Friendly Strangers

One of my favorite parts about living here in Nicaragua is being surrounded by so much warmth and generosity. Just about every day I come across someone who surprises me with their kindness.

When I began my service with the Peace Corps about 10 months ago (wow, has it really been almost a year!?) I had heard that Nicaragua was the safest and friendliest country in all of Central America, but I had no idea the true nature of that statement until I was able to experience it first hand.

I’m writing this on my bus ride to Matagalpa after having had such a sweet exchange with an older Nicaraguan lady. We began chatting after paying the bus fare — she commented that my ticket from Estelí to Matagalpa was very expensive (we’re talking $1 here). I agreed that it was a bit pricey even though I had just been thinking about how cheap of a ride this is. From there she proceeded to share with me that she was traveling with her grandson from Wiwilí to visit some friends. She asked me where I’m currently living and we began to chat about my work here in Estelí with the schools and with entrepreneurs in the community. Of course the weather came up because when doesn’t it ever come up in conversations with Nicaraguans — they love to talk about the weather! We are in the midst of our summer season here where it’s a bit cooler in temperature and very windy. While I agreed that it’s been very cool I informed her that where I’m from in the U.S. it’s so cold that it snows! Many people here have never and will never experience snow. I can’t tell you how many times I have shown pictures of times we’ve had snow at home — the shock and amazement on their faces is priceless.

After about 10 minutes we arrived at her stop and she proceeded to de-board the bus, but not without turning back around and waving farewell, to which I responded, “Mucho gusto!” It was such a pleasure. These are the exchanges I live for. No wants, needs or agendas, just real, authentic kindness.

This woman is one of many friendly strangers I have come across during my journey here in Nicaragua. And I know that I will meet many more along the way. That is the beautiful thing about this experience — making unexpected connections with incredibly kind and humble people.

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