Thursday, November 5, 2015

Culture and Community by Audrey Seligman

On October 26th we went to our home stays in Masaya Nicaragua. I really liked it there. I loved the culture and my host mom was so warm and welcoming. The house was not fancy but it is extremely functional and suits the culture. All the houses have large entranceways with lots of chairs for people to just sit and talk. There are people everywhere always and everyone is always just sitting outside in chairs talking and people watching. Every Sunday in October the kids come around and do dances in different houses and people pile into the houses to watch, the person whose house it is gives the kids some sort of treat after their performance. They danced in my house one night. It was so fun to watch and everyone in the community was so involved and cheering. It was clear how proud the parents were; it was really fun to be a part of. There were a lot of little kids in the audience and lots of babies and it was extremely interesting because often it was difficult to tell who the parents were. The kids would run and sit in everyone’s laps and all of the adults seemed to take responsibility for their wellbeing. It forced me to change my way of thinking, and put away my assumptions about family ties, and relationships within a community.
Later that night I walked around with two girls who are in the Peace Corps we ended up at a park, which is kind of the center of town where everyone hangs out. In one corner there are theses beautiful and interesting chairs with tables. The chairs are huge and made out of full tree limbs, one must have been 15 feet tall. I thought it was amazing that in the middle of this not so beautiful or clean city there were large art pieces.
It was so cool that while the countries are so close in proximity and not having spent much time in Nicaragua I could feel and tell the difference in the Costa Rican culture and the Nicaraguan culture. The difference seems obvious in the feeling of community and living in a neighborhood. I discussed this with some of my peers and we are wondering if maybe part of this is socioeconomic, we felt less like we are in a protected bubble, and more part of a real community. I really enjoyed my time in Nicaragua and I would really like to go back and spend more time there.

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