This week I (Cassie) will begin a semester long course, Cross Cultural Exploration, through Dordt College’s Study Abroad Program in Nicaragua. I am looking forward to working with students from my alma mater. I am also excited to facilitate conversations about themes such as the role of culture in society, our identities and privilege and building our intercultural skills as we develop as global citizens, which are all such interesting and important topics. I have been working on the syllabus for the last two months, spending many long days on it, but yesterday it went to the print shop and I will not be able to make any more tweaks or changes (Kevin is excited, but I wonder if there is more I could do). I will give you an update mid-semester with how things are going, but for now I wanted to leave you with a poem by Julio Cortázar that I included in the syllabus. Enjoy!
Notice to Travelers
If everything is heart and easy-going and faces shine with noonday light,
if, in a forest of arms, children are playing, and life has captured every street,
You aren’t in Asunción or Buenos Aires, you haven’t arrived at the wrong airport,
your journey’s end is not called Santiago, its name is not Montevideo.
The wind of freedom was your pilot and the people’s compass marked your North;
how many extended hands await you, how many women, how many children and men
Finally building the future together, finally transfigured into themselves,
while the long night of infamy is lost in the neglect of forgetfulness.
You saw it from the air; this is Managua, erect among ruins, beautiful in its wasteland,
poor, like the arms it fought with, rich, like the blood of its children.
You see, traveler, this is your open door; the whole country is an enormous house.
No, you didn’t mistake the airport: come right in; you’re in Nicaragua.