What Happened When My Granddaughter & I Went To Nicaragua

Granddaughter

Intergenerational Connections Rather Than Walls – Leveraging Privilege

By James A. Lomastro Ph.D.

Recently we have witnessed a great deal of bluster about walling out our neighbors to the south.  While some seek to wall them off, others seek to connect with our neighbors to the south.

Last summer Angela (granddaughter) and I went with a group of high school student from Frontier Regional School to Granada, Nicaragua to assist in the building of a learning center and connect with the people there.

granddaughter

Image from Frontier Goes to Nicaragua

The group invited Angela and she in turn asked me. The trip provided a fortuitous opportunity to visit a country that I have wanted to visit since the eighties. It was from a little constructive guilt that I wanted to travel to the country. I was mindful of the destruction of the during the 80s and the role of the American government.

As we look back, there are paths not taken, I look to address them. While initially a fortuitous trip, it came to have a greater purpose to affirm both linkages and connections the people of Nicaragua and make our community and us better.

It is at times out of the mouth of children that we gain insight. It is here that I look to Angela (granddaughter) to give perspective on the trip and how it affected both us individually and our relationship. She blogged during the journey that: “I never thought that having air conditioning was a privilege. Or that I was lucky my parents’ salary was over three dollars a day. Back in the states we take things that are “normal” for granted, and this trip has helped me to see how truly lucky I am to be born in the place I was. On the other hand, I’ve seen things that I wish we could carry back home. For instance, I observed two kids kicking a soda bottle around having more fun than I thought was humanly possible.

When we hear of countries like this, we immediately pity the inhabitants and wish we could completely turn their lives around. Instead, we should empower the people and learn how to improve their weaknesses, but also incorporate their strengths. As I begin to wrap up my stay in this beautiful country, I will continue to try and attempt to see how my privileges have “changed” my life compared to a native inhabitant of Nicaragua.”

It is gratifying and encouraging that two generations come to the same understanding about the impact of privilege and how it works. It is a message for those of us who are privileged. We both realized that this effort has been one not just about checking privilege but the leveraging privilege.

We did not go to hand out but to hand up and walk hand in hand.  It is not a message that carries well in certain segments of society as the 2015 presidential campaigns have demonstrated.  However, unless we deal with privilege, we will find ourselves at odds with many developing countries and the result will be low-intensity conflict draining our country of its energy and resources. It is up to those among us who aspire to be “grand” to provide the resources and experience support our grandchildren’s passion and purpose.

Feature image from blogspotFrontier Goes to Nicaragua

To learn more about educational travel to Nicaragua contact:

Amped for Education
32 Warren Ave.
Whitman, MA 02382  413-364-5300  info@ampedforeducation.org

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