¡Hola amigos y familias en estados unidos! I’m having such enriching experiences in Nicaragua, AND my Spanish is getting better. Win! Today was August 2nd, Poverty Day, and I was El Lider del Dia. I choose to be Leader on Poverty Day because I wanted to have a big part in learning and spreading knowledge about people who are below the poverty line. Much of my family grew up in Haiti and had many first hand encounters with poverty, but even so, I always felt like I wouldn’t fully appreciate what I had in America until poverty lay before me. I had hoped that leading this day would change my perspective on the world and what it means to be poor.
As Leader of the Day, I had to wake up a bit earlier than the rest of the group to wake them at 6:30 am, and to make sure that all other twenty-one people were ready and downstairs by 7:30 to eat breakfast. It was definitely tiring to check up on everybody and to be on time, but I persevered and made schedule. After we ate traditional Nicaraguan food, Guyo Pinto, with extra eggs on the side, I lead everyone back to the Hostal for the Academic Seminar. The seminar focused on the five P’s of Poverty: Politics, Place, People, Peace, and Past. We discovered facts about Nicaragua that contributed to the poverty it has today, and personally, I was thankful for the seminar because it gave me the right mindset to visit Estelí’s Dump. No one could take pictures in or of the Dump because we wanted to be respectful to people who worked and lived there. When arriving at the Dump, I was taken back by the swarms of flies everywhere, huge black vultures, and skinny scavenging dogs. I wondered how one could be happy living in a setting like that, until listening to Speaker Dona Franzisca’s story and lifestyle. Franzisca lived in one of the three Dump communities her whole life. She used to have a 9-5 job at a factory, but decided to quit in order to take more control of her own life. Now, her work and form of income was to find, recycle, and sell things at the Dump. I was surprised to hear that Franzisca had a cellphone to call for emergencies and used pills to treat her sicknesses because it didn’t occur to me that a poor person would have those resources. Even though Franzisca didn’t have many material items, she shared the same values as we did: she worked to make the lives of her children easier and showed pride for them. Francisca was content with her life at the Dump and planned to live the rest of her life there.
After walking and staring around in amazement, and thinking about what Dona Franzisca had told us, all of the people who went to the Dump felt an immense appreciation for what we were given in America. I was proud to see some of us realizing that spending $300 on a pair of sneakers, or buying the same things we already had was stupid because Franzisca was happy with almost nothing but her family and friends. I, too, had come to the realization that I don’t appreciate the basic necessities I had been given, like clean water, electricity, easy access to medical attention, and a warm home everyday. Being Leader on Poverty Day not only made me see the world in the eyes of my parents, but made me care more about others, especially my Global Glimpse group. I had gotten used to checking up on them when being Leader, and I discovered that life is more fulfilling when you take the extra step to find out about others. Friends and family, see you in America and looking forward to more experiences in Estelí!