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July 26, 2011

So, I’ve cheated a bit and I’ve already left Nicaragua.
It isn’t really a big deal, I was ready to get out of the country for a bit
and since I’m going back in August, I didn’t really say goodbye to many people.
More like see you soon. The internship was definitely not an easy one in terms
of finding stable moral ground in my head, the manuals are still works in progress
due to the pace things take in Nicaragua, but I plan on finishing them up when I get back.
I don’t know how to do a good job summing up my experience right now since I just left, so I’ll just talk
about what I’ve been thinking since leaving. So, for people who don’t realize it. Nicaragua is a poor country.
I mean. Really poor. I didn’t realize it. I was there, and it was normal. My travel to Central America prior to about two days ago was limited to Nicaragua. In my mind Central America is obviously not on the economic level as the US, Europe or Mexico. Cuba has poverty, but isn’t exactly the standard country to compare with is it. In my head Guate, Honduras and El Salvador were like Nicaragua, just with more guns and drugs and Latino thugs gang banging. I was quite wrong. Yes, I did know Nica was the poorest country in the region, but it doesn’t hit you until you leave after living there for a bit to see the region that is supposed to be so similar. It’s all I can think about. So rather than reiterate the “Wow, Nicaragua is poor” revelation over and over again like what has been going through my head, here are other thoughts of the same vain.

“Wow, the guys don’t pee everywhere here”

“Wow, that barbed wire is new looking”

“Was that a Porsche?”

“I haven’t seen one cardboard hut yet”

“Where do people throw their trash if it’s not on the ground?”

“Does that chicken bus have chrome?”

“Does that soldier have an M16?”

I do understand that there is poverty in all parts of all countries, but when you start wondering where the poor people are because you miss them, then it might be a little bit of a problem. I was relieved to see poor housing when we first arrive in Guate because I didn’t recognize where I was. Poverty isn’t just present in Nica, it’s normal to the point of being comforting, almost to the point of being part of what is Nicaraguan.

Basically people talk about culture shock between your home and where you are headed,
but I am kind of going through culture shock for my 2nd home with a new place.
I have no idea what to tell friends and family when I get back in Leon. There isn’t much I can say.
My friends, my family there, they live this, have lived this, and will live this for the rest of their lives.
So, hate to end on a sad unfulfilling note, but I don’t know what else to say.

Thanks to Jim Heston, CPS, and PGL for giving me this great opportunity,

Ben

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