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Political unrest puts Global Glimpse trips to rest

Nick Abraham and Mackenzie Clarke

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The annual Global Glimpse trips to Nicaragua have been rerouted to different countries because of growing political and social unrest in the country.

After Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega announced higher taxes and cuts to social security, massive protests ensued. These protests quickly turned violent, with government retaliation, resulting in more than 50 deaths. The current political situation has escalated to a scale not seen in the country since the civil war in the 1980s and 1990s.

“It was really awful, and Global Glimpse pulled the plug on it so that nobody got hurt,” said Physical Education teacher and Global Glimpse Coordinator Stephanie Weden. “It was a really hard decision to do, but everybody agreed that this is not a good time to go.”

Global Glimpse is a program that takes over 2,000 students on trips to various Latin American countries to assist in community projects like farming and English tutoring, with 22 Sequoia students participating. It has been running for over 10 years.

“They are really dedicated to meeting with the people and finding out what they want, and asking ‘what do you need, how can we help’ instead of going in with a vision of what they think the people need,” junior Ben Redlawsk said.

Because of the cancellations, most students have been rerouted onto trips to Ecuador or the Dominican Republic.

The organization is in contact with enough hostels and hotels to get all of the rerouted students a place to stay near the communities they’ll be serving, but despite the ease of rerouting the trip from a practical standpoint, students that were originally going to Nicaragua have already taken courses in their Global Glimpse meetings to learn about the country.

“We had done all of our classes and training before the change. It’s detrimental because, during this whole process, I learned pretty much solely about Nicaragua. I don’t really know a lot about what I’m going to be going in to, which is going to be a challenge,” Redlawsk said.

The trip remains an opportunity to experience hands-on learning and understanding of international cultures. Along the 16-day journey, participants create a community action project to immerse themselves in teamwork, critical thinking, organization and empathy and make a tangible impact on the community where they live and learn.

“The experiential education one gains from traveling abroad not just to developing nations, but also developed nations is invaluable because it changes your perspective on your own backyard.” Weden said. “Once [the students] saw someone who just didn’t have clean water, it seemed like their issues with their personal problems diminished.”

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Political unrest puts Global Glimpse trips to rest