Thursday, January 6, 2011
Day 2: And the Sun also Rises...
By: Alice Haight
Greetings from sunny beautiful Nicaragua!! Sorry, I just could not resist myself. I am sure the snow and frigid cold air back home (in New Jersey) is nice too. ☺
Where do I even begin? This is only our second day in Managua and I already feel as though I can write a novel as big as Tolstoy’s, War and Peace, about my experiences and my feelings thus far. Ever since the plane landed on Tuesday afternoon I have been trying to take the advice from Jhon and some previous delegation members to just absorb everything that I possibly can about Nicaragua and really “be” in the moment.
Back home I tend to have a problem with the concept of living in the moment, because I live a rather hectic life with an incredibly jammed packed schedule. Therefore, I am always trying to be organized and always be a few steps ahead of everything, including myself. Being here has already been such a rewarding experience, because being in this rural country has both literally and figuratively forced me to stop and smell the foliage and to take in the beauty that is all around me.
This morning Jhon had a basic level yoga class, which I reluctantly attended at first, because I had to get up at 5:30 am to participate. Anyone that knows me fairly well can probably tell you that I generally am not a happy camper in the morning to put it extremely mildly. But I forced myself to get up, so that I could fully embrace my new mantra and I honestly cannot even begin to express to you all what an amazing experience it was for me.
The air felt so fresh and crisp (definitely not like the Jersey air that I am used too) as I twisted my tired body like a pretzel into all of the strenuous positions. Now, I have done yoga a few times before and have always really enjoyed it, but this time was somehow different. I have never felt more connected to nature, my body, and my inner self (or whatever you want to call it) before this morning. When we started the yoga the sun was just starting to rise and by the time that we had ended the birds were soaring overhead singing their gorgeous songs and the sun had fully risen and taken its majestic place in the sky. For me it felt rather symbolic of my own life. I feel as though I may have been living my entire life up until today only in the beginning stages of the sunrise.
I have never left the US before, so I have never really known any other way of life through first hand experience. Although I have read a lot of history books and newspapers and mentally “know” how different other countries are from us culturally, politically, spiritually, socially, etc. there is definitely something a lot more tangible and real when you actually get to experience some of it for yourself. Today we also did an exercise on Power and Privilege after visiting downtown Managua for an historical sights tour. I found the exercise also very enlightening, because back home I found that I thought of myself more of like a victim within our society. I do not come from a wealthy family by any means and have always had to work very hard to get the things I wanted and needed (or at least thought that I need). Being here and going through that exercise has taught me to view my life in a new way. I have learned that being in America alone is an extremely amazing privilege that I have unknowingly been taking for granted. Compared to what I have witnessed here, for example how the downtown district of Managua has never fully been rebuilt after the devastating earthquake in 1972 or how many families only survive on $2.00 to feed a family of six, has really put my own life back at home in perspective. It is only the second day and already I have learned so much and have realized how much power and privilege I truly possess, because of where I just happen to live. Another interesting concept that that became apparent to me after the activity was that although we come from two very different sides of the spectrum in almost all areas of life when you get down to the heart of the matter we are all truly the same. I have always "known" that, but Nicaragua has helped me finally be able to make that physical connection between a concept and true knowledge.
To conclude and tie all of these thoughts together not only did the moment with the sunrise set the tone for the rest of my day today, but it has truly set a tone for how I would like to approach my life from now on. I do not know if this is just because this new year has just commenced or if it is just the spell that Nica has already started to cast over me, but I feel as though this journey is starting a whole new chapter of my life and I truly believe that I am completely ready to surrender and finally make it to my own sunrise.
Thank you so much for reading our blog! May God bless you and buenos noches.