Kylie's Nicaragua Blog
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I don’t need a translator to know how good this band sounds

Jinotega public school drum line

Humility seemed like a strange thing to find in a group of competitive high schoolers. But straight from the mouths of students came wisdom.

Dim sunlight came through the dusty windows near the tall ceiling of the high school gym. Our group sat in folding chairs with members of the band and gym team (the school’s dance team), circled around a TV near the gym’s stage. The glossy wooden platform made me nostalgic, remindinding me of my junior high school, and I sunk back into the feeling of being a teenager.

Watching the girls chat and laugh with each other transcended any cultural barrier I might have thought previously existed. The only thing that kept us separated was language.

The gym team’s director, who was everything I expected in a  male dance team director with his matching scarf, fashionably tight clothes and broad smile, played the DVD of the team’s performance in their Independence Day parade with his hand on his hip. We all settled back into the creaky metal chairs and watched the band and gym team put on a spectacular show.

After the parade on the screen ended, we turned to the students to talk with them through our translator Franklin. They spoke with us openly about their experience in the band and how they felt about their performances, but they caught my attention when Blake asked them if they thought they were better than their rival school in town. We all listened intently, expecting cheerful claims of being the best of course! But we didn’t see the actual answer coming.

They responded immediately, looking us in the eyes; through our translator they said something to the effect of, “No, we don’t think we’re better or they’re better. We just respect the work they do. They work hard just like we do.”

We were taken aback. This was not the response we would have expected from teenagers that didn’t seem too different from their American counterparts. We were humbled by the respect these students held for their rivals.

I imagined the bitter rivalries of American high school football teams and the fights that erupt from them. But I don’t think the violence or verbal fights would even occur if each team respected the other for the hard work each put into their shared passion.


One Response to “I don’t need a translator to know how good this band sounds”

  1. What a simple truth that we should all strive to live by.

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