Can you believe it? Twenty-four hours of bucket showers, not using electricity, and having gallo pinto (rice and beans) twice. Today was the infamous “Living $1 a Day” challenge day. After a long night with no fans, we woke up in cold sweat at 5 AM. Knowing that commitment is one of the three C’s of being a Glimpser, we were able to pursue this challenging day. Los Barzones, a community with 600 families, was waiting for us with welcoming arms. It is approximately 30 minutes away from León, in the rural areas where there is no electricity. Although many of the families live in conditions that we think are devoid of the comforts we have on a daily basis, they still maintain a positive attitude throughout the day. Don Vicente, the community leader, helped introduce us into our host families, and was a host himself.
David’s Experience: I was fortunate to stay with Don Vicente who invited my group to experience his way of life: work with him on the corn field throughout the morning and to interact with his family and animals. It was a stimulating experience because it made me realize the hardships these families go through just to survive the day. Surprisingly, the families were not dissatisfied with their lives. Don Vicente and his family lived peacefully and hapily in their own farm. Their mentality is significantly different from ours in that they do not always pursue more but instead cherish what they already have. This mindset is what we shared during the nightly meeting and self reflection time. In fact, many families moved to the rural areas to avoid the high cost of living, and also to enjoy the simple life in small villages. Overall, I am most proud of my peers engaging with the families, getting to know their background, and sharing our own stories. Lastly, being El Lider del Dia (Leader of the Day) with Kyla was a success because our presence guided the group well, and we were able to carry out our tasks thoroughly.
Kyla’s Experience: I was introduced to my hostess, Marlin, a pregnant widow with five children. I met Marlin’s daughter , a fourteen year old girl who aspires to go to school to become an interpreter, although her responsibilities doesn’t allow her to. Because of her mother Marlin’s pregnancy, she maintained a maternal role in the house. From cooking, to looking after her two younger sisters, to pumping water for an hour straight, her duties were overwhelming for her age. The daughter, in our opinion, is the epitome of the obstacles locals face in order to pursue their passion. Many Nicaraguans living in Los Barzones are limited to what they can and cannot do. What surprised me the most is the happiness that radiated off locals in the community. Although they lacked basic necessities, they were pleased with what they have. This emphasizes the fact that money and life conditions are not necessary in order to succeed in life. Success is ultimately determined when someone feels a sense of personal happiness. Isa, the second youngest daughter of Marlin, was content with entertaining herself with the pollitos (chicks) and her torn, dirty teddy bear. Frankly, spending five hours carrying wood, pumping water, and cleaning land was challenging, but meaningful. This experience taught me how privileged we are to be able to go to school, wear clean clothes, and eat food on a regular basis. Being El Lider Del Dia with my homie David was truly a remarkable experience.
The lessons we learned from our host families will continue to stay with us throughout the rest of our lives. We are eternally grateful for this amazing experience and would personally like to thank the community of Los Barzones for allowing us to get a better understanding of the socio-economic conditions of a rural community in Nicaragua and the skills we’ve obtained in the five hours we were there.