“What is happening here happens everywhere in the world, the only difference is this is a developing country and things do not always work the same way as they might in the US.”
Lindsay is an ITA Nicaragua graduate, and she is currently working at a children’s bi-lingual school in downtown Leon, and living at the beach in Las Penitas. This is her experience and her words. We always recommend doing research and getting real information from reliable news sources on the ground. Also, it is never advisable to participate in a protest in any country, including Nicaragua. Please adhere to recommendations from expert sources.
If you look around the beach at Las Penitas right now things seem as calm and peaceful as ever. It is hard to imagine that just two short weeks ago things were in a crazy civil uprising that took the lives of many Nicaraguans. Riots in the streets that shut down businesses and forced people into their homes for safety was the reality of the situation at the end of April. Living here as a foreigner at that time was anything but comfortable, yet at the same time, there was a distance felt by anyone not Nicaraguan.
Of course, we worried about the safety and future of this country and our friends who have only ever called this their home. However, at the same time, it wasn’t our fight and it was and still is hard to imagine what this would look like for any of us if this was the only home we had ever known. How would all of this have been different in the United States or a country in Europe? How would people have reacted differently and what would the international news have said about it. There have been many times I have been dissatisfied with the decisions of my country’s leaders and many times I have marched in opposition of it, but those times never received the international coverage that this did.
What I have seen from the people of this amazing country is unparalleled to anything I have ever experienced in my own country. These people are resilient and all they want is peace for their country. What is happening here happens everywhere in the world, the only difference is this is a developing country and things do not always work the same way as they might in the US. All the people here want is justice and equality and they want to be heard. That is what this fight has been all about, wanting to be heard. So often media outlets from other countries paint a picture of a situation that could not be further from the actual reality of it. So often, if we do not seek the answers for ourselves, we are given some answer that creates a fear within us; telling me that we fear what we do not understand. Reading most articles from American news outlets, often made me wonder if I was reading the wrong article.
So many of those people do not live here and didn’t experience what was happening when it was happening. None of us, not even those living here now can fully understand this situation in the way Nicaragua’s own people can. When a person travels outside of their own country and begins to gain perspectives from people of other cultures they may realize just how much propaganda their country spreads about others. I have felt this while listening to people tell me their opinion of the United States; my experience of my country never seems to match what they have been told about it. The same thing is happening here.
Being in Nicaragua throughout this whole experience I have felt nothing but safe. Yes, worried and frightened for what the future might hold, but never afraid for my safety. For like I said before, this is not my fight and the people involved are not wanting anything to do with me. This is about their own freedom, their own people, and their own government; it has nothing to do with me. This has been building long before I came here, I just happened to be here when it all came to fruition. A lot of this feeling of safety I must attribute to how lucky and thankful I am to live at the beach, where things never got bad. Yet a lot of it too is the people I have out here and the support group that exists here on the beach. It is like nothing I have ever experienced. During all of this, we continued to be here for each other. Staying informed and aware of the situation, we also made it a point to relax and play and live life as normal as possible; which could not be more important for anyone going through something so earth shaking. I could have never imagined that coming to Nicaragua to learn to teach English would have given me such great friends and support for life. Anyone who finds themselves here will feel the same way I am sure.
So yes, in the end, this country has a long way to go before normalcy is restored. But the amazing people of this beautiful country want peace, they will not fight, but they will stand up for the change they believe is necessary. As for the foreigners who have made Nicaragua their home, we will hold on to the faith we have in this resilient country. We will spend our days at the beach with friends from every walk of life, laughing and discussing the world, knowing that things will improve here. Until then, you can bet on seeing a smile on every face you pass and a helping hand around every corner. This country has my heart and the hearts of so many others, no one is giving up on it now.