By: Ann Nadackal
Year travelled to Nicaragua: 2012
High school: Notre Dame C.S.S (Brampton)
I still remember most of my experience in Nicaragua. From staying at Casa and working on the school, it is amazing what I still remember after 5 years. A particular memory that I am extremely fond of is of our first night staying with our families. I remember sitting down with them and talking with them. Since we were unsure of what to expect of our families, we had some questions prepared to ask them as conversation starters. To my surprise, we did not have to use them at all.
We shared stories about our lives in Canada and they shared their stories about their life in Nicaragua. It was a chance for me to see how much we had in common even when we lived so far away.
I remember showing them pictures of my family and friends and getting to meet their extended family. It was obvious that we had formed an instant connection. I still think of them when I think of Nicaragua and hope that they are thinking of me, too.
When I went to Nicaragua, I was 17-years old. I was just about to graduate high school and prepare for university. The trip made me realise how lucky I was to be living my life. Not because “I went to a foreign country and saw all the poor people,” but because I saw aspects of my life mirrored in the lives of the people I met. I saw how they cherished their families and their lives and how they lived. Staying with a local family helped me think of my own in a wonderful way.
After going to Nicaragua, I was able to see the world through a social justice lens. I realised the value in listening to people’s life experiences and working with them. That little period of time in Nicaragua shaped me more than my 17-year old self would have ever thought.
I would love to participate in such an experience again. I am currently on the path to being a teacher and I think it would be a wonderful experience to share with my students. The teachers that were on the trip with me really made it the learning experience that it was. I would love to be able to provide such an environment for my students, while learning with them. I know that my second visit will not be the same, but I look forward to it knowing that it will be just as amazing as the first time