Kylie's Nicaragua Blog
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Barrios From the Window

Jinotega Barrios

 

As we drove through the country side on our first road trip yesterday, we passed by the “barrios” (neighborhoods) that sprung up in the middle of the dusty fields. The Best Western across from the airport we arrived at in Managua was an American resort, surrounded by walls to keep us surrounded with familiarity. For now we could enjoy the tropical flowers and breakfast bar I understood was only a facade.

But I wasn’t prepared for the de-walled, unmasked Nicaragua. I was unready for the 10 by 10 huts made from battered scrap wood and a thin piece of tin for a roof. I knew they would be there, but I was in disbelief that people raised families in the dirt. Adults sat in plastic chairs near the doorways, and children played nearby in small trees. Fathers carried multiple children on the front of their bikes. Women carried large packages on their heads with a child in both hands. Food and water were suddenly forbidden with the promise of sickness if I innocently bought a snack from a street vendor.

I now look down from the mission window at the crowded bus station where old school buses pick up and drop off, and people sell and buy. I remember the heat of the sun bearing down on me in the marketplace nearby. They stand in the shade, and I understand why. But I look through the glass with air conditioning blowing on my face. I feel justified in resting my feet after a day of walking in the marketplace. But then I see an elderly woman carrying home-baked goods in a basket on her head and realize she is still working at 4:30 on this Monday afternoon. I see the men placing the baggage and goods on top of the buses and the people who are crammed inside the hot vehicle. My feet don’t hurt anymore.

I watch the vendors balance on their wagons and carts to offer their products to the people at the bus windows. Children and stray dogs wander in and out of traffic; a warning honk for children, nothing for the mutts. People stand in the shade. Little boys roam from crowd to crowd asking for cordobas, the local currency, as professional beggars and, too often, pick-pockets. A man tries to sell cold drinks to the working men at the bus station; his son is climbing the side of the bus for fun. Unfamiliar music blares from speakers at someone’s stand nearby. The marketplace is never quiet. Even at night, the wind howls through the valley and whips the stands’ tarps, and people yell to one another in the dark.

Yes, this is what you call culture shock.

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2 Responses to “Barrios From the Window”

  1. Looking forward to “seeing” Nicaragua through your eyes. We miss you and love you very much! Beunos Noches sweetheart.

  2. Your blog brought tears to my eyes–not only because of the desperation of the precious people of Nicaragua, not only for the brother that encouraged you; but also, sweet Kylie, because I saw your heart, and it is beautiful! I am so thankful that Thomas found you. I am praying for all of you! Have a blessed day, as you are a blessing to many!
    I love you.
    Mrs. Brenda


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