Washburn’s 10th student delegation to Nicaragua has arrived safely and spent a relaxing first day at a volcanic crator lake.
We are again hosted by ProNica, a Quaker NGO based in Florida. We are a group of 14 students, one faculty member and one staff member. Among the group, the students are studying to become nurses, business professionals, social workers, teachers and biologists. Two students are here for a second time. All of us have our eyes and minds open.
Already there have been big questions: Why is poverty so high in Nicaragua but crime is so low? What social problems are most prevelant here? What are the political debates currently, as the 2016 election nears? What’s happening with the canal? And the land disputes on the eastern side of the country? Some of the answers are yet to come.
We spent most of the day at Laguna de Apoyo, the incredibly deep and incredibly blue volcanic crator lake. Tonight, the chance to learn about the folk art and music traditional to Nicaragua. This country, the size of Wisconsin with about six million people, as a rich musical and artistic heritage. There are murals everywhere. Maramba and guitar are popular. But those things, we learned, are not taught in the country’s public schools. Instead, children often attend after school programs for instruction in painting, music appreciation and playing insturments.
One student said today was the perfect beginning to the trip. The relaxation allowed us all to take in the cultural differences slowly. So much is ahead for us in these 14 days.
Tomorrow we will visit Granada, the oldest colonial city in Central America. Markets, historic sites and our first service provider visit await.