Today we went to Granada for some charlas (and to play tourist for a little bit.) Our charlas were on resiliency and volunteer diversity.We were in the most picaresque location, right on the lake, sitting in the open air under a thatched-roof pavilion. Tonight, I told Adrian that a) resiliency and diversity were the only topics we could have sat through on such a gorgeous day in such a gorgeous spot, and b) I couldn’t have handled those topics anywhere other than where we were.
Things got heavy today, but it was a good day with a lot of self-reflection and reflection as a group. We talked about how our personal identities (including race, sexual orientation, religion, gender, etc) affect our experiences (both in Peace Corps and in general. I talked about how I hate it when people say “we’re all the same” and “I don’t see color” because, as well-meaning as those statements may be, they
- are completely false
- minimize, ignore, or erase the diverse experiences and struggles that we face.
I, a biracial woman, face different challenges than Adrian, an African-American man, or a white lesbian woman. There may be some overlap between our experiences, but we are affected differently by various aspects of our identity. I recognize that—because I am light skinned and have some “white” features—my experiences as a black person will be different (both in Nicaragua and the U.S.) than of someone with darker skin.
Anyway, by the end of it, people had shared a lot of very personal things, and we were all thankful to be together in a safe space where we could speak openly.
From Day One in the Peace Corps, I’ve connected with these people and talked about a lot of tough subjects (in our free time, too, not just in organized talks.) As aspiring Peace Corps volunteers, I think a lot of us came here with similar beliefs and values, but obviously we are all different people. I’ve talked about sexual orientation, rape culture, race, politics, islamophobia, gender roles, feminism, etc. We didn’t necessarily start out (or end up) on the exact same page on every issue, but everyone has been very open and eager to grow and learn from each other.
Anyway, it was kind of a heavy day with a lot of tears (none from me, though. I don’t think I’ve cried since…April?) After lunch, we wandered Granada for a couple hours and climbed some narrow stairs to the top of a church (nowhere near as intense as sprinting to the top of Notre Dame. How many stairs was that, Jaz? 478?) We also went to a chocolate shop and sampled chocolate rum.
Here are some pictures from my day.