Last night as El Lider del Dia, it was my responsibility to introduce our next themed day: Education. When the delegation was first introduced to this topic, many thoughts popped into the heads of the students. We commonly associate school with burdens such as standardized testing (which do not exist in Nicaragua, even at the universities!), dragged out school days followed by homework assignments, and the pressure to succeed. These common ideas in the United States caused some anxious attitudes.
The day began with me waking the delegation up at 7:00 am. We went to the daily Comedor, Deja Vu for breakfast which was thankfully not only beans and rice like we had yesterday as a part of the dollar a day program. After breakfast, we came back home to the hostel and were given a seminar on education. One activity included giving all of us statistics that either apply to the United States education system or the Nicaraguan education system. One of the statistics that stood out the most to me was one which stated that 7,000 high school students drop out of school every single day in the U.S. This was completely unbelievable to all of us. We could not seem to wrap our heads around that number. We all kept repeating “7,000? You mean 7 with three zeros?!” This statistic was hard to believe because even prior to visiting a school in Nicaragua while it was in session, we knew how difficult it is for Nicaraguan youth to receive a fair education and how valued it was to those who want to succeed. T0 think that minors in the United States are completely content with throwing away their access to free and fair education is now more mind baffling than ever.
To start the tours for the day, we went to a special needs primary school. This school was a public school so it was technically free, but students were dressed in uniform (as all children in Nicaragua are). The children who attend this school have special needs such as mental disabilities, deaf/mute, and down syndrome. The courses at this school were specified to skills that these special needs students truly flourish in. Classes such as carpentry, art, cooking, and farming are available for students to choose so they can learn how to make a living once they are older. The students were overly sweet and compassionate to all of us. Then we began our very first CAP (Community Action Project) meeting where we began to discuss the community which we will be visiting tomorrow to discover what is needed to help the community as a whole. Popular topics were domestic violence and women’s empowerment as many men in the households go away to work which leaves the women to raise and support the family for the most part. Families in Nicaragua often result to domestic violence because of many stresses which are put on them which leads to alcohol use and in turn, domestic violence. We are all very excited and interested to see the community that we will be helping and learn more about their stories.
Through today we learned many lessons to bring back with us. At our nightly meeting I reminded everyone to remember the eager-to-learn students we saw in the schools today when they are either feeling overwhelmed or stressed during our senior year. We truly saw today how lucky we all are to have access to the level of education we do in the United States. I am excited to see all that our Global Glimpsers will achieve during their senior year and for their years to come after high school, all thanks to the amazing education system we all have access to.