Today straight up at 8am I was off to Tipitapa, which is about half an hour´s drive from Managua. We went to visit a rehab center staffed by the Ministry of Health with technical assistance from the field office here. On the way there I was impressed that the infrastructure was so good - yes, there´s poverty here but I really don´t think it´s as bad (relatively speaking) as in Africa. Or perhaps I´m just so much more inured to life in a poor country. Personally I don´t think an international organization should work in a country where McDonald´s is present; in this case Nicaragua wouldn´t qualify.
We visited with moms, grandmas, and sisters and the disabled kids they accompanied in the playroom. Although resources were seriously lacking, the playroom was large and fairly well-equipped with toys and some physical therapy equipment. The kids had a wide variety of conditions, but they looked alert and were definitely active. The supervising doctor said that they would like to install air-conditioning and more decoration and educational toys.
How influential is the US?
* I withdrew USD from an ATM, and dollars are widely accepted
* baseball is more popular than soccer
* there is a branch of Curves here
Then back to the office where I met with various colleagues. Tomorrow: Estelí, then crossing the border to Honduras and the capitol city of Tegucigalpa.
On April 1st, 2008 12:54 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
I'm totally with you about the poverty (or lack thereof) in some parts of Central America. I've been to Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica. It's so weird seeing NGOs I know in the latter two countries. I often found myself thinking that they probably have the capacity to do this stuff themselves (though they probably would need some of the money). Relativity I guess. ah
I wonder if there are any studies on this, given that McD´s is expensive in developing countries compared to local incomes. You´re right that in the US it´s not high class at all. In Morocco for example McD´s was the cool place to hang out, and in the Philippines it was very prestigious to work in an American fast food restaurant because of the training, the uniform, the customer service mentality, etc. - all positive attributes of American corporate life! I was surprised how in Lyon McD´s was always packed, and the majority of people were French.
I lived in Mexico City for three years, and the disparity there is crazy. People can be so filthy rich even by international standards, and you walk two blocks down and are right around the corner from people who shine shoes for a living.