So many ways to disagree
I was reading, well, skimming, http://www.nicaliving.com/node/20445 but realized little of it is about Nicaragua and most of it is about personal attitudes. I think there is a lot of good discussion there but I feel it better than I put my personal attitude here.
The thread is full of what appears to be different interpretations of Nicaragua. No surprise. If we sat down with my neighbor who has lived within 300 meters of my house for over 80 years and whose dad's house was less than 5 meters from my house, we will hear a very different story of Nicaragua than if we sat down with Daniel Ortega, Carlos Pellas or, well, any of a number of Nicaraguans who have lived under different conditions.
I have studied Nicaragua for 30 years and lived here for almost nine. I know a lot of things about Nicaragua but it is only a small sample of the picture. I can tell you something like "don't expect the Enitel customer service person to know what they are talking about" or "if the person in the bank says X, go back the following day and ask a different person the same question and you are likely to get a different answer" and be correct. What you do with that information is going to be what matters.
Some people will say "that's not right" and try to fix it. In general, they will become frustrated. Some will just accept it and go on with their life. Then there is the group that will try to make some sort of change. This post is for that group. The group that is willing to adjust their goals to fit Nicaragua and the frustration level they can deal with.
Here are some basic tips. They actually apply most anywhere but some people seem to think they should not apply in Nicaragua.
- If the word "fix" is in your idea, you are probably on the wrong track.
- For all so many reasons, short-term gain usually wins out over "a change for the better". Learn to work with it. (And if you think that only applies to Nicaragua, look at the Wall Street games in the US.)
- If you aren't here it is unlikely you have any clue what will and what won't work. This not only applies to individuals but to NGOs.
- All too often, this modified saying fits: "Give a hungry man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a hungry man to fish and you will have a hungry man who knows how to fish."
- Expect change to take generations, not months or years.
- 99% of the time, an example is better than a theory.
To take one discussion point from the other thread, let's talk about books. We can jabber about their availability, what would change if they were more available and such. We can come up with what we see as a fix and build a project around it. It might work. On the other hand, for a small personal investment we can make some books available to a few people and see what happens.
If your response is "that isn't what should have happened" you are probably on the wrong track. On the other hand, if you see what happened as a way for you to learn about Nicaragua, you have potential.