Reading about poverty is something, seeing poverty is something that words can’t come close to explaining. Last summer I went to Matagalpa, Nicaragua. I went through a program called Global Glimpse. When we got off the plane, I realized how different it was compared to the US and how similar it was to Mexico. On the ride to lunch, we passed through Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. When I looked out the window, I saw that there were some people living in plastic bag houses. It was strange to see this happen in the capital of the country. My immediate thoughts were that Nicaragua was extremely poor. Soon after, the coordinators of the program told us that they were on a protest that has been going on for years against foreign companies using pesticides.
When the coordinators gave us a tour in Managua, we found ourselves in a situation that was unpleasant and extremely heart breaking for many of us. As soon as we got off the bus, there were kids around 11 years old that were either begging for money or selling figures made by long leaves. It was devastating to see that kids had to be the ones getting money by their own means. I even saw a kid that looked like he had gangrene in his leg and was still working to get money. It was disappointing to see kids begging for money instead of being in school. It was disappointing because I was raised to work for what I want and it seemed unreasonable to see some work for money while others asked for money. I saw glue on the streets that represented teens that couldn’t afford marijuana. The cities themselves create a distinctive economic hierarchy. It made me reflect on my own family’s childhood poverty. It made me impotent to see the lifestyle of the children in the capital of a nation so green and rich like Nicaragua. There were also fabulous places that we went to see like waterfalls, rich agriculture, coffee plantations, exotic flowers, libraries, schools, and lots of other places that highlighted Nicaragua’s secret treasures.
During our visit we had the opportunity to go with Las Hormiguitas organization to the city dump. We had games, teaching them at a mobile school and breaking a piÃ±ata. We had to first keep our distance so they wouldn’t get them alarmed. During the time I was in the bus, I saw how the people were digging through the garbage and following the garbage truck looking for something to eat or something useful. I saw how there were people fighting with cows in order to obtain something they valued with their life. There is no doubt that ones trash is another person’s treasure. It made me think about so many things I take for granted. I spoke to a family living in the dump, the grandparents well over 50 and the grandsons 5 and 6 years old. The man explained his experience and asked if I could take a picture and bring it to California as a last hope. It was hard to experience how my garbage could mean so much to a person. Later in the day I had the opportunity to give out school supplies. I was happy that I could help at least with something. I see how people as well as I complain that we need this and we need that when we are living like rich people in another countries eye.
I feel like when I get a degree I need to help these people out so we don’t have a huge gap in poverty lines between countries. I will create houses suitable for the type of environment people in poverty are living in and economically affordable. I will travel around the world in order to help as many people in poverty have at least a house to survive in. I might be with an organization or make my own business, but I will help people in developing countries decrease the gap between America’s poverty line and developing countries.
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