Hey all!

My name is Ryan Santa Elena, and I was “El Lider del Dìa,” for today, which was Day 10 of our trip, Poverty Day. We started off our day around 6:30 AM, where we woke up and later ate breakfast at 7:00, which was a plate of delicious fruits. After we ate, we spent about 45 minutes for an academic seminar, where we learned about the 5 P’s of Poverty (People, Place, Past, Politics, Peace) and how they took place in Nicaraguan history. Immediately after, we took a field trip to Las Hormiguitas, an organization that deals with providing education for the Nicaraguan youth that may not be able to afford it or attain it for whatever reason.

Once we finished listening to a speaker at Las Hormiguitas, we took a trip to the Matagalpa dump, which was definitely an eye opening experience. There are multiple families that actually live at the dump, living on less than US$1 per day. The people living there receive 1 Córdoba for every 5 pounds of plastic they collect. 1 US dollar is equivalent to about 28.3 Córdoba, so it isn’t hard to realize that 1 Córdoba per 5 pounds is definitely not easy work. On average, families would make about US$5-US$10 per day, which would be used to provide for every member within the family unit. After visiting the dump, we returned to the hostel, where we all took mandatory showers and then ate a delicious steak lunch. Following lunch, we had a group self reflection where we discussed how we felt while visiting the dump, and how we plan to deal with those reactions/feelings upon our return to the United States. Many of us felt that we could agree we all felt a bit guilty, and that upon our return we should be a bit more grateful and live a more modest life, especially because of how blessed we truly are.

We had a couple hours of free time to work on our plan for English Tutoring and our plans for the CAP project, which we used to both work and spend some good time bonding together. Around 4:00, we went to go to a cyber café to call our families just to check in and let them know everything is okay (shout out to my mom who I love and miss very much.) We returned again to the hostel, ate dinner, which was some delicious meat soup, then went to tutor for about an hour and a half.

Following the tutoring, we came home to the nightly meeting, where we discussed what took place throughout our day as well as the question, “What is poverty?” We all heard some great answers, and for me, I tried to distinguish the difference, in my eyes, between poor and poverty. Poverty, I believe, is a word used primarily to dictate the monetary level or value of someone or something. Poor, however, is in the eye of the beholder. One can feel poor based on their own comparisons to others. For example, I can be living in poverty, but not necessarily be poor, because my life is rich with good morals and joy that comes from recreation and friendships. Anyway, after discussing, I passed the troth to tomorrow’s leader, David, and we concluded the nightly meeting. I am now finishing up the blog a couple minutes after the lights out, and would just like to say thank you to everyone reading and goodnight to all.

PS – There were no pictures for today’s blog in order to remain sensitive of those living at the dump and in order to not offend anyone.