Hey friends, family, and anyone else who wants a taste of the amazing experiences we are having here in Leon. My name is Sebastian and today I woke up earlier than I think I ever have. At the ungodly hour of 5:30 in the morning, I got out of the chair in the common area that I fell asleep in. It was my responsibility to make sure that everyone was up and ready by 6:45am. For breakfast we had gallo pinto (beans and rice, a staple of the local cuisine), a bowl of papaya, and a slice of bread. We proceeded to walk to the market to learn what it’s like to be a street vendor in Nicaragua. Patience is not my strong suit, so waiting to cross the street because the cars simply would not stop coming was a struggle for me. We then arrived at the market-a densely packed, maze-like place inside a warehouse located across the street from a beautiful park and church.
As we traveled from stall to stall to drop people off with their assigned bosses, I noticed the awkward tension between the Glimpsers and their bosses. Nobody really knew what to expect, especially those unfamiliar with Spanish. However, every single one of us was extremely willing to move out of our comfort zones and connect with people in the market. I bonded with my bosses Alejandro and Maria, and I had the good company of another Glimpser, Maggie. While for me tying the rice bags closed was an insurmountable task, Maggie was told she was a particularly fast learner; eventually I caught on as well. At our stall we got to be a part of the market community and joked around with their friends and fellow vendors. We thought of and periodically shouted funny Spanish slogans like “el arroz del Dios se vende acá” (“God’s rice is sold here”). At one point, I was “borrowed” by a clothing vendor who wasn’t assigned a Glimpser to work with, so I got to see Camille and Vee in action selling shirts and pants. Beagan tried to sell me women’s underwear, but unfortunately I didn’t have my wallet with me. After what could be vaguely described as my “orientation” at my new job, I began yelling “Que busca?” (“What are you looking for?”) at everyone who walked by, including a police officer who wasn’t very interested in the sparkly purple dress I tried to sell him. It was at that time I realized I was not a good clothing salesman and returned to my true calling as a purveyor of rice, beans, and sugar.
Walking back through the market, I got to see all of my friends that I dropped off earlier. The awkwardness was gone and they had embraced their jobs with enthusiasm. Ricky was shouting about the cebollas and tomates (onions and tomatoes) that he was selling, despite not knowing a word of Spanish when we stepped off the plane. Jesse was handling raw poultry with gusto, although he was pretty freaked out about the possibility of salmonella poisoning (though there were no real health risks at hand,) and Ivy was cleaning tomatoes and playing with a little girl who couldn’t understand a word she said. Niko seemed to be enjoying himself too, although he claimed that the fumes from the cheese at his stand were giving him hallucinations. Amy and Marianne were our top competitors for the rice market, but we had spirit that lasted the whole shift. After a solid four hours of work, we ate lunch with our new friends and coworkers and said our goodbyes.
After returning to the hostel, we all sat down for an hour to write letters detailing the significance of this trip to Global Glimpse’s donors. We poured our hearts into them, but if you’ve been reading the blogs, you’ve probably heard it all. Then we got into our tutoring groups to prepare for class. For dinner, we walked down the street to Mediterraneo, a Mediterranean restaurant, for a very special meal: pizza, sweet, heavenly pizza. I also dipped into my own pocket to get the best Tres Leche cake that I’ve ever had, but Brayan, one of the coordinators, ate half of it. After dinner, prizes were handed out to the best sellers, ranging from most creative to the loudest.
We were pretty tired by the time we had to go to tutoring, but we gave it our all even though we were feeling a bit out of sorts. We had a somewhat relaxed lesson and I got to know some of my students a lot better. We shared stories and told jokes, exchanged contact information, and learned about each other’s dreams for the future.
Despite the added stress of trying to keep the group alive and well as el Lìder del Dìa, this day was probably one of my favorite days. The bustling marketplace was intimidating at first, but I think we all grew to love it. Writing the letters was a nice moment of introspection and a good way to examine what this trip really means to us. The pizza was a welcome taste of home and Maggie and I won slingshots for our creative advertisements. Don´t worry, we haven’t hurt anybody with them – yet. Tomorrow will be a less eventful day, but we’re still excited. We’ll be sleeping in and then learning about global business.
Stay tuned for more!