Buckets, candles, gallopinto. That was all we had for today’s Living Like a Local Challenge. With no electricity, no fans, and no showers, we were limited to bucket showers, candle-lit bathroom trips at night and bedtime in hot Leon weather. Despite the heat and darkness, the trip to Tomas Borges, the poor neighborhood of Leon, made the day worthwhile.
After waking up at 7 a.m. in the morning, we got dressed and went to Imabite for our first meal of gallopinto. After breakfast, we took the bus to Tomas Borges. The neighborhood is dusty, with a great amount of insects. Most of the houses are made of scraps of metal, wood and cardboard. The locals get water, which is often contaminated, from wells spread throughout the community. Once we arrived, we were greeted by the great, humid weather of Nicaragua that came along with the blistering sun. The group leaders split us up into groups of two or three and sent us to our host families for the day.
With the families, we learned about how people in poverty live on a daily basis. Some of us made tortillas, some washed dishes, some did laundry and some played with the kids. Mostly all of us went to a nearby well to pump water into large buckets and haul (or try to) them onto a cart. All of us talked to the families about their life and what they do. At around 12:30 p.m., we were starving. Thankfully, Brayan, Staceey, Marlon, Cheyenne and a few others helped deliver a second round of gallopinto to us as well as a fried chicken meal to some of the families.
After lunch, we all gathered at the community center for one of the most exciting parts of the day: the piñata party. All the kids lined up in a rather swiggly line to hit the piñata. All was well until the blindfold came into play. Once the piñata broke and Chloe threw the candy, the children swarmed all the different sugary sweets. Despite a few mis-hits by the blindfolded, hyperactive children, everyone had a great time. Once everything was cleaned up, we said our goodbyes and went back to the hostel.
Once we got back, we jumped into our second CAP project seminar, where we discussed possible ideas for what we could do for Barilletes. As soon as that was over, we walked over to Imabite for our third round of gallopinto. Right after, we took a short walk to Unan-Leon University, where we were having our first English tutoring session.
English tutoring consisted of teaching Nicaraguans of all ages English in groups of two or three. We were all separated by Spanish-speaking abilities and sent to teach the students, who were organized into Beginners, Intermediates and Advanced. Although it was our first time being the teacher of a class, we got through the session without having to scream for help. Everybody had a fun time meeting the students for the first time.
As soon as the lesson was over, we returned to the hostel and had our nightly meeting. After talking about our hectic day and giving shout-outs to everyone that made this day awesome, we had our self-reflection about poverty. The end of the meetings signaled the end of our Living Like a Local Challenge, which meant access to showers and fans and electricity. But, it also meant that we now have a small glimpse of what life is like in most parts of the world. It provided us with a newfound appreciation for the simple things in life.
This eye-opening experience was truly amazing. There were a few mishaps involving dehydration and diarrhea, but everybody is well and on a way to full recovery. We are chugging lots and lots of water and making sure to stay hydrated for Poverty Day tomorrow. Make sure to check back tomorrow for another post! Thanks for all the comments and good night!