Enough clutter. Enough confusion. Enough complications.

16 September 2010

El orgullo de Nicaragua es azul y blanco

The pride of Nicaragua is blue and white.

This week Nicaragua celebrated its Fiestas Patrias. September 14th is celebrated as the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto and the 15th commemorates Nicaraguan independence. To say that the pride of Nicaragua is “azul y blanco” has two meanings. First, the flag with its white strip land, embossed with the nation's famous lakes and volcanoes, set between blue bodies of water to the east and the west is ubiquitous. It is a beautiful flag. The country takes its national symbols seriously. The national bird, tree, and flower are prominently displayed in every school and in most classrooms, and rarely does a month pass that there isn't a special class devoted to showing proper respect for
the national symbols. But I don't really want to
talk about the flag.

  The true pride of Nicaragua, and its hope and future, is the other azul y blanco— its students. The Nicaraguan school uniform is, as you've probably guessed, blue and white. To celebrate its independence, Nicaragua makes full use of this resource. The majority of my classes this month were canceled because the students were learning to march, practicing with the band (which is all percussion instruments), learning traditional Caribbean dances, or some other activity in preparation for this week. When the Fiestas finally arrived the whole town gathered in the park to watch all the students from all the public schools march around town to the beat of the band and accompanied by a variety of cultural exhibitions. It was quite a show. I can't imagine a similar event being organized in the united states. The only similarity was the look of disinterest that accompanies forced participation on a hot afternoon evident on a large number of the faces. Compulsion or no compulsion, they all did a great job!

I spend the vast majority of my time working in high schools. The purpose of our class is to help give students the tools and the confidence they need to take their educational and economic future into their own hands. They have the rhetoric down. They can tell you that their future depends on themselves and that they are there to learn how to learn to make the most of the opportunities presented to them and to create there own when it seems like none is available. I believe them to be totally capable of all these things. The test, however, will be to see the way they march and dance and beat the drum when they're no longer dressed in azul y blanco.

La sombrilla

Sombrilla, sombrillita
arco iris de color
cuidando la viejita
del brillante sol y su calor

Sombrilla, sombrillita
no una paraguas sos
ni parasol de fancesita
porque no podés pararlos vos

Sombrilla, sombrillita
que fresca sombra tirás
sobre lindas chavalitas
en cuyas manos te quedás

Sombrilla, sombrillita
seguí con tu trabajo
sonriendo allá bonita
hasta el sol esté más bajo.

02 September 2010

1 Septiembre

September is 7 hours and 45 minutes old and I've already watched the sunrise over foggy, rolling hills interspersed with pine trees while listening to the cows say good morning and drinking a cup of sugary coffee cut with milk that I, personally, milked right from the cow into my cup. Maybe it wasn't the best idea, but who could pass up the opportunity to complete that sentence.

Look at Don Francisco's face. He's loving the fact that I want to get up at 4:30 and go learn to milk cows out in the campo. We'd known each other for about three minutes when he first asked me if I wanted to go out to the finca and milk cows (I was drinking a cup of hot milk in his son's house at the time). I said, heck yeah, how about Wednesday. He was also the one that proposed I go take a walk around the hill so I could enjoy the sunrise, that I should take a cup of coffee with me, and that it was only appropriate the I put milk in it right from the cow.