This Tuesday was the first Martes de Español for the Manna Nicaragua House. The rules of Martes de Español are simple: Spanish must be spoken all day – no exceptions. From the time we wake up in the morning, to the time were are in and preparing for programs, we must only speak Spanish. This also includes our personal downtime. If someone speaks English, they have to pay 1 cordoba to the house piggy bank (1.00 cordoba = about 0.04 US dollars).
Waking up on Tuesday morning was hysterical. For a while, the breakfast table was pretty silent. We all knew we needed to embrace the challenge and were just waiting for someone to break the silence. Slowly, we all began speak Spanish and the room quickly became filled with laughter. Let me give some context to this situation, all Program Directors (PDs) have a solid foundation of Spanish but only a few members of the house are fluent. So all of us communicating our daily schedules and intricate details of our programs in a foreign language quickly became a combination of Catch Phrase and charades. We tried our best! If we didn’t know how to specifically say something, we knew similar phrases - and if that failed, we knew how to act out the situation.
Despite the challenges of only communicating in Spanish, it forced us to immerse ourselves into the language. The more we practiced our Spanish, the easier speaking became. I have to admit, most of us were not able to communicate in Spanish for the entirety of day. It was mentally exhausting and bit-by-bit, English snuck back into our vocabulary. However, forcing ourselves to speak Spanish forced us to practice the language and work as a team. When one person was struggling, another person typically knew the context of the conversation and together they were able to effectively communicate the message across to others.
The other exciting part about this past Tuesday was Nicaragua played Jamaica in the FIFA World Cup Qualifying Game. This was the first sold out game in the history of Nicaraguan Soccer and the PDs were lucky enough to have tickets to the game. Unfortunately, Jamaica won in a last minute goal, but it still was an amazing experience being able to cheer on Nicaragua in this history making game! Sí Se Puede!