I don’t even know what exactly happened these last two weeks.
A few months ago - my friend Angie invited me to go with her organization (Intake Music) to Nicaragua to share and exchange music.
Without pause, I said yes.
Two weeks ago, I found myself on a plane, on my way to Managua, to a country I’d never been, to sing songs I’d never sung, wondering what the hell I was doing. I wasn’t haven’t second thoughts. I just had no idea what was going on, or what to expect.
These two weeks were incredible.
I sang with and for cultural legends, that have changed the political, spiritual and emotional landscape and history of Nicaragua.
I served as an official ambassador for the United States, as a part of a delegation brought in my the US Embassy.
I met children that love music as much as I do.
I met college students, who are working as hard as I did at St. Olaf College, with far fewer resources. They’re just as inspired, just as big of dreamers, and have huge hopes.
I visited barrios with no electricity, and homes with plastic garbage bags for walls.
I visited the US Embassy for the fanciest press conference I’ve ever seen in real life.
I had no idea that I’d ever experience any of these things. And here I am, on day 14, on the other side of the experience, looking back, and thinking - I know so much more now than I did two weeks ago.
I learned a lot about Nicaraguan politics and history.
I learned what it felt like to be censored. (More on that another time!)
I learned more Spanish.
I learned to play with different rhythms and styles.
And most importantly I learned more about my plan.
More about my purpose.
More about why I’m here.
I don’t mean for this blog to be self-important and purely about self-discovery, but aren’t we all in a constant state of self-discovery?
The more we learn about our surroundings, our world, and the people around us, the more that we can understand our place in things.
The more we can understand how we can be of service and how we can contribute to the world.
This is a good thing.
This is a great thing.
I’ve always felt that it’s been my purpose to get the world singing. It’s why I’ve always felt a kinship with Pete Seeger.
But to me - that doesn’t quite include everything that I do. That I want to do. It doesn’t include all of the ways that I want to help people who need it.
This trip helped me realize that not only do I want to get everyone in the world singing…I want to help everyone in the world have a life worth singing about.
I want my fellow musicians, singers, and artists to have space to create, and have enough food to eat.
I want them to feel the freedom of true artistic expression, and be able to afford their school uniforms.
I want them to know the joy of creating art - literally making something that has never existed before - just as much as I want them to know the joy of having a proper place to sleep at night.
The clarity that I gained from this trip, the further understanding of my mission in life - I'm so grateful.
I grew a lot and learned a lot on this trip.
Thank you, Nicaragua.