader of the day, I wanted to be the student that took charge of the morning responsibilities of the global glimpse leaders. Although I disappointed myself I left it in the past and began to lead the group forward because true leaders learn from their mistakes.

Next, we left to Quiero Mas for breakfast, the usual restaurant we eat for most meals. I was expecting the usual serving of rice and beans, however, I was surprised to be served with a side of watermelon and pancakes, the foods that I have greatly missed from home. As I left Quiero Mas that morning I was struck with excitement as I remembered we were heading on a trip to Leon Viejo (the original Leon city) and to a lagoon named Laguna de Asososca, which was desperately needed due to the scorching hot weather and humidity.

When our group arrived for the hike and tour of Leon Viejo, we learned so much and were surprised by the plethora of details about Nicaraguan culture and how the Spanish rule altered the Nicaraguan culture. Slavery, for example, affected the indigenous people the most because of the corrupt dictators that were forced upon the Nicaraguan people. We also learned about Nicaraguan history and the drastic impact of imperialism on Nicaraguan culture; I learned about the strong-willed Nicaraguan attitude to push forward and rise above the oppression forced upon these people. The information I learned made me think back to our question of the day: How did the Spanish conquest and rule of Nicaragua affect the country in the long term? What are some examples of modern day imperialism and the impact it has on the development of those countries? At that moment I felt for the Nicaraguans and I believed their culture might have been less diluted. As we ended the tour we overlooked active volcanoes that surrounded the area. We also oversaw the volcano in which we were heading to, to swim in the lagoon which was once a volcano as well but is now a crater.

As I headed to the lagoon we had three lifeguards from the Red Cross join us and I was excited to meet Nicaraguans our age. However, I was disappointed that I was unable to communicate with them because they did not speak English. Although I was disappointed, this experience has inspired me to learn Spanish and use it in my everyday life.  After that disappointing experience we began to hike through a rocky terrain and watching the fear on my group’s faces as they walked down the mountain to the lagoon made me worry. Although fear was in the presence, everyone moved forward. Even though there were many hilarious falls down the mountain by Arti, Marsal, and many others, I was so proud of my group for making it to the lagoon and the view there made all the tripping and falling worth it. I mean how many people can say they are swimming in a volcano?

Overall, I have learned that there are many cultures in the world and I can not wait to learn more about them. I also learned Nicaraguans are a very persistent group of people and their strength has inspired me to be a stronger person as well. In the future, I hope to take the abundance of positive Nicaraguan traits and apply it in my own life.

-Adios, Susie