The last few days have been a whirlwin- everything from flying into the Managua airport awaiting a city… that wasn’t there. The greenness and lack of actual buildings a visual testament to the destruction that was wrought on the country’s capital decades ago, and was never repaired. Thursday was mostly waiting for the rest of Haverford’s delegation to get here, and then the adventures, the heartwrenching, hairpulling, thousand smile moments began to pile. Up and up and up. Un montón de cosas. Friday was a tour of Managua, a city that I’ve been told is violent, that tourists, especially little white girls, should stay away from. On Friday morning we recieved a talk from our lovely tour guide Lillian Hall, before taking to the capital’s streets. She gave an informal lecture on the history of Nicaraguan politics, which are such an integral and fascinating element of modern society. To understand the pieces that put this country to where it is–a history that is viscerally a part of the national consciousness–is mind-blowing and I am experiencing history and politics in the most visceral and engaging way than I ever have.
All of yesterday we spent in San Marcos, at Los Quinchos, a kind of refuge and rehabilitation center for children who have experienced drug addiction, domestic violence, and have been victims of sexual assault. What overwhelmed me other than the vibrancy of the children, was the efforts and the enormous hearts of the people have organized the program, and also the clear want for affection that the children express with even the slightest sign of acknowledgment of their existence.
In the midst of all of these trauma realities, spending so much time listening with Lillian is like experiencing a constant expelling of little sparks, little dharmas of truth and experience and in the smallest way they have been the most eye opening, the most impacting.
We were driving out of Managua and we stopped at a random stoplight. Two guys start washing our window, and Molly goes, uh oh, do we have to pay these guys. Lillian rolls down her window and calls them by their first names, asking them how they are and how they’re families are. She says once we start get going again that she’s known those guys for 13 yrs, and that they owe her big time, that she has given the guy loans and that they are old friends. This is just one example of what an essential role Lillian is in this community. I am repeatedly astounded by how much this world needs the work that she does.
That’s all for now. The night is hot and we are forming a Havercircle in the dining room.
Hasta la próxima!