I have lived abroad twice before, but I have always returned to Canada for Christmas. This year, with my internship ending in February, it didn’t really make sense to make the trip home to Canada for the holidays so I decided to spend Christmas in Nicaragua. I was extremely lucky that my little brother William decided to come and visit me so that we could spend the holidays together. It has been amazing to have him here with me and to get to show him the country that has been my home for the last 5 months. He also brought presents with him from home which was another major benefit.
I was lucky enough to get to do some travelling over the holidays, spending Christmas in Corn Islands, the beautiful Caribbean islands off the coast of Nicaragua. These islands are full of beautiful white beaches and delicious seafood. I also got to return to the island of Ometepe to bike and climb a waterfall as well as relax on the beach and do some boogie boarding in San Juan del Sur.
It has also been amazing to spend Christmas in Nicaragua to experience the local traditions and Nicas really do know how to celebrate Christmas. For the last month there have been fireworks practically every night, there are lights all over Managua and beautiful altars set up in the city center. The altars were set up for a holiday called La Purisima which is a celebration for the Virgin Mary which takes place on December 8th. This holiday is a lot like Halloween - kids will go door to door and if they sing a song about the Virgin Mary they get sweets.
In December MiCrédito also received a visit from MEDA’s Gender Program Manager Yasir Dildar who visited Nicaragua to facilitate gender training with MiCrédito staff. MiCrédito has been concentrating on gender for over a year now, providing training sessions for staff on a variety of gender-related topics. Until now, MiCrédito has focused on women’s empowerment and worked exclusively with its female employees. The training with Yasir was the first time that MiCrédito’s men participated in gender training.
I was pleasantly surprised at the openness and responsiveness of the male credit officers and administrative staff who participated in the training. We had some really good discussions about the roles of men and women in Nicaraguan society and many participants left the session motivated to apply this knowledge in their work and personal lives.
I am looking forward to my last month here in Nicaragua. I am hoping to get in some last-minute travel and finish up the projects which I have been working on during my time here.