Nicaragua Part 5: Coming Back

Compared to the vomit-filled mayhem that was the trip north, our return to Costa Rica was relatively calm. When Samuel and I were leaving, we gave the equivalent of 5 or 10 dollars to Charita to buy some food, and as we walked to where the bus would stop to pick us up, her rambling, quasi-incoherent proclamations that God bless us, God bless us indeed, bade us farewell.
We had another pre-four-o’clock bus departure, but the rides this time were all pretty smooth and somewhat enjoyable. We didn’t miss any buses, and nothing terribly interesting happened. Managua was still polluted, but it was a nicer day, and it was nice to see more of the city and listen as Samuel talked to the taxi driver about the state of the nation of Nicaragua.
The border crossings were annoying again, but they didn’t last as long, since it was later in the day, and by now it was old hat for us. Coming back into Costa Rica, though, one noticed a marked contrast in the quality of life and housing, and it made me grateful to live here. Costa Rica is really a great country, and I especially liked the slightly rugged northwest province of Guanacaste, which looks like what I imagine Florida might have looked like some 50 years ago: hot, flat, scenic, and a bit fucked up. As the sun set out the bus window to my right and “Rocky Balboa” played above me, I mentally tried to digest my trip.
In all the storytelling and joking in these blogs, I realized that I failed to mention one important thing: Nicaragua is a beautiful country. Sure, it’s got its problems–there are unregulated areas of environmental damage, and many people simply throw garbage out the bus window, for example—but it’s also the biggest and least densely populated country in Central America. That means that there are huge natural areas with beautiful views, all the way from Lake Nicaragua in the south to the foggy highlands in the north. I saw many amazing landscapes and many beautiful, friendly people. It was the people that worried me a bit, though.
As I said, I realize now how lucky I have things, especially when I compare Nicaragua to the United States. I had the luxury of being able to leave the country after just a few days, and that’s a luxury that most of the people living in poverty don’t have. I am trying to think of ways that I can personally help out, since I noticed how much impact even a small action can make. I thought of how the amount of cash that would buy me one meal will buy Charita food for a week. I thought of how most of the males in Samuel’s family expressed to him and me the interest of coming to Costa Rica to work.
In the time I’ve come back to Costa Rica, I’ve talked with Samuel a few times, and as thanks to him for his hospitality, I decided to offer about two hundred dollars to him, to spend in the manner he deems most appropriate to help his family. I told him he could pay it back or not. My two stipulations were first, that he spend it to help his family and second, that if one of the men in his family wants to come here, that his family discusses it before coming. I’d rather not be the reason for a family being broken up, even if it is in search of a better future. So, we’ll see what happens.
I’m not trying to make myself into some sort of Ryangelina Jolie, but I’m trying to help. Maybe these blog postings—if you’ve even managed to read this far—can also help raise a bit of awareness. The main thing I didn’t want to do was to make an attempt at writing a humorous email and trivialize what I saw. I also didn’t want to send a message like, “Hey, these people are just great; they may be poor, but at least they’re happy and they have their music,” or some crap like that. They’re poor and they’re friendly, but still, they’re freakin’ poor, and there must be something we can do to help. I know that Americans have big hearts, and that we give more to charities than any other country, and that’s great. But maybe this email will motivate you to think a bit more about other possibilities, or just to think more about the world around you. We’ve got it pretty good, and maybe we could help some others out, too.
Thanks for reading.

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Errand-Running Monkey at Sitzblog
Hey! I'm Ryan Sitzman, the person in charge of Sitzblog. If you want to know more about me, you can check out my profile on Google or go to my personal site, You can also click on any of the redundant little boxes to the left and it should take you to my profiles for all kinds of social networks. Thanks!

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