Tuesday, April 12, 2016

James P: final reflection: I miss it already

This is my fist time in a country other than the US and I am so happy it was Nicaragua. To not only see but experience a culture riddled with socialism and progressive economic ideals was very comforting. Seeing the way that these people live without so much of what we have is inspiring and makes me want to give up my unnecessary aspects of daily life. My favorite aspects of the trip were on the mainland. Seeing the cities and the rural farm land and the people who worked it. I enjoyed the car rides, the quaint inn, the plank beds, the clinic construction, and even the churches. My less favorite parts were on Ometepe, not because it wasn't beautiful or it wasn't just as awe inspiring but mainly because of the greater focus on athletic activities. Though it was exhausting it was still an incredibly fun place. The people of Nicaragua were incredibly kind and caring towords us even though we were just a bunch of gringos. If presented the opportunity I would go back in a heart beat. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Reflection post: My perspective

When I first signed onto the trip to Nicaragua I didn't know exactly what I was going to be seeing or doing, I didn't know what kind of experience it was going to be or what to expect, and when I finally arrived in Nicaragua it was something completely different than anything I ever expected  to witness it was exactly what I said in my blog a "shock wave" or "straight out of movie" because it was something that I don't see everyday and the most challenging part of the trip wasn't the hiking or the physically demanding things it was seeing the poverty but not just poverty mainly having kids beg you for money and food was something I didn't know how to react to and still don't. I believe this trip gave me a broader perspective in my life on what's really out there in the real world and has changed it for the better.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Leighla H: Final Reflection :Lots of Firsts and Lots of Fun

This trip was life changing, this was a lot of firsts for me, it was amazing. When we arrived to in Nicaragua I was amazed at how beautiful the country is. I felt like I really connected with the people's in Nicaragua, even though I'm not the best at the Spanish lanuage. During the trip I started to understand some things I had never thought about before. I understood the reality of life even more so than I already did, and the fact that not everyone has the what they need to live in luxury. Don't get me wrong, I already understood that not everyone lives a life of luxury. I just didn't really see poverty to this extent. It really opened my eyes and I felt so bad, but feeling bad for people in poverty isn't going to help them. What is going to help them is, well, I don't know. I believe that we, POHS and the United States, should help Nicaruaga if they wanted our help. Because if you look at the historic aspect of it, the United States sent someone over there to be presedent and that did not turn out so well for Nicaruaga. So if they don't want help from the US government that is totally understandable but what I'm saying is that POHS is doing a great job with helping them in the areas that they need/want help in. When we were at Jubily House we took a van over to the clinic and we helped with the construction for the third building. It was a lot of hard work but it was worth it to me, especially because I just love helping people. I would love to do the trip again, an maybe when I'm an adult I would live there just to help the community. If I can't do that then I'll start in Houston and help the people in my community.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Final reflection Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a beautiful country that has a weqqsad history. I got to witness the people and poverty of the country. I got to learn about the history. The people are friendly,they are happy with their lives even if they don't have luxurious houses, or things. It makes me happy knowing that people don't need luxuries to be happy. Nicaragua isn't a rich country an example of how poor is, there is not a lot of proper plumbing, so open defecation was happening. The poverty is extremely saddening to see, the houses are falling apart, they have dirt floors, their sewage is in the streets The history of Nicaragua starts with the invasion of the spaniards. Then the U.S involvement, to the Somoza dictatorship. To the FSLN to the Contra revolution to the modern day FSLN. In this history a lot of blood was shed a lot of families separated. In the end emerged the beautiful country that is Nicaragua.

Each day that I spent in Nicaragua was a different exciting activity that in the end I was filled with  joy. The activities we did were Kayaking, biking, hiking, church, making chocolate, coffee plantation, helping at a school and a clinic. The bonding that happened between my fellow classmates was amazing and cheerful.

Amber M: Final Reflection: Looking Back

To be honest, I was not looking forward to coming to Nicaragua at all. Not only did ten days with no AC sound unappealing, but stepping out of my comfort zone physically and socially are things I steer clear from. If only I knew when signing up that this trip would benefit me far more than just being a resume builder or something to please my parents. 

The first thing I realized when being in Omatepe was the importance of maintaining a positive attitude. At that point, there was no going back. I was there for ten days whether I liked it or not and it was up to me to make the most of it. After falling off a bike, having random intense stomach pains, and going on an unexpected 5 hour kayak journey, I was faced with the harsh reality that I am not used to being a positive person. In Houston, I have the luxury of having more freedom in what I choose to do in my day to day life, as well as being able to retreat to my domain of comfort at the end of the day. Over there, that luxury was taken from me and replaced with me totally out of my comfort zone in a different country, where the only source of solace I had was myself. Being constantly surrounded by my seemingly perpetually positive peers was so helpful in teaching me that perspective is everything, and I hold the power in determining how uncomfortable situations affect me. 

The second epiphany that I had in Nicaragua was about my place in the world and how rare and lucky I was. I am able to live a very comfortable lifestyle where I am rarely exposed to the poverty going on in my own city just a few miles away from me, let alone a poverty-ridden country. Seeing hard working Nicaraguans make only $2 a day for their family when the cost of living is about $500 a month, or hearing how difficult it is for them to obtain a visa to visit the US, let alone move here struck a cord with me. My parents both come from poor backgrounds in India and Pakistan, and were lucky enough to be able to move here and get American educations and start a successful business to be able to provide for my family. Seeing teenagers made me realize that if things hadn't fallen into place for my family, I could be in their position. The thought that I came from poverty was an uncomfortable reality that I had to face and helped put my life in perspective. After getting over the initial discomfort, this realization made me want to be able to insight some sort of change in Nicaragua to give people attainable and fair opportunities to become more successful and be able to live a better life.

Although I want to make a difference, the question of how to insight change still stands. The frustrating reality is that I am just a teenager with limited means. Even if I may not be able to make a significant difference in Nicaragua, there is poverty right in my backyard in Houston, where I can make a difference.

Final Reflection on Nicaragua

My experience in Nicaragua was, to say the least, extremely powerful. The trip really had a huge impact on me, such a powerful influence that i'm still, 3 days later, trying to process everything. The overall experience is so hard to describe or explain because I believe that every person experienced the trip differently. Some people, myself included, had the opportunity to go out into the actual community of Nueva Vida which I think affected me most on this trip because I saw so many things up close, outside of the "comfort" of the barbed wire fencing around the clinic. 
Throughout most of the trip, nothing really phased me, I just saw Nueva Vida as another poor village. It wasn't until we went on the tour around Managua that I realized that not only was Nueva Vida extremely poor, but so was everywhere else. There was never really any balance, like in Houston, we have the Third ward, but we also have River Oaks, there's somewhat of a balance to show that depending on where we go there will be varying levels of poverty. In Nicaragua, everywhere you go, there will be poverty. There's no way to ever really escape from seeing all of this. 
So, throughout the next couple of years, I hope to go back to Nicaragua and do whatever I can to help, and I know that might not be a lot but I can also share my experiences with other people and encourage them to maybe not help Nicaragua directly but other places like even our own community around Houston.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Matthew W: Final Reflection: The Work Is A Long Way From Over

     To describe our experience in Nicaragua, so that you, the reader, would be able to fully understand the multifaceted problems facing the county and its population would be truly impossible. All the sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions, the exhaustion, the exuberance, and the general feelings of the communities in Nicaragua as a whole, there are some things that just cannot be communicated through written language. There are some things that one has to experience to fully understand. Nicaragua, situated as the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere is one of these things, and that really is the whole purpose of this trip: to expose students to life in Nicaragua and put them face-to-face with extreme poverty in hopes that this will encourage them to help be part of the change for the better in the world. Even I, after having visited and worked there two years in a row, am not fully able to comprehend the gravity of the poverty faced the communities; however, I can and will still try to help to my full potential.

     This trip exposed me to different communities within Nicaragua as we got to travel around the country to see the differences in life in different parts. We visited Ometepe Island, which is in the center of Lake Nicaragua, and volunteered in a school to help build walls out of EcoBricks. We also got to see the town of Granada, which is one of the main tourist destinations in Nicaragua. Following these two locations, we visited Ciudad Sandino to work with Jubilee House Community on building a clinic in the neighborhood of Nueva Vida and traveled to El Porvenir, a coffee cooperative in the mountains of Nicaragua. These four different places allowed us to experience the conditions of life in both touristy and non-touristy locations. Within many of the touristy locations, I noticed much more wealth, which is probably as a result of this increased tourism. However, this wealth attracted many people living in poverty to come into the cities to beg to try to feed off of this increased level of wealth. Within non-tourist areas, I noticed that many people, although working incredibly hard, earned very little money each day - in Ciudad Sandino, most people earned approximately $2/day. Furthermore, many of these people work in the informal sector as about 65% of Nicaragua's population finds jobs in this informal sector.

     All of these locations, however, came with problems of their own. Many of which, the Jubilee House Community is working to help solve by collaborating with and listening to the communities directly affected by poverty to come of with solutions to issues that the members of the population view as urgent. Personally, I believe that the work that Jubilee House is doing is extremely important as they are letting the communities have a voice and a say in what they think is important. Furthermore, this trip has encouraged me to help to combat many of these issues both within Nicaragua, but also within my home town or Houston and the world as a whole. Rather than working to help areas that are already being assisted by other organizations, I hope to focus my efforts on collaborating with and help to fundraise for organizations who work alongside communities and are productive at implementing positive change.