Today was the first day that we began brainstorming for our Community Action Project. We rose bright and early to travel to the Fundacion con Corazon where we met the inspiring Marcela and her husband, who have dedicated their lives toward empowering children of all ages in their education. They have placed so much time and effort in providing students with all the necessities to continue their schooling that we were inspired to achieve just as much in our CAP project, if not a little more.
After listening to their presentation and prodding about the organization a little more, we travelled to La Laguna, a rural area of Nicaragua just on the outskirts of Granada no less than half an hour away. With uneven roads of dirt and pebbles, shoddy homes constructed of tin and wood, children running around barefoot, and emancipated livestock lingering about, we couldn’t fully comprehend the lack of infrastructure around us in spite of mental preparations. Surrounded by an abundance of greenery, we travelled to a small primary school for the local children, startled by the lack of supplies and equipment. We met with the head of the school and a second grade teacher, who answered our questions about the conditions of the school, children, and their daily lives.
The children who attend the school walk at least three to five kilometers every morning, fueled by the incentive of a free breakfast provided by the government. During the raining season, attendance is sparse as children find themselves unable to walk through the torrential rain and parents become reluctant to lose another helping hand at home. The school itself is sixty years old, lacking windows, proper ventilation, a great number of materials, and working electricity as bills are left unpaid due to the lack of funds. One of our Glimpers observed that was that it was far stuffier on the inside than it was outside in ninety-degreed weather.
We were able to meet with most of the students. They were all so bright-eyed and cheery in spite of their poor conditions that we were rendered speechless for a moment. Interacting with them was a great joy, although many Glimpsers lacked a Spanish tongue, and it strengthened our resolve to make a strong, profound, and sustainable impact in their daily lives.
Through the Community Action Project, we hope to achieve all three of these goals. We have yet to decide on the project itself, but overhearing many people’s ideas give us hope that it will be something amazing.
After saying adios to the children and the school, we travelled to Café de Sonrisas, ran by Tio Antonio, an incredible man who embodies all three Cs of Global Glimpse (Courage, Commitment, and Compassion), to enjoy a delicious lunch and learn more about the cafe’s purpose. There was an exercise where we were asked to put in earplugs as dessert and coffee were being served. The eerie silence left many Glimpsers unsettled by this newfound experience. We later learned that this was to simulate the daily lives of the deaf, one of the many handicapped people whom Tio Antonio employs within his business.
While we were greatly anticipating his speech, Tio Antonio couldn’t come as he was greatly hurt and needed to be taken to the hospital. In spite of his injury, he was willing to place all of it aside and come speak to us. However, we insisted that he be attended to and quietly left with good wishes in our hearts.
Coming back to the hostel, we took a quick nap to rejuvenate ourselves before preparing for our first English tutoring session of the week. There were six groups: two beginners’ classes, two intermediate classes, one advanced class, and a beginners’ class for teachers of the school. It felt very stressful up until the class itself as we constructed a comprehensive lesson for our students. We all walked into our classrooms with frayed nerves and bitten nails, but as the hours progressed it became clear that all of our worries were for nothing. The children we worked with were all very willing to learn, raising their hands whenever they had questions and answering ours with enthusiasm and zeal.
Through this experience, we learned what a challenging yet rewarding job teaching was. Saying adios was bittersweet as we had to cut class early for the local students’ exams but each of us look forward to tomorrow when we can continue our lessons. In a sense, being a teacher mirrors being El Lider del Dia as we had to constantly take initiative in directing our students and fellow Glimpers while inspiring them to take their own steps as well.
Today was tightly-packed with different activities and multiple changes in schedules. Though exhausting, Aid and Development day was one full of eye-opening experiences and realizations that have kept us on our toes. We are all looking forward to the day that we can give back to the community and to the city of Granada, Nicaragua.