This is Ricky speaking as El Lider del Dia. As the leader of the day, I had to rise thirty minutes earlier than everyone else, which was somewhat difficult given the exciting and action-packed day we had yesterday. Nonetheless, we were all able to make it to breakfast and enjoy a nice sandwich with bananas and some refreshing lemonade. We’re getting much better at headcounts and crossing the streets (which we’ve had some trouble with in the past days), and I was definitely satisfied at our increased attentiveness and cooperation.
Upon return, we gathered in the breezy balcony for an academic seminar about poverty. We discussed the reality of poverty in the world (2.5 billion people live on less than 2 dollars a day!) and what factors contribute to poverty in Nicaragua. One thing I felt out of all the facts that we learned is that it’s extremely unfortunate that a single natural disaster like Hurricane Mitch that struck in 1998 could destroy an entire lifestyle for people who work in rural areas, 80% of whose source of income is from agriculture.
We then rode a private bus to the city dump, where we were humbled by the sheer harshness of conditions in which the people there worked. Every inch of the path we took throughout the tour were littered with pieces of glass, dung, and dirt. As we observed the mountains of trash and un-recycled goods, gusts of dust blew into our eyes, smoke shrouded our vision, and bugs attacked our bodies. Though the experience was indeed uncomfortable, our leaders reminded us that these are the conditions that dominate the daily lives of more than 120 people who work in the dump, and to respect those people by not complaining or displaying any signs of annoyance. Though I wish we could have gotten to know the families and children we met a little better, the trip to the dump was certainly an eye-opening experience. We all agreed that after visiting and learning about the dump, we were able to have a much better understanding of the seriousness of poverty. After the quick showers that followed our return to the hostel, I could sense during our self-reflection meeting that everyone now had an incomparably higher enthusiasm in brainstorming ways to alleviate poverty.
Soon afterward, we went to the local restaurant Quiero Mas (which means “I want more!” en español) to wolf down some delicious pasta and rice. We then took a city bus to a nearby orphanage, where we were exposed to a different type of hardship: emotional poverty. However, because we understood that the children there were very well taken care of and that all of their needs were met, we vowed to give them empathy and compassion instead of pity. By playing kickball, baseball with mangoes and tree branches, card games, duck-duck-goose, and drawing, we formed powerful personal bonds with the children there that left us more than reluctant to leave. For example, I met a lovely child named Lola who I came to treasure, even if we only hung out for a couple of hours. It was wonderful to watch the Global Glimpsers taking such good care of the orphans and to participate in all sorts of games and activities. The farewell was heartbreaking as so many of us were inseparable by the end of the visit. Unfortunately, we had to leave, and we talked about our beautiful new friendships over the fried plantains and bean soup we had for dinner. Afterward, we had our usual English tutoring session and wrapped up the day with a nightly meeting.
The trip is only half over, but we’ve already seen and felt so much. I still can’t believe how enthusiastic the group is at trying to leave their comfort zones and tackle new experiences. It was more than rewarding to see even the shy kids attempt to reach out to the children and have a great time, and I know that this eagerness will continue until our very last day here. Tomorrow, we’re getting assigned to different stations in the local market to experience the work-life of locals. I’m looking forward to another gratifying day…..but for tonight, I’ll have to say goodbye.
So have a good night, and hasta mañana!