Today was Living Like A Local Day!
After waking up at 5 A.M., we rode a bus to a designated drop-off point in a small town located 20 minutes away from Jinotega. From there, we boarded an open-top truck and spent half of an hour standing in the truck bed as we drove over a bumpy, winding road through the Nicaraguan jungle. Our destination, La Bastilla School, is a technical institution situated on a mountain founded to teach entrepreneurial and business skills to teenage and young adult Nicaraguans. Students work in and maintain a farm stationed roughly 1.5 miles away and assist in the running of a hotel at the summit. Upon our arrival at La Bastilla, we worked like locals by performing various farm-related chores. Highlights of our time at the institution included milking cows, hand-feeding a calf, and holding four-month-old-piglets. After hiking up a steep incline to the hotel at the summit, we were rewarded with a wonderful buffet lunch.
It was humbling to comprehend the fact that the people with whom we worked alongside this morning perform the tasks novel to us each and every day without complaint. Activities that were fun for us today are enduring, grueling means of earning a living for locals both from and not from La Bastilla. We only spent a morning working at the farm and were exhausted by 1 P.M.; in comparison, La Bastilla scholars labor for several hours per day for years. Many of the students who taught us about the inner workings of the farm were our age (16 or 17) or a few years older and already more than accustomed to manual labor.
Unlike said students, we Glimpsers struggled with traversing the hilly gravel roads from the school itself to the farm and to the hotel. Being used to even sidewalks and flat roads, many struggled significantly with walking the steep paths that cut up and down the side of the mountain. Our final trek (from the school up to the hotel) made our lunch taste more incredible than it already was — all of the food in the buffet set out for us was fresh and home-cooked.
The truck ride to the drop-off point allowed us time for reflection on our day’s experience (when we weren’t holding onto the vehicle’s railings around sharp turns and up steep sections of the road). We had the opportunity to get a glimpse at the lives of those less privileged than us, of those our age who have worked hard and will work hard for a significant portion of their lives, then return to our bus, purified water, and paved roads. From this experience, we learned what living like a local entails: hard work, both mental and physical.
Our day ended with a celebratory dinner for Thu, who turned 17 today. Happy birthday Thu!
Being a farmer is exhausting — we’re ready to go to sleep!
Jacky Moore and Tristan Tran