Wherein Ms. Alice Bag gets to babble, babble on...
Monday, January 12, 2015
The Nica Diaries - Excerpt
We’re still in Managua, the charla with the economist fell through, so a bunch of us just went out for frescos instead. Vick, one of the guys in our group, started feeling sick. I’m one of the more fluent members of our group so I and another NICA student who is studying medicine but doesn’t speak much Spanish took him to the hospital. Turns out Vick was suffering from acute dehydration and was having some medical complications because of it. The service at the hospital was ridiculously fast and efficient, despite the obvious lack of medical equipment or adequate facilities, not to mention medication which is also scarce here. Vick had to stay at the hospital for observation so we left him there and we’ll send someone else from the school to pick him up in a few hours.
Last night at Lobo Jacks I talked to a lot of people. Many of us have reached a point in this journey where we are understanding that it’s time to move past learning the truth, it’s time to start acting on it. I believe that truth compels us to act.
I’m so much more in tune with human beings down here. Talking to the internationalists, hearing about their work, I realize that I spend a lot of time in my head exploring ideas, looking for black and white truths instead of acting. Just communicating with other people can teach us as much about life as great philosophy books - not to diminish those great works but ideas should be utilized, they shouldn’t just rot in your head like uneaten fruit on a vine. I need to find a way to actualize my beliefs and I feel an urgency to do it now. I have to stop being stupid, thinking that planting tomatoes on an agricultural cooperative is going to make any great change in people’s lives. It probably only made a difference in mine.
I’ve been offered a teaching job in the mountains just north of Esteli. It’s dangerous territory because the closer you get to Honduras, the closer you get to the fighting but the children there have been in desperate need of a teacher for a while; there is a shortage of teachers, too. I’m considering it. I could be happy here. I’ve fallen in love with this country and these people despite the poverty and the hardship.
I still remember my first night, scooping newspaper out of a filthy toilet with my hand for fear of clogging up the whole neighborhood’s plumbing. Hearing the roosters crow in the middle of the night, being exposed to third world living conditions for the first time in my life, finding out that it wasn’t uncommon for people to live in shacks poorly boarded up with little or no plumbing. I remember my first week, getting used to the unexpected water shortages, seeing people riding horses down the streets right next to cars, getting used to not having a refrigerator or washing machine, learning to use a scrub board, learning to take cold water bucket baths, learning to tuck mosquito netting so the little suckers couldn’t sneak in under the net, learning what it means to be Nicaraguan. God, I love this place.
I love my own country too, and I miss home - my mom and dad, Bruce, my friends, my band… and there are things to be done there, too. I could also make a difference there, it’s just not as easy to see what needs to be done. There are children who need a bilingual teacher like me in Los Angeles and there is a shortage of them, but I can’t abandon Nicaragua. I don’t know what to do…