Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Primer dia en Nicaragua (First day in Nicaragua)

The day hasn't been so much hectic as it has been stressful. The flight from Miami to Managua wasn't so bad, we flew over Cuba (can't wait to see it from the ground), over the Caribbean Sea, and over Honduras before flying over Nicaragua. It's such a contrast flying over Latin America because you can actually see green. As the plane took off from MIA all I could see for miles were suburbs, cities, and lands being cultivated for something and it worried me. How much "development" is overdevelopment?

Anywho, we flew into Augusto C. Sandino International Airport which wasn't as impressive as it sounds, and went through customs. As the plane began to descend I saw the lush jungles of Honduras and northern Nicaragua, but as we got closer and closer to Managua everything began to turn brown and looked dead. The piece de resistance was Lake Managua. A large brown pool basically polluted to the point where no one uses it, and nothing lives in it. After witnessing such beauty and then seeing such death I decided that I want to pursue Environmental Policy and Science for graduate school.

We were greeted by some of my cousins Alina, David, Marbelleit and Daniel who is the husband of another cousin of mine. If it weren't for Daniel we would've been definitely lost and probably stuck at the airport for a while. He had his car and helped us find the hotel. He was shy at first but then opened up to us and became talkative, when he wasn't zipping through Nicaraguan traffic. Nicaraguans DRIVE HORRIBLY, I feel as if everyone almost has to be a really good drive to drive this bad. They all go very fast, stop in the middle of roads, whatever they want basically but they still manage to not kill one another.

You can get 20 Cordobas for every U.S. dollar. It's not until you hold the sheaf of different size, different colored paper in your hand that you realize that Nicaraguan money has very little value. When you leave the Airport and see the Pizza Huts, the McDonalds stores, the Suzukis, and the Chevrolet dealers you begin to realize that Nicaragua is a country very much dependent on foreign investment and foreign corporations. My cousin informed me that there are about 6 Nicaraguan channels on television; two of them being news channels. The rest, typically about 40 more, are foreign, and most are from the U.S. It made me wonder about what life would be like in the United States if most of the channels we received were foreign born, without it being our choice.

Here at the Hotel we were checked in without problem and we had a chat with the bus boy outside. This is what I wanted this project to be about. We talked about life in Nicaragua for average people, what those in power are doing, and what's changed since the War. This young man, who is only 2 years older than me, works over 12 hours a day here at the hotel. The boy told us about how the Consejo Electoral Supremo (electoral body in conjunction with Supreme Court) has green lit the re-election of Daniel Ortega even though the Constitution he helped write during the Revolution limits Presidents to one term. They can stand for re-election but not consecutively. Crazy.

My cousin Daniel got me an interview with a Deputado Sandinista (equivalent of a U.S. congressperson) tomorrow, and this is probably the highest profile person I will have. I have to maintain diplomacy in my questions and hope to not offend or show bias. I spent the rest of the evening translating consent forms and trying to think of questions. However, a full day of speaking Spanish, culture shock, and fear of my project have combined to give me a massive headache so I am going to get some rest now and maybe post some more in the morning before I go.

Tomorrow's plan is to make some calls to the Movement of Women Workers and the Unemployed "Maria Elena Cuadra," the director of UNIFEM, and hope they agree to some interviews. Hopefully I will get to see some monuments while I am here, pick up some awesome items for myself and friends, and hope that this experience enriches more than just myself but also my project.

Until tomorrow,
Buen suerte y buenas noches!


At February 18, 2010 at 7:08 PM , Blogger Monica Weeks said...

buena suerte con tu proyecto y cuidate!


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