When I signed up to be El Líder Del Día for poverty day I knew the was going to be hard, but I didn’t realize just how hard and emotionally draining it would be. We didn’t get to sleep in much today, since we woke up at six. After our breakfast, we had an academic seminar on poverty and the contributing factors. Around 8:10 we left for Las Hormiguitas (little ants), an organization that works with children who work on the street. There we listened to Profe. Sandra talk more about the organization and introduced her team. There we were also shown the mobile schools that Las Hormiguitas brings to several locations near Matagalpa to help bring education to the impoverished children there. After her speech, we headed out to the dump. Our bus ride to the dump was in complete silence to help us prepare for what we were going to see there. Right before we got to the dump, Alex, our program coordinator, gave a speech about his first time at the dump and how it affected him.

When we got off the bus at the dump, the first thing that hit me was the smell. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it was still horrible. The second thing I noticed was the people who were digging through the garbage in the distance. As we approached where the mobile school was set up, we encountered children who worked there at the dump along side their parents. All of us had to take a couple of minutes to take in that these people, these children, have to work in these conditions. A couple of us cried or came close to it. After we all calmed down enough, we began to socialize. Some of us played soccer with some of the kid while others had conversations with those kids who were learning. There was this one girl who was learning English at the school she attended (she worked at the dump along side her parents when she wasn’t in school). A group of us were talking to her in English and helping her learn new words. She was so happy and was laughing, even though her family made a living digging through people’s trash. Every kid who came up to us was smiling and happy. It is so amazing that these kids can still be so happy while having to deal with the conditions of where they work. This experience has moved all of us to be more grateful for what we have and realize that change needs to happen. Today we all came face to face with the poverty we have only learned about through the television or other sources like National Geographic, and it was one of the most powerful experiences we have had so far on this trip. It could be the most powerful one some people will have here.

After the dump we returned to the hotel and took showers. We then proceeded to our self reflection seminar where people who wanted too could discuss what they saw and how they felt about it. This was followed by a delicious lunch and some free time. Since we have more English tutoring tomorrow we worked on our lesson plans and once those were finished we had 2 more hours of free time. Around 5 pm we began to plan our CAP project and came up with 3 ideas. These ideas will be presented to the Hope Project on Thursday. Tomorrow we will have an exciting day learning about education here in Nicaragua. ¡Hasta Mañana!