In order to reflect on their time in their rural community immersions in Nicaragua, students share a poem about an individual in their communities that impacted their lives and taught them lessons they will never forget. Here are some of our students’ poems...
It’s risky to see people.
Take a look.
Clean that dust from your glasses,
And look again.
You can’t stop knowing.
That’s the price you pay,
That you can’t unsee.
The first time I saw you I was intimidated.
Your face was still as the heavy air.
Your voice a breeze.
And at first you intimidated me.
Dressed in a red blouse covered in white lace,
And I was intimidated.
But here is what I know.
Here is what I saw.
That your daughter gave up her bed for me.
A bed in a room with pictures
of a quiceñera,
And of you.
In a red blouse covered in lace.
That you left young to escape one man.
And now you work for another.
That I liked the art on your wall,
Color on a concrete wall.
That the next day you bought me jewelry,
Color on concrete skin.
That you braided my hair every morning.
You said it looked like gold.
But I swear, mamá, any gold you found was woven there by your fingers, soft as paintbrushes.
And that I know, the way I know that there are still sunsets on rainy days, that no more days will pass that you don’t pray for me.
That you were praying already before we met.
And when you spoke English
And when I left you cried.
And your face rippled.
Your voice cracked.
And I see you mamá.
And I will not unsee you.
Savannah Hadley, Seattle Pacific University
Humans aren’t the only ones
Who face a different reality.
When there isn’t enough
There is a multitude of hungry mouths waiting
Under the table.
Their eyes follow every hand movement
Hoping that it will be careless
And something will fall.
Among the dogs and chickens
Is a tiny black cat
Practically a bag of fur and bones,
Darting after every scrap,
Asking for more,
And then kicked aside when he is too loud.
I asked what his name was
But he doesn’t have one.
“meow,” or “negro,” maybe
But they don’t talk about him
Except to complain about the meows,
And don’t need to call him
Because they don’t feed him.
So why is he there?
I have no idea.
He is not used for comfort or love
And does not seem to have a job.
When he is not begging for food
He sits in the sun
Soaking in the warmth.
That, he doesn’t get from people.
He sat near my sister as she played on her phone,
Some game where she had to take care
Of a cat:
Play with it.
And I looked at the hungry, dirty, lonely kitten at her feet
And tried to understand.
Some things are easier to fix on a screen,
In a game,
Because the real world has problems we don’t want to face.
Stephanie Cooper, Trinity Western University
Tu mundo es silencio.
Contra cada mandado
Aceptas tu papel,
Como la menor.
Como la mujer de la cocina
Preparas cada comida
Como la ama de casa
Lavas y limpias todo
Como si fuera tu deber.
Y en cada situación
No respondes con enojo.
No respondes con actitud.
¿Porque haces todo esto?
¿Porque no rechazas tu papel?
Porque no conoces mi mundo.
No conoces otra vida
Afuera de la tuya.
Entonces cumples con tu papel.
Pero, lo haces con amor,
Con cariño, con paciencia, con respeto.
Como si fueran tus deberes cristianos.
Por eso, no “das comida” a tu familia.
No “lavas y limpias” tu casa.
Y todo esto con una sonrisa y con risas,
Con una fe fuerte en Dios.
Como la esposa del pastor, muestras tu fe,
En acción. En canción.
Simplemente en como manejas tu vida.
Pero todavía eres callada.
Aunque estás embarazada.
Aunque eres diabética.
Aunque tienes mucho que decir.
Porque no es tu papel hablar.
Y lo aceptas con humildad.
Porque puedes hablar sin palabras.
Joel Kostelyk, Dordt College
Framed by your dark, stern face,
Eyes that exceed such pain.
Hands so wrought and warn
To avoid all other’s scorn.
Strength for all to see
For weak you musn’t be.
Unable to write your very name,
Your daughter destined for the same.
The free will we celebrate
You never could appreciate.
Living in this slave state…
Of motherhood, wifehood, womanhood.
These words, these identities, these labels
Necessitate the imposition of societal chains.
Expecting you to tend, but not to mend, the tables.
Requiring you to disregard your brains.
Inadequate to search for knowledge that enables.
So what is it that remains?
Well, there is another side
That has a different tale.
Hidden under your iron veil.
A smile you could not hide
Caused by love, of family, of friends
Yet most importantly, of God.
You loved me with His love.
You looked at me without judgement.
You did not show me anger.
You cared for me while I was sick.
You served me while I was well.
You showed me the undeserved love of the Lord.
Garrett Mullett, Seattle Pacific University