Reflection on Nicaragua Culture

I’m sitting here in Seattle, just after 8:30 pm and the sun is finally setting. I’m used to the sun setting at 5:30 pm like clockwork, and taking about 10-15 minutes to fall beneath the horizon, the weather finally cooling down from the strong heat of the day.

The sun appears again around 5:30 am. The big dipper seems to appear to the left and upside down, the stars are clear and seem so close. The sun sets in different places depending on the time of the year. It’s hot during the day and at night I rarely slept with a sheet. I wanted to, of course, as I knew that lots of funny creature – especially cucarachas – were crawling about. But, the heat made it impossible.

From Finca las Nubes, Chris, the owner, generously gave me some ‘souvenirs’ and I came back with two bags of organic coffee, along with a jar of honey from their bees, and a bag full of moringa leaves, or ‘the miracle tree’.

I realize that we are very fortunate in the States. I also realized that there’s a particular snobbiness about the US, where I didn’t feel as welcome in my own country as I did in other countries. We are so spoiled in so many ways. We don’t realize the effect we have on our environment. We don’t give back in ways that we could/should. People starve in the world not because resources are scarce, but because greed has led to poor access to information and because of the lack of ability to purchase.

Every little bit helps.

The unemployment rate in Nicaragua is around 50%. There are so many ways we can volunteer our time or skills to help.

A friend of mine, Gaspar, was managing a Subway (before the owner stole money and fled and the store was closed down). An honest guy, hard worker, he made $75 dollars PER MONTH to run the store. I took Gaspar out for Mediterranean food the night before I left. He played baseball outside of the restaurant for years, only entering the restaurant to get his ball back when it went over the barbed wire fence, but never to eat. He couldn’t afford it. Our bill was only $22 dollars – very inexpensive for me, and nearly 1/3 of a month’s wage for him.

Animals are not treated well and it makes me incredibly sad. There’s no such thing as a doggy daycare or spa. If an animal is sick, they suffer through it, or they’ll just be shot. Part of it is cultural but I feel like there’s a lot we can do to influence, first starting by example.

I also noticed that children are loving, respectful to their parents, and well behaved in countries like Costa Rica and Nicaragua. In El Salvador and in the States I noticed just the opposite. Not sure why, but my guess was that it might be related to the overflow of information, flashy things, junk food, sugary foods. Just an observation.  There’s a lot to be said for the simple things in life and the less we have the more we appreciate.

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