Why am I an Outsider?
I am not about to kid myself into thinking I am not an outsider. Or, that in 5 or 10 years I won't be an outsider. But, understanding why is important.
If I lived in a black neighborhood in LA I would be dead. If I lived in a black neighborhood in Seattle I would be an outsider because of my skin color. In most US cities there is de facto segregation based on ethnic reasons. Here, however, I don't see that at all.
Maybe it is because there is no "white plague" moving in or maybe it is because the Nicaraguan population is more "pre-mixed" that in US cities but I see no discrimination because someone is white, brown, black or even English-speaking. While 85% of the people here are Roman Catholic I don't see religious repression.
Part of this may be due to the recent history of Esteli but I feel it is pretty much true throughout Nicararagua. Twenty years ago, US tax dollars were paying Nicaraguans to kill their fellow Nicaraguans in this region. I would have expected this to be create a strong anti-US sentiment here but I don't see that. Partly this may be due to the fact that even though it was US dollars, it was fellow Nicaraguans that were doing the shooting. In addition, people seem to understand the difference between actions of a government and actions of a people. Over half a century of a US-created dictatorship here helps with that understanding of government and people not being one in the same.
So, why am I an outsider? Because I have money. That is, I have a $100 dog and probably more important when my gas cylinder is empty I take $C125 out of my wallet and get a full one. Many people cook over a wood fire because they could not afford to fill a gas cylinder even if someone gave them an empty one and a stove.
I think an interesting experiment (any volunteers?) would be to come to a town in Nicaragua projecting yourself as having nothing. Maybe you would need to be "from Belize" or something the explain your English. Rent a room, find a job shoveling dirt or something and live poor. I expect that you would get treated just like any other poor Nicaraguan.
This takes me to my least favorite subject, theft. People here steal. The same was true in Costa Rica. Some people have told me it is Latin culture. I think it is just "different"--in the US it is ok for big corporations and governments to steal but individuals should not do that.
In any case, it is a fact of life. Initially I let all the kids into my house. The result is that some pens, two used batteries and other semi-trivial things have disappeared. A related issue is that things "break themselves". Se quebró. is a common expression which means "It broke itself". It is as if the coffee pot was too dumb to protect itself and that if you didn't want those batteries stolen then you should have locked them up.
The only positive thing I can say here is that violent crime is much lower here than in "civilized countries". So, your coffee pot may break itself, your batteries my walk off but you probably won't get raped or murdered in Esteli.