As the group travels the country meeting ProNica’s project partners, themes like Latin American history, globalization, international politics and economics, community development, women’s empowerment and environmental sustainability become clear and personal as delegates interact with the people doing the work at the grassroots level.
Nicaragua’s history and the impact of a century of US intervention come into focus as the interconnectedness of the first and third worlds becomes apparent. Students see a side of life that tourists rarely do – the “daily life” reality of poverty in a country where 48% of the people struggle to live on less than $1 a day. Delegates return to their communities infused with a wider world perspective and a renewed sense of purpose.
Nicaragua remains a reference point for me. I feel more appreciation for compassion and generosity, and a repulsion for wastefulness that I did not feel before. I’m no longer able to look away from poverty and news of people being displaced by wars and disasters strikes a new chord in me … We discuss developing countries in my classes and rather than regurgitating textbook information, I feel as though I now have real experiences to draw from …Samantha Bonen Clark
Our delegation came to Nicaragua to learn from women activists, leaders and change makers in the local community. We came to hear their stories of struggle and triumph, to honor their visions and hopes for the future, and to walk in solidarity as women with shared dreams across our respective borders.Professor Emily Bent
On a daily basis, we heard from men and women who started service programs in their communities. A majority were started by women . They simply saw something around them that was not right and did what they could to fix it. I was truly inspired by how empowered they were. If the world had more people like them, people who are selfless, generous, who seek prosperity and equality for all, I can’t begin to imagine the effect they could have.Elizabeth Sirois
Taking Eckerd College students to Nicaragua was one of the most meaningful experiences I have had as a teacher. Rather than simply learning about environmental justice in the classroom, the students participated in activities arranged by ProNica. They could see for themselves the problems and search for solutions, or at least improvements. I know their lives were changed as a result.Professor David Hastings