As Michelle briefly mentioned, water has already emerged as a central theme on this trip. Though the country is called the "land of lakes and volcanoes" and has two enormous lakes and several smaller ones, all Nicaragua is suffering a terrible drought caused in part by the weather phenomenon El Niño, in part because of years of bad farming practices by big agrobusiness (especially tobacco companies) and in part because of global warming in general. As we have already learned, the average Nicaraguan farmer (who has only a few years of formal education) understands climate change and its causes far better than the average upperclass American, and has no problem telling us that our consumption is part of the problem.
As I was taking my freezing cold shower in the Finca Magdalena, I thought about how I have always been able to use all the water I want, for any purpose. I have lived a life of cold drinks, long and luxurious showers and flush toilets. I was not raised to think of water as a finite and precious resource. But living in the villages on the last trip, carrying buckets of water from the well and hearing of drought ruining crops, I began to realize that my personal habits need to change. I wonder if our committee, upon return, could start a sort of campaign in which we get OSCAns to sign a pledge saying they would reduce their water use in solidarity with our compañeras in Limay.
More on water and other issues coming soon!