How do you approach a child that strikes you as incredibly sad?
Yesterday, I met a little boy at our choir rehearsal. He looked super sad, so I asked him his name and introduced myself. His name is Brayan (no that's not a typo) so I told him that was my husband's name. He smiled, and I suggested that we take a photo together.
A few hours later I saw him pass by a room where I was singing with some teenagers. Then I saw him pass by the other way, and then again...
He looked so sad.
And I realized, he wanted to take the picture. So here he is. The sad little boy named Brayan. His eyes just break my heart.
This is not a sad post- I was just really affected by him today.
All of the kids (including Brayan) sang beautifully today, and our choir is growing! Each night, kids go home and tell their siblings and neighbors what they've been doing, and each day more show up.
In order to save time during our day, we didn't leave during lunch. Instead, the kids' cook, Wendy, made us food.
NicaPhoto (the partner I've referenced often) is an holistic arts center that provides the town of Nagarote with tutoring, access to arts education, a safe space to be, and healthy meals.
Because I had talked so much with the director, Ronnie, and I know that they have a shoe-string budget (to feed a child lunch here costs $.50/day) - well - I thought I'd be eating rice and beans. And frankly, that was fine with me.
But no- Wendy the chef made us some kind of fancy lunch...turns out she's an incredible cook! I made a pledge to eat whatever was put in front of me this trip, as a part of the experience, and I'm so glad I did. Lunch was delicious! (Though I was freaked out by the whole 'fish head on my plate' situation at first...)
After our rehearsals in Nagarote, and surviving the heat & humidity that seem to be incredibly consistent, we were offered a walking tour by our Norwalk Sister City host, Miguel.
After returning on the bus, he took us around Leon explaining all of the different murals that have been painted in the last 20-30 years, and it was so interesting.
Nicaragua has a fascinating history, and I was so glad to be able to ask him questions. He's a young guy, idealistic, loves his country and loves his people. It was a pleasure to hear about Nicaragua from him.
One of the most profound murals is right outside of the University, and the main focus of it...well...see for yourself.
This mural was painted as a form of protest by college students, because Colleges and Universities only receive 6% of the country's budget. And lower education (elementary, middle and high school) receive even less.
As a young guy who just had his first son, he finds this lack of investment in the future generations incredibly frustrating.
I told him, he could make that same case in the US right now as well- between climate change and education, it seems like caring for our future generations is a worldwide concern.
It was really interesting talking politics, ideas, issues and hopes in another language and culture. Meeting people like Miguel makes me believe that kids like Brayan will be ok.
More to come tomorrow...