Nicaragua Captured my heart

This morning I had a spam comment on an old blog that I used to write. When I went to remove the comment, I found this old blog post that I had written when I returned from Costa Rica and Nicaragua in 2009.

Since I returned from Ecuador and Peru a week ago I’ve been feeling a little guilty about the fact that I want to return … I’m drawn to South America … after re-reading this blog post it just solidifies the fact that I’ve wanted this for a long time. Apparently I’ve been thinking about it since 2008.

March 15, 2009

For the past year I’ve been thinking about traveling outside of Canada to volunteer in another country. I’ve been searching for just the right program and right place so that I can volunteer and have lots of time to take photos. I want to be completely immersed in another culture.

Everyday I am thankful for what we have in Canada. The conditions we live in, our health, our safety. The fact that I have a good job that I love. We have no war and very little violence.

I sit and try to imagine what a different life other people live. Then I stop myself because imagining this is sad. So, I want to live it instead. I want to go and be part of a community where things are SOOOO different than my life here that I can truly appreciate the smallest things in life.

In January this year I traveled to Costa Rica. I haven’t found that perfect fit for a volunteer program yet, so I decided I would take a vacation to Costa Rica and see how I felt about Central America. While I was there, I took a day trip to Nicaragua and it captured my heart.

In the city of Granada our huge tour bus barely fit down the streets. You could see children nearby staring, longingly at the bus hoping it stopped in their area of the city. Of course they know that tourists come with money …

One of the most interesting things for me was when we got to go shopping at a local market. Only a few years ago, the market was full of young children begging for money. Now, those same young children work for their money. This market has beautiful hand crafted items, and if you pay one of these boys, who now are in uniform, they will take you through the busy market to find whatever you need.

What a wonderful project that someone has started! Instead of kids begging for tourists money, they are providing a service and getting paid for this. They are learning how to make money the respectful way. These boys speak English and help you discuss products and prices with the locals in the market.

The same as right here at home, who wouldn’t rather give money to someone who is truly making an effort, then to someone just begging on the street?

I look forward to returning to Nicaragua sometime in the near future. It may be the place I end up doing some volunteer work, although I’m not sure in what capacity yet.

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