My Perception of local communities vs. The Reality
Coming into this experience, I had a picture in my head of a typical rural community. While some of my thoughts were confirmed—subsistence farming, simple eating, mainly isolated living—many were not. I would like to use this blog post to reveal the lack of communication that I found most surprising in the three villages I have spent significant time in. In Mano de Leon, the community leader had just switched positions, so maybe that was a contributing factor to the poor communication I saw. Neighbors did not have each other’s numbers, weekly community meetings were not established. Most shockingly was that when the school teacher took an unexpected 2 week holiday, no one knew who to turn to for information.
One of the most key community events seemed to be the futbol game on Sundays. Everyone from the community would come out and watch the team battle out it out against the neighboring town. It was very fun to play in and after less than ten minutes I was completely lacking oxygen—especially at such a high altitude. As I watched the game from the sidelines I had a number of great conversations with community members. Surprisingly, it seemed as if the playing futbol served as an ice-breaker because many people came and chatted that were previously shy. It was enjoyable to see how futbol is a common denominator and can create global friendships.