I was surprised a week or so ago to see that I had posted my 365th entry at this site. ( I refuse to call them “blogs.” I dislike the term and the way it sounds.) That’s a full year’s worth of observations, reflections, ideas and opinions concerning just about anything. Certainly, Nicaragua has been at the center of most of these musings, but the scope of the topics has been admittedly wide. (It’s always been difficult for me to be very narrowly focused; that’s good for, say, getting dressed in a coordinated style, but more demanding for tying one’s shoes.)
I started writing here because a decade ago I began my staff work with Winds of Peace Foundation and became witness to circumstances in that country of which I had been previously unaware. I deduced that these realities were likewise either unknown by most of us in the United States or, if known, then at least greatly under appreciated. However limited my audience might be, I felt a call to describe matters of concern in Nicaragua, whether economic, cultural, social or educational in nature. Particularly since we in the United States have permitted such intrusive and destructive actions by our government against the people of Nicaragua over decades of interference, the recording of my own awakening and periodic reflections seemed like a worthwhile effort for “infecting” unsuspecting readers.
I have attempted here to present issues from Nicaragua as perceived through the eyes of someone who is likely representative of an average North American. I have described poverty that is easy to read about but heartbreaking to experience. I have recounted relationships- formed immediately and out of mutual desires to connect- that were as rewarding and precious as friendships in the U.S. I have witnessed the love and respect shared between Nicaraguans and North Americans, overcoming the stereotypes and caricatures often presented by handmaiden media. In short, my intention has been to bring elements of Nicaragua north, to shorten the distance between two countries, two ways of life, that are very different and yet much closer than we are willing to recognize.
At the same time, I know in my mind and heart that I have fallen very short of the objectives I have sought to achieve. Like seeing the vast panorama of Nicaraguan mountains, punctuated by breathtakingly precipitous valleys, my words will never do justice to the realities at hand. My own perceptions about Nicaragua and the people who live there are always filtered by my own life and bias and self-interest, even when I do not intend it. My stories are no better than “Nica via Steve.”
But if for no other reason than my own need to write what I experience, for accentuation, I will continue to offer brief glimpses into this one small part of the world. I’ll offer up pictures of people, just like you and me, who face the daily struggles of survival and, in the terminology of Maslow, self-actualization. Maybe in another ten years time the contrasts will be less dramatic, the injustices less egregious, the disparities lessened through growing appreciation of our mutual obligations to one another. And if these entries will have contributed anything at all to that, then the journaling will have been more than worthwhile.
Thanks for coming with me this far….