Today the group got a true glimpse into the political side of Nicaragua. We started off with a wonderful visit to the headquarters of a Jinotega based organization, Club Infantil. Club  Infantil specializes in reaching out to local youth in order to try and inspire them to try and change their community. A few of the Club Infantil staff and many of its younger members agreed to sit down with us and participate in a large group discussion about their many achievements around the town of Jinotega, including a park within their town square, and various other reconstruction projects throughout their town. These children ranged anywhere from nine to sixteen and it was truly inspiring to see so many citizens of a small community who were our age of more often younger trying so hard to make a difference.

Immediatley after Club Infantil, the glimpsers headed to the Ex Vice Presidents, Jose Rizo, home for a private Q and A. Rizos’ home was incredibly beautiful, surrounded by different artifacts and remnants of his political campaign and his travels abroad. We sat in his beautiful courtyard, drank delicious agua fresca and participated in a very insightful discussion about the political state of Nicaragua. Rizos’ main focus, during our conversation and his presidential campaigns, was education, and often it was brought up how poorly the current government is treating its teachers and their students. Rizo expressed to us his belief that higher education should be available be to all Nicaraguan citizens, and how the education level you receive should not be determined by your social class, an idea I believe we can all agree with.

Upon our return home the group was greeted by two young Nicaraguan liberals, Javier and Kenneth. Like with the Ex Vice President, the group had a discussion on the current political state of the country with these two young men. They shared with us their opinion on the current ruling government that they live under and expressed their beliefs that it had many flaws, including corruption, over bearing propaganda, food ration withdrawls, and even military like police action.

So throughout the day we heard from the official political side of things, from the vice president, the politically active citizens point of view, from Javier and Kenneth, and the locally active citizens perspective, from Club Infantil. Individually all of these discussions are once in a life time opportunities but combined their worth was multiplied ten fold. To hear multiple sides of the same stories can so nothing but add to the storied value all together, and the value of today was simply priceless.

Overall throughout the day i could not be more proud of my peers, and what i now consider to be my family. We kept the conversation between ourselves and each guest speaker flowing flawlessly, were constantly engaged in whatever topic was being presented (which wasn’t very difficult) and i believe, and hope, that we truly made out guest speakers feel as though they were welcome into out homes and minds and that we truly cared about their country and what they had to say about it. All of which, of course, is true.