Yurena shares her experience after living in Nicaragua for almost three years.
September 29, 2015 - Nicaragua
Dawn...a new day is born on this land of fire and volcanoes, which is Nicaragua. To the sound of bachata, salsa and merengue, the day welcomes us. The sun rays are cast through the windows and from my bed, eyes still closed, I listen as the chavalos (Nicaraguan term for “kids”) start their day. Someone yells “LA COMIDAAAAAA, LA COMIDAAAAAA,” then the kids are racing around and there are sounds of the pots of food. It's time to get out of bed, yet it is not yet six in the morning, but the gallo pinto (rice and beans) already awaits.
Everyone is running from one side of their house to another. Some iron their uniforms, while others finish chores, do homework, or review for the exam that will be in a few hours. The tio (caregiver for the house) calls for food, then we all gather at the table. We close our eyes, and we entrust our prayers to the Lord, giving thanks for the food that we eat, and the children pray for their families, for the most disadvantaged, the sick, etc., concluding with the prayer "Lord make me an instrument of your peace." Then we cry for peace and good, to which all respond FOREVER AND EVER AMEN, and everyone runs to get their food. As normal, the gallo pinto is better warm.
Now the day has begun. Some go to school, others work, and without realizing it, the routine has become a part of your everyday life; and one day, without knowing how, you wake up and it's been months, years, since you first landed in Managua. The heat and the smell of rain envelopes your body. Here, surely, time seems to pass at a different speed, the seconds, minutes, hours, days and weeks leak between your fingers without having a chance to retain them.
After a few months, you feel you've been here half your life, and you wonder how come, in such little time, your other life seems so far away, even to wonder if it's real. Probably, this is the consequence of unbridled work, the time you share with chavalos and chavalas, the activities of the weekend, special events, my favorite Christmas and Quinceañeraos, birthday cakes, (this month I have four), and it seems incredible that all the chavalos have their birthdays simultaneously. In short, the day owns you, and your time disappears faster than you ever considered possible. You considered the idea that some strange phenomenon occurs in Nicaragua for the time to pass at the speed of light, and in your mind there is only one thought: these things did not happen to me before!
To say that here everything is rosy would also be an exaggeration, a lie. The truth is, this is a unique experience that will change your life, and since time seems to pass faster, emotions seem more intense. Some days you feel emotions of joy and happiness. Other days it’s difficult to locate your emotions, and you do not understand what is happening around you. You feel frustration and helplessness, and sometimes you notice that you miss little things about your country, your family, your friends ... and then again you will feel like you’re on a cloud. The reality is that all the difficult things are rewarding, and the greatest rewards for your hard work are the smiles of more than 300 children, without even realizing that they have stolen your heart. Your life will never be the same, without knowing how, you become like a mother of a large family. What am I going to do now!
It is curious what it is to be human, he is faithful to the little routines. After nearly three years of volunteering at NPH Nicaragua, and the fact that this country has gradually become my second homeland, I appreciate more the little details, the little things, like knowing glances that without actually saying anything, say it all. The thank you's for your effort, and how you feel like part of the family. You learn to appreciate all that you have, both the things you have a lot of and a little of; to be aware that I find happiness when I can share a cup of coffee with the people I love, enjoying a sunset at the beach and the rain that caught me by surprise, a plate of gallo pinto or the best tajadas (fried plantain chips) in Nicaragua in the company of my children, the trust that the kids have given me, and the times when they drive you crazy.
But at sunset, Nicaragua sleeps. The intensity of the day suddenly decreases, peace fills you like nothing you have felt before.That tranquility makes you smile and give thanks for having experienced that feeling once in life, for a moment you think “is this happiness?” Later you no longer think, only let yourself go, enjoying your time to its fullest, you do not want it to ever go away. And the memory stays in your mind, and you wonder, dream or reality? Tomorrow is a new day and you'll have another chance to find out if it's a sweet dream or a beautiful reality.
Yurena Perdomo Sosa