A Nicaragua left for the elderly…

They say home is where the heart is. After my recent trip to my homeland of Nicaragua, I can say with certainty that my heart never even after fleeing more than 20 years ago.

Returning 3 years after my last visit, I was confronted with a new Nicaragua I didn’t want to acknowledge existed. But to understand the severity of a country left broken and empty-handed after a pandemic, you’ll have to know the country was already facing scarcity way before 2019. But you wouldn’t believe this if you stepped into any supermarket in the capital of Managua; finding the shelves top to bottom covered with food for purchase. What you may not realize is that these supermarkets are expensive and unaffordable for the common citizen who earns a total of $45 to $100 a month, and this will vary depending on the type of job they have.

I had been against traveling back and thought of returning until ‘the pandemic was over’… or so I thought. I kept thinking it was absurd to pay $65 for a covid-test at only Nicaraguan-approving facilities. Even more, knowing I had to pay $150 for a return test at the only facility where you can get tested in all of Nicaragua (MINSA). The country WILL REFUSE any at-home test brought from America and will take it away at the airport if detected. They will deny your exit out of the country if you don’t follow these instructions. Many have protested this at the airport without any luck for future change.

To this day, the country has yet to report how many citizens tested positive for covid-19, and it’s with the reason that the test is overpriced for citizens to afford. So how can a country promise to keep track? They certainly haven’t and won’t. After many tears and conversations with those who had to endure a pandemic in Nicaragua, they are certain too many citizens passed from the lack of care. Hospitalization was by chance or knowing of someone who worked at the hospitals that could provide a bed and the opportunity to be placed in an ICU.

Though things feel a lot more serene per the citizens, you can still feel a sense of hopelessness covering the country. Thousands of young Nicaraguans have fled the country aiming for the American dream or the opportunity at a better life in neighboring countries like Costa Rica, whereas of recently are providing shelter and residency to us Nicaraguans.

To return and not find people I grew up with was heartbreaking.

But can I blame them?

Didn’t I leave 20 years ago for the same reason?

The country is once again on the back of the elderly who have already lived under a dictator for more than half of their lives. Already veterans of two civil wars in Nicaragua.

What more can they give the country?

Many have had to say goodbye to their children knowing that being apart is giving them the gift of opportunity even if it means not seeing their kids in years to come.

But my people remain kind and resilient, keeping in prayer that one day our country will see the light or in their own words’ ripeness.

Their ask on my end is to spread awareness. And to encourage visitors to return to the beautiful Central American country that has been left to starve. Of course, it’s a sensitive topic amongst many Nicaraguans who have fled. They protest that tourism dollars will only further sponsor the cruel dictatorship but my question to you is… do we turn our backs on our people? And won’t that make us as cruel as the dictatorship?

For more information about traveling to Nicaragua visit this website.

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