Living in Nicaragua has taught me many things, one being all the luxuries I didn’t know I had. Odds are you didn’t know you had them either .
1. The Luxury of Privacy
I bet you never considered your personal space a luxury. Ride a bus in Nicaragua one time and you will see it is indeed a luxury not everyone has. They have
to stuff as many people as possible onto the bus. It is their livelihood and the patrons, understanding the concept, willingly accept not being able to sit and standing so close you could taste their sweat. I am sure once in a while at a friend’s home you may have thought not to spend so much time in the bathroom, lest they thought you were going “number 2.” But what about in your own home? Not having the luxury of privacy means the entire house knows you have diarrhea because they can hear it through the non-padded wall. It also means you have to go to an in town hotel to conceive a child, because padded doors cost money. It also means you, your husband, and two children live in one big room with separate beds and curtains to separate your “rooms” because you can’t afford actual separate bedrooms. Privacy is a luxury.2. The Luxury of Convenience
It’s 3 am, you used the bathroom only to realize, you are out of toilet paper. What do you do? If you wanted, you’d go to the 24 hour Walmart, or CVS down the road. Right? Wrong. That’s not an option here. If you are so lucky to live in a city, your access stops when they close their doors, usually around 7 or 8 pm. The convenience of phone service almost everywhere you go or internet in your house, the knowledge of knowing where to go to buy things are all luxuries not given here. Some days I have a craving for a specific type of bread, I could go to my usual Pulperia and that week they didn’t bake that type of bread. I wouldn’t know where else to look. Or the confidence that you could leave in your car, whenever you wanted. Here, you are a slave to bus schedules not written in stone. Waiting and adhering to sometimes, ridiculous taxi fares. Or not going out past a certain time because buses stop at night. How will you get home? Convenience is a luxury.
3. The Luxury of Guarantees
In America, we know what we will get. We know we can return things we don’t like or enjoy. We embrace the notion if you work hard, you’ll get a job. We are guaranteed tons of avenues to get a job. There is a guarantee of Middle Class. Here, that is not so. You only hear of work by mouth. You cannot return food if you didn’t enjoy it, for free. You cannot believe hard work pays off, because everyone here works hard and everyone (or the majority of people they see) is poor. There is no middle class. You are either rich or poor. Guarantees are luxuries. You don’t even think about hot water, you merely turn it on. Here, there might not be running water in the morning. The electricity could go out all day. Power outages and water shortages are guaranteed, not the other way around.
4. The Luxury of Ignorance/True Knowledge
what I mean by that is, here I was taught how to start a fire oven. Here, people make actual wood furniture. They know how to make clay ceramics and how to actually milk a cow. As an American, I know nothing about that. I have no idea the process or how hard it may or not be. (I am supposed to learn next week!) America puts almost all those things into a factory or automatic line process. To that same notion, in America, I could Google and find the answer to anything. Here, Nicaraguans, suggest as a Black woman I am not an American because they don’t see black people on TV or American shows. In a community where everyone knows everybody’s business and know for a fact it’s true because their mother, sister, or father confirmed it, it’s hard to validate what is actually true. I’m not sure which is the luxury; ignorance or true knowledge.
5. The Luxury to Choose
Do you want the white beans and rice or the white beans and rice? Gallo pinto for breakfast or dinner, is about as grand a choice to make in Nicaragua. Anywhere else, you can have whatever you want. LITERALLY. Unless you live in a major city AND have money to blow that is not the case. Some rural families are unintentionally vegetarians, because they can’t afford meat. A varied range of vegetables is unheard of. Here, they eat by the seasons (what could actually be produced from the ground) and live by their means. Which means a small meal three times a day with no seconds. It means not giving your children a cell phone because they are going to school. It means having an engineering degree but working as a vendor in the Market, because nothing was available and your family needs the paycheck. The ability to choose what you want and when is a luxury.