I got a tattoo of a dream catcher before I graduated from high school. Aside from trying to be cool, it was an attempt to bind myself to the idealistic dreams I had about my potential contributions to the world- and a reminder for myself of the dreams and ideals I had as a naive 17 year-old who had never been outside the comforts of the world’s richest countries. Somehow, I knew it would be hard to remain as hopeful and energetic after actually attempting to change the world. Maybe the inkling came from seeing the spirit of the adults of the 21st century after many of them were done with the spirit of the sixties.
I was right. I’ve worked at non-profit organizations in post-conflict areas of extremely poor countries in the past, and learned some things that – in particularly frustrating moments – I think I would have rather not learned: that one can have all the good ill in the world, but it takes a lot more than good intentions to overcome the tendencies of the “New World Order” that has left most of the people in the world behind. And, after facing some of the obstacles in the way of poverty alleviation: politics, corporate media, instability, cynicism, hopelessness, and poverty itself- a year after I got my symbolic dream catcher tattoo, I was glad I’d gotten it… I already felt like a part of my idealistic spirit had died.
Then, last Sunday, I arrived in Esteli. (more…)