Today we woke before the sun, something many people in the world do, both out of desire and necessity. Some say waking up early keeps you happy, some say it promotes health, and some just say rising before the noise of the outside world inspires a peaceful and cheerful mindset. Others say that there are cows to be milked, chickens to be fed, and heat to be beat in the long fields of Nicaraguan fincas, the spanish word for farms. In our case, we woke to spend the long morning hours working like a local Nicaraguan farmer, or trabajador.
We rose at four thirty and were out the door at five. After a bumpy hour of attempted sleep on the bus, we arrived at La Canavalia, a large all organic farm that produces everything from coffee, cacao, milk, eggs, meat, and more. We were graciously greeted with a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, gallo pinto (rice and beans), tortillas, sweet juice and hot coffee. After our energizing breakfast, we were presented with a short seminar about the farm itself and the importance of organic practices when striving to sustain the soil and atmosphere of our one and only Earth.
Once we understood what the farm was all about, we headed out to various different places around the farm where we worked cleaning out the living areas of the cows, maintaining fields, and cleaning and prepping plots of land. We found that when working as a team, diligence, cohesiveness, and rhythm are essential to completing a task. We also found that is important not to over-work or under-work yourself. Being honest with your body’s needs while also knowing what you are capable of is perfect for pushing yourself in a healthy way. Awarding yourself for achieving new levels of commitment to your experience by taking breaks and drinking water is a good way to stay encouraged. We discovered that we don’t have to worry about getting dirty, in fact we can celebrate the fact that the same water that sustains the growth and life of the plants we work with will also ensure our cleanliness at the end of the day, so there is nothing to be afraid of! When working with the plants and animals, we were reminded of the rewarding feeling that cultivating life other than our own gives us.
We were led to these discoveries by people who had been working on the farm for a number of years, particular group leader being a twenty seven year old women by the name of Sara. After working for three hours, Sara led us to sit near a tree with the intention of learning more about us. We told her a little bit about why we came to Nicaragua and how we made the journey possible. Afterwards, in a very composed and calm manner, she openly told us her own life story mixed in with an immense amount of wisdom and some advice.
She told us that, although she was born one of eight children into a poor family, she graduated from college with a degree in economics. She said she made this possible by working when she had to and studying the rest of the time. This made me consider how privileged I am to be able to dedicate most of my time to studying and my free time to pursuing my interests and hanging out with my friends. How, in this way, a social life in high school and college is more of a luxury than a right. She continued to advise us to be respectful to our family and value our parents for who they are and not what they give to us, to always be grateful for what we have and to take advantage of our opportunities regardless of what those around us have. She was adamant that unhealthy vices are dangerous and that we must always stay focused and true to our path, which we can find by setting goals for ourselves that we intend on meeting. She told us to surround ourselves with people who have similar goals and ambitions to ensure that we are always being supported in our journey. These words made a large impact on our group as she showed genuine care and interest for our future and well being, almost as if she was acknowledging the interconnectedness of all of our fates as human beings. Another thing she told us was (no offense to the boys out there) that out of all the previous delegations of Global Glimpse students, the girls have continuously worked harder and more efficiently than the boys. Because of the fact that Olaniyan and I were two strong female leader del dias, this felt empowering and awesome to hear.
Throughout all of the heat, bugs, sloths, slugs, sunshine, and dirt that today brought, I am proud of each and every glimpser for showing such brave commitment to this experience.