Monthly Archives: June 2016

Palo de Mayo

The end of May is an exciting time in Nicaraguan culture. Every last weekend of May, this year May 27-29th is Maypole or Palo de Mayo. Palo de Mayo is a festival and an old Afrocaribbean dance (with sensual movements) that forms part of the culture of several communities in the current RAAS area (Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur). Bluefields is the most important scenario for this event.  Vibrant Caribbean rhythms and colorful processions, marks the start of the Palo de Mayo festival, a tribute to Mayaya African goddess of fertility. This celebration dates from the early nineteenth century, is an adaptation of the British tradition who celebrated the first day of May with a feast.

It is considered the highest expression of culture and tradition of the Caribbean of Nicaragua, the first of May starts with a presentation around a tree which is decorated with colored ribbons and around which dances are performed as welcome to the rainy season , production and new life. Throughout the month, there are festivals, dances, and presentations. Then on the weekend, each neighborhood dresses up and dances in the street on the absolute last day of May is Tululu. This year, I reached out to other Peace Corps volunteers who live in the area for a connect because I wanted to dance in the parade. I was given an official handmade outfit and a few days prior learned the traditional dance. It was amazing. We walked around the entire city and danced in the streets for about 3 hours. It was fun and exciting to be with people who look like me.

 

10 Accomplishments For Your 20s

I am in my mid 20’s and following a very non-traditional career path since I’m in the Peace Corps and living in Nicaragua. Watching my friend’s move on and build careers through distant social media has shown me a few things. Which is why I am writing this. Somehow, some way, we have been pressured to believe we have to have our entire life together by 21. I just want to encourage everyone struggling with debt, still living with their parents, unable to go to grad school and doesn’t have a spouse or children: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU.
I don’t know where we get this from but I felt it too. I have felt at one time or another that I was not enough. This feeling that I haven’t accomplished enough. I still have debt. I haven’t attended grad school and when I am home, I live with my parents. I am in my twenties and although I’ve accomplished way more than the average 20-year-old, I’m saying you’re normal if you haven’t accomplished anything at all. I am not saying don’t have aspirations. You need to have dreams. But you are not somehow less than for not accomplishing what others have in their 40s. Here is what you need to accomplish in your twenties.

1. Grow up.

We think we’re grown in college but after that, the real adulting begins. You need to mature and accept your fate. Yes, the time has come. That means paying all fees and tickets you receive. Unless you’re unemployed, it’s not ok to ask your parents for money all the time. Handle your business. No more late night parties and out of control drinking. Get to work on time. Dress appropriately and act like you want your job.  Be mindful of what you post on social media and for once take your parents advice.

2. Know and accept your responsibilities.

It’s your responsibility to know what is in your checking and savings account. It’s your responsibility to check weekly and not overdraft. It is your responsibility to prioritize the phone bill over the weekly unnecessary splurges (i.e., Starbucks, fast food, etc.). It’s your responsibility to prioritize and start thinking about other things like not related to drama.

3. Contribute.

If you live with your parents, wash some dishes, cook dinner every now and then. If you live with roommates, make an effort to get to know them. If you are good friends, talk about ways to help each other reach your dreams. Make a pact to collectively reduce debt or spend less for the month.

4. Make an effort.

 

Set small goals and strive to accomplish them. Build your resume. If you can’t find a job, volunteer somewhere for experience in your industry. Don’t just sit bitterly on the couch. Go out and visit the places you’re applying to, ask what specific skills they’re looking for. Introduce yourself and let them know you’re applying online. Show up to the interview in actual professional attire.

5. Ask for help.

 

Don’t beg but humble yourself enough to sit under someone else for wisdom. Take advantage of what the adults in your life have to offer. Whether it’s taking a job you don’t necessarily want or interning, ask for help. If you’re really behind on a bill, don’t be ashamed to ask for a small loan.

6. Love yourself.

 

Don’t be bitter towards all those being lovey-dovey pictures on social media. Understand that there is more to everybody’s relationship than what meets social media’s eye. Your special someone is out there waiting for you to become a person ready for a relationship. Instead of being jealous, build on yourself. Are you someone worth loving? Until you are, don’t worry about everybody else’s relationship. They might not be together in a year, but you will still have yourself in a year.

7. Social media is not life.

 

Do you post your burnt dinners, failed exams or boring days of work on social media? No. Neither does everyone else. Social media is everyone’s highlight reels. Don’t compare your down to someone’s publicised high. We’re all just trying to make a way for ourselves and have a better tomorrow. Focus on yourself and you’ll be amazed how much happier you’ll be.

8. Build.

 

Build your portfolio. Build your skill set and your network. It’s not always what you know. It’s also who you know. Go to meetups. Attend local events in your community. Ask your friends for suggestions, just get our of your comfort zone.

9. Make mistakes.

 

Travel. Splurge but remember to save. Learn a new language. Get lost and free yourself to make mistakes. It’s never a loss if it’s a lesson. Failure is life’s way of saying, maybe another time. “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden

10. Connect.

 

Make friends you want for a lifetime. Take time to love your family. They will not always be here and figure out what you really want from life. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t stress about your life in 10 years.

Don’t worry about what they say. Just accomplish these 10 things and you’ll do your 20s right.

Extended Hand to Any Rape Victim

To the woman who woke up and realized she had to be strong, I want you to know you are not alone. I cannot imagine how it felt to wake up and know something had been done to you but not knowing just quite the extent of the damage done. I can, however, with clear accuracy imagine how it feels to be raped and then misunderstood. I know what it’s like to be so spiritually broken because you cannot understand how physically you are still standing. I understand violation and I understand the monster that is rape culture. I just want to tell you I am so sorry this happened to you. I am so sorry that in this day and age, men are still being held at a lower standard than women. I am so sorry that you had to be belittled to numerical facts such as your weight, age and how much you drank. I am sorry that those things are even relevant to clearly judge what violation of a human being is. I am so sorry that you had to find out via the internet and that your life has been publicized for something so ugly but please know:

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Please know that we are here. We – the women silenced by the very same heinous act. The women who acknowledge what it feels to be broken and what it means to survive. The women who carry the shame every day and have to constantly remind themselves that it was not their fault. Please hear me, no matter what they say (they being the ignorant, misogynistic, unfeeling, uncaring, soulless trolls and inhumane beings on the internet): it is not, was not and will never be your fault. It wasn’t about what you wore. It wasn’t about what you drank. It was about this human being who took advantage of an unconscious woman and tried to get away with it. That is and will always be defined as rape.

That guy, he doesn’t even deserved to be spoken to by a goddess like you and yet you were strong enough to not only speak your truth but make sure the public clearly heard it too. I am proud of you and I stand with you. You stood strong for every girl, like me, who didn’t report, didn’t take a test or tell anyone outside of my family for fear of shame, stigma, and not being believed. You ended your letter by saying, “To girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought every day for you. So never stop fighting. I believe you.” Thank you. You are a testament to how much work still needs to be done. Your letter was beautiful and your heart is courageously golden. I am in awe of you and I hope you never have to feel such pain again. I pray every day forward from now is filled with pure joy. You deserve that. You deserve to dance. You deserve to be carefree and you deserve justice. I hope you get that too. They have labeled you a rape victim and I see how truly victorious you have become.

For anyone else reading this, please sign this petition. 6 months is a great way to continue telling women their bodies are worth nothing. If you know the strong young lady I am addressing, will you please pass on my letter and give her a hug. Don’t stare and don’t you dare ask her “so you really can’t remember?” No one should ever have to feel public humiliation bearing shame for something someone did to them. If you don’t understand consent, watch this video.

Photosource: http://www.goabroad.com/blog/2014/08/26/20-quotes-20-inspiring-women-around-world/