Hola! Today marks my final day in Esteli, a small city in the northwest of Nicaragua. During my time in Esteli, I have had the pleasure of living with a very caring and amiable host family along with my fellow CPGC intern and Bryn Mawr alum, Laurel. Unlike Laurel and I, the other five CPGC interns on this delegation were put in home-stays with mothers who lost a child during the Sandinista revolution of the late 70´s.
The Spanish speaking environment of my home-stay, in addition to my participation in language school this past week, have been very beneficial in helping me brush up on my high school Spanish. Language school was an unique experience, for I was exposed to a classroom environment reminiscent of a typical Haverford class, small and intimate.
Over the course of five days Laurel, Janique, another Bryn Mawr alum, and I discussed everything from abortion to Nicaraguan politics in Spanish with our teacher, Ruth. To celebrate the culmination of our week in Esteli, Ruth introduced us to a very quaint coffee shop called “Cafe Nana.” At this British owned cafe I had the pleasant opportunity to have a taste of home as I enjoyed a frappuccino and sappy American romance novel.
In addition to this outing, I have had the opportunity to travel to other noteworthy sites around Esteli. These sites for the most part represent the achievements of an active and concerned community. Mamma Linche’s birthing center, for instance, demonstrates one woman’s struggle to provide expectant mothers in Esteli and neighboring communities with instant medical care and attention. Other local women have also taken the initiative to make advances in their community.
At a recycled paper cooperative that we visited earlier this week, we observed a group of women’s attempt towards achieving environmental responsibility. The cooperative started some time ago when a group of women in need of work gathered to clear what used to be a neighborhood dump. Today these very same women work on what resembles a peaceful garden escape. Here they create one of a kind masterpieces made from recycled paper and natural elements. Their on-site store sells beautifully handcrafted stationary and paper among other products.
Unfortunately, due to their limited education and lack of a consumer conscious mindset that most citizens in a capitalist society take for granted (as one American volunteer pointed out), these women face financial hardship. Therefore, when it comes time to market and sell their products to the greater Esteli community, this establishment is out of luck. Despite their creativity and determination to make Esteli an environmentally friendly place, the cooperative is dependent on tourists like myself to purchase their goods and maintain their facility.
As I leave Esteli for Managua, I feel that I am leaving far too early. Just as I was acclimating to life in this simple but dynamic community, I find myself packing my bags to start life in Managua, my new home. Hopefully my experience in Managua will be just as educational and pleasant as my experience was in Esteli. However, to be honest I must say that I’m a bit intimidated to start life in a foreign city like Managua.
Take care and hasta luego!