A former patron here in Nicaragua repeats his mantra:
“You are the person who sees the poverty, or the one who sees the flowers.”
I wake up in the morning to sunlight that effortlessly penetrates the roofless hallway outside of my door. Throughout the night I am woken up periodically by fireworks, ‘bombas’, exploding as a result of a religious festival. I am told this could last up to a month.
This has yet to be proven wrong.
I enjoy a cold shower, knowing that once I walk outside I will be sweating in a matter of minutes, as a result of little to no activity, outside of existing.
Walking down the road, I pass buildings that stretch the length of the block, each composed of different colored homes and stores. Each night new ones are open, revealing something as common as a corner store, or as ghastly as a coffin shop.
In the distance, a beautiful forest-covered volcano can be seen. It is one of many, including one in which is active and can be seen, in the right place, to be shining its lava’s red glow to light the clouds above it. Down the road is the shore of a large lake, with several horses grazing nearby.
In the center of town is a busy tourist square, complete with souvenirs and horse-pulled chariots. A bright yellow cathedral begs for attention, while another in the distance confesses its historical significance through its worn stone walls.
Not one day passed before I was reassured of my decision to come. Once again in a foreign land, I am returned to the present.
I hear it again: “You are the person who sees the poverty, or the one who sees the flowers.”
Each night, I strip down and lay flat on my bed with my arms and legs stretched toward its corners like a little kid on their parent’s a king sized bed for the first time. The heat is so strong that each pass of the fan brings a small interval of solace I look forward to. There, I await the sound of the ‘bombas’ to yank me from my dreams. Ahead of me is a day of work, along with challenges in even the most trivial tasks, from greeting someone to doing laundry.
And I couldn’t be happier.
Did I mention the flowers here are beautiful?