Out of the city...small town life...

Trip Start Jul 05, 2010
Trip End Jul 27, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel Blanco, El Sauce

Flag of Nicaragua  , León,
Thursday, July 8, 2010

You might ask…Who comes to Nicaragua?

Well there's Lillian … it’s her  26th year here….she’s the woman from the Quaker House….she came during the revolution and never left….been active is social justice issues since..  It appears that a lot of people came to witness the revolution.  Most left but not Lillian.  Important to know a little about the revolution to understand Nicaragua today…  you can look the details of that history up for yourself.  But in VERY short, during the Samosa regime, leadership was wildly oppressive and corruption ruled; they were supported by the USA no less (we didn’t care who was in there as long as it wasn’t Communism)… after years of struggle, the Sandinistas rose up in the form of the FSLN (they represented Sandino’s ideals), and they threw out the Samosa regime….Sandino is the national hero, representing liberation, the FSLN shows its presence …every street pole and big rock is painted red and black / the letters FSLN are inscribed everywhere, and Daniel Ortega runs the country.  People – those I’ve spoken to - certainly have a strong fondness for Ortega….they believe that he works hard for the common folk….that he has Nicaraguan interests first and has all sorts of programs focused on bettering the lives of the people.  So that’s it in a nutshell for now. 

Seems that most visitors here are involved in human service…large groups on missions in the name of religion.  Then there are the medical missions...some religioun-based and many not…oftentimes, Nicaraguan communities provide a training ground for medical students while their supervised services are offered at no charge.    I’m wishing I was in some medical field so I could participate in one of the teams that comes here to work.  And then there are the ex-pats.  And true to form, they’ve usually got a big reason they’ve left home, often stated in the form of some conspiracy theory or a complex yet passionate interweaving of theories, or maybe personal disillusionment or perhaps simply an unstructured rambling.  So far, I feel in the minority to be here to simply explore the country. 

The main reason we chose Nicaragua is because Corey spent last summer working in El Sauce on education projects.  And because of that, we have a sense of belonging in this small community about 4 hrs north of Managua.  People welcome her back in the streets, I get welcomed as her mom, and we get to participate in some of the programs she worked on.

El Sauce is hardly a tourist town.  In fact, I don’t meet any here.  It’s a real Nicaraguan community…no frills.... but they’re working on that.  They are a sister-city to Rochester…in fact one of the small neighborhoods is named Rochester after funds helped construct it.  Our first stop is Ilyana’s house, Corey’s host mom while she was here…the one who was so caring while Corey was sick…I want to appreciate her for that in person.  Feel an immediate commonality w her….I can see why Corey felt so at home here…not the creature comforts but the warmth permeating the household; Ilyana, the source.  I like her immediately and feel totally comfortable circling in rocking chairs in her sitting room and talking/not talking….sharing the moment of being together…practicing Spanish / English…sweat dripping down my back/my arms…

And then it’s time for the English class.  It’s taught by Yacareli and a varying group of Geneseo students.  We’re the guests today; I get to stand up and talk about myself and answer hordes of well poised questions.  Any deviation from precise English and Yacareli is right on them w corrections.  I really enjoy the interaction….i even get to sing a song…no room for shyness in this culture. …I bust out This Little Light of Mine from my choir reserves…and get them to sing along…they’re more than willing to do so and have way better voices than me anyway.

There are about 20 students, aged from maybe 16 to 55, dedicated to learning English for all sorts of reasons.  Ilyana is determined to be the best host mom she can be and it’ll help her communicate w her guests….Oscar works with English speaking co-workers,  Jara is a social worker….and there’s the young men who want to make a better life for themselves….guide tours to make money….they’re trying to create options for themselves…there are all sorts of ways speaking English can affect their future whether it’s in El Sauce or Managua or maybe even elsewhere.   But the motivation is remarkable…the concentration, preparation, studying…no doubt they’re invested.  I think about my students and their motivation/or lack thereof and their sense of entitlement to education….and their too often expressed lack of appreciation…which always pushes my buttons.  I wish they were here.  People with comparatively very little just looking to create options for themselves….with no guarantees…just possibilities.  No entitlement in this room…what a contrast. 

The group is fun…they are a community…supporting each other …listening to each other…correcting each other….laughing with each other.  Next week there’s to be only one class instead of the 3-5 they normally have…the students are disappointed….some say they’d like to have class every day…imagine that.   A teacher’s dream.  How do we/can we create that kind of motivation in our classrooms?  Why is learning so slow in the US?  Some of these students have only been studying English for one year and they are so far beyond our best foreign language learners studying for the same amount of time.  Is that the price of entitlement?  And what do we do about it?  That’s the dilemma…some major revamping of our education system I imagine….or send them all somewhere else for a broader perspective on their own realities.  Who knows?  But it pushes my buttons, I know that….
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licia on

where is the chickens? i lost my last one to the racoons, perhaps vultures too "sky burial" thank the goddess for extra moms and teachers, I LOVE THE BLOG

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