Friday, March 25, 2016

Saints in Nicaragua: Making the most of our homestays

As our bus drives through the narrow dust covered roads of the small town right outside of Granada, we set out to do our last day of work. We pass young children playing, old people watching us go by and families eating their breakfast. I begin to look out the window to catch a gust of wind to cool our stuffy bus and one house in particular catches my eye. The house is simply made of scraps of metal held together with barbed wire and old planks of wood. Outside this house there is an older man sitting in a half broken plastic chair and gripped in between his tired hands, worn out by the many struggles he has endured in his life, is a baby girl. Her giggle echoes through the air and into the bus. He pulls her close and muffles her laugh as he pulls her into his chest. The way he lifts her into the air and looks at her, smiles on both of their faces, fills me with joy. These people who have close to nothing have the things that they truly need. They have love, they have happiness and they have each other. Seeing this today reminded me why we are here and all that our group had to offer them. We are all sad that today was our last day working with our new friends and staying with our new families but I am truly proud of our hard work and our new experience. Today was a great way to end the trip and I will greatly miss the work we have done with the adobe!  Adios nuevas familias!

Isabelle Brocato

Saying goodbye to my parents was by far one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life. This trip caused me to realize how much I appreciate having my parents around but also to appreciate how much they have taught me. In a country where people don't speak any of the languages I do, I was able to make lifelong friends and go through daily life with moderate ease. After a difficult and frustrating first day I began to make a huge effort to learn as much Spanish as I could. As I reflect on this trip, I realize I was jealous of my roommates' abilities to communicate so successfully with my host family. I had to rely on Google Translate to hold a regular conversation and I hated having to rely on anyone or anything but myself. My parents instilled in me determination and drive to achieve anything I set my mind to accomplish. Because of this I slowly but surely began to integrate Spanish into my daily speech pattern. At first it was only hello and goodbye to my family and the workers at the site. Now I can proudly say that I can carry an (admittedly basic) conversation with anyone in my host family or the workers. The workers and my host family helped me by speaking basic Spanish to me all the time. I have loved the integration into Nicaraguan culture (muy bonita) and being able to expand my worldly knowledge at such a young age. I'm definitely going to miss my host family and playing football (soccer) in the streets with the neighborhood kids. The good thing is we can keep in contact with all of the wonderful people we have met through Whatsapp. Adios a mis nuevos amigos!

Hariel King

1 comment:

Matt Cook said...

Thanks for these great reflections. An international trip is best when the traveler is able to open him/herself up to the experience. Both of you seem to have made the most of your time in Nicaragua and with your host families. Congratulations!