Friday, August 7, 2015

Day 5 -- Bobby and Frida’s birthday / Estelí

Learning more about the history of Nicaragua and its relationship to the US. Really affirms for me how shallow minded and ill-informed our country (wants to) make(s) its people. Those of us who are aware already know it is pretty damn corrupt but when you read up on the other side of the story, its history and see for yourself its political and economic influence on developing countries, especially those in its backyard, through actually being present in that country, it truly makes it more clear to you. There’s a charm to the simple way people live here, but I know it’s because I know they have no choice other than to live simply — at the most extreme degree in utmost scarcity — due to historic exploitation and borderline lack of resources in exchange for what it can provide to other economically/politically powerful places such as the U.S. We were passing by a bunch of colorful homes that looked similar to each other while driving through parts of Masaya and Managua, and i commented on how pretty they were for the simple fact that they were colorful. When making that comment to Maria, she told me that many of these homes were Nicaragua’s form of public housing; they just look drab without color so they were painted different blues, pinks, yellows, bright like the sun. Seven people tend to occupy one housing unit , which is usually the standard size of a family living in the barrio (can’t make certain assumptions like that without fact checking which I haven’t but I’m sure its around that number). When she told me that I felt pretty lame for making such a comment, for taking things at face value like that; for romanticizing the simple lifestyle many in this country have no choice but to live in, because I know comments like that come from a place of privilege. Many times on this trip I was wishing I knew how to “turn off” my privilege in some way. I am aware that I am far luckier than most in the world when it comes to privilege, and for that I have felt shame anytime I was whipping out my smartphone and avoided doing so in some areas. To me it seems like I am showing off my wealth to them. Sometimes while walking through these streets, I’m reminded of my desire to let go of all that I own of value and live among a poor family enduring below - poverty — level conditions for the sake of acquiring that knowledge which is transformative. My upbringing was very cushioned. When I’m reminded of the way the masses  — which usually tends to be people of color, indigenous looking people — live, I feel a combination of shame and gratitude. Or shame for feeling great. My heart turns on and it activates my tear ducts.

America was funded upon the manipulation of other, among other vices, guised in the ideals of liberty  and democracy. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Never forget. Nunca olvides.

No comments: