“Broaden Your Horizons”
Let me first begin by saying that it is truly an honor to be a guest blogger for Emergency Response Services of Latin America (ERSLA). It is a rainy day here in South Georgia, and while I have some spare time I figured that it would be appropriate to sit here and sip on some organic coffee from La Garnacha, Nicaragua.
When I first entered college as a freshman I knew that studying abroad was on my college checklist of “Things to Do Before I Graduate.” Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College located in Tifton, Georgia, turned my dream of studying abroad into a reality. This past summer I had the experience of a lifetime as I studied abroad in Estelí, Nicaragua. This trip was led by the Interim Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences at ABAC, Troy Spicer. Mr. Spicer was previously a professor of mine in Rural Health at the school, and I knew that taking another Global Studies course about Sustainable Development would only further my knowledge of Rural America, and abroad. My intuition was correct, and by the time that I left Nicaragua I had gained a deeper understanding about sustainable development.
ERSLA lives by the following quote by Lao Tzu, “Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say ‘We have done this ourselves.”
Throughout my time in Nicaragua I found myself referring back to these words of wisdom by Tzu. I especially appreciated these words of wisdom when visiting the farming community of La Garnacha in Nicaragua. This community relied on each member of its community. They displayed teamwork in everything that they do on a daily basis. I am a firm believer in the fact that education is found outside of the four walls of a classroom, and while visiting La Garnacha I was able to put this philosophy into practice. While here I was able to hike in the mountains to see breathtaking views. I also was able to learn about the production of earthworms, see the talents of local artisans, and I was even able to put my cooking skills into practice as I made homemade tortillas for the first time ever. It was here at La Garnacha that I was able to buy organic coffee and other artisan products to bring back to North America as gifts. However, I feel as if knowledge is a gift that keeps on giving. The knowledge that I gained on this particular day in Nicaragua is a memory that I will cherish and carry with me forever.
As you can tell, I thoroughly benefited from all of my experiences in Nicaragua. I gained a new perspective on learning and I was able to learn about a new culture in a fun and exciting way. ERSLA is a wonderful non-profit organization and I commend them on their efforts in allowing students to study abroad.
Until Next Time Nicaragua,