I have been bad at blogging. I realize this, but I sort of have an excuse. Not really, but here it is. Recently, I spent 10 days in Nicaragua without internet. I was in Managua for two days, then I went to el campo, the countryside, to live with a Nicaraguan family for 6 days and my trip ended with two days in Granada. The point of the trip was to form relationships with Nicaraguans. So after a couple days of field trips and lectures in Managua, we hopped on buses and ended up in rural communities. We all stayed with host communities affiliated with the Mennonite Church. I lived in the community of Boqueron with a pastor, his wife, two daughters, three sons and one grandson. My time in Nicaragua was challenging, fun, rewarding and eye-opening. It was so many things and I cannot possibly convey all my thoughts about this incredibly unique experience. But, I will give it a try.
My days were filled with lots of children, LOTS of food, the river, church, soccer, lots of Spanish. Everyday I usually woke up to see at least one neighborhood kid in my living room, playing with the beach ball I brought or just waiting for me to wake up. I spent the majority of each day playing with these kids, swimming in the river, lettting them guide me around their community.
One of my favorite days in the community was they day I spent 5 hours playing in the river with the kids in my community. We had a mud fight, played in the sand, kicked the soccer ball around and talked together. There were so many beautiful little kids in my community who I enjoyed getting to know. Another amazing experience I had was going with my host mom to the market in Managua to sell her produce. We woke up at four a.m. to get ready and catch the bus. After arriving in Managua, I did a lot of sitting while my mama passed out her produce to different venders. Then we got breakfast and I got to spend time talking with my mama and getting to know her a lot better. I was amazed at the little information she knew about Nicaragua's history. It is really astonishing how little everyone in my community knew about their country, politics, geography and the United States. Pretty much everyone there makes a living through farming, so they don't have a pressing need to be educated. My family seemed happy and they ate well, but I have a feeling that was mostly because I was there. I gave them money to eat, so maybe they have days when they only eat one meal. Maybe my 21 year old sister is discontent with her life. Maybe my favorite little five year old, Cristhal, has dreams of being a doctor or an astronaut or an artist. It devastates me that I can do pretty much anything I want with my life and it will be almost impossible for Christhal to ever leave her community. If she were to leave her community, she would have to leave behind her culture, her family and her community, where as if I wanted to live in Australia I could see my family multiple times a year because I have the money to buy plane tickets. So after ten days in Nicaragua and six of those living with wonderful, genuine Nicaragüenses, I am full of questions about life and poverty and my purpose in life. I think I will be asking some of these questions all my life. I learned so much from these people and will never forget them. One of the hardest parts about saying goodbye were the many questions about when I was going to return. I don't think my family there knows how hard it would be for me to come back. However, through LASP I will be able to send them packages and letters.