Yunie is my homestay mom and she is 22 years old. Every day she wakes up at 5:30 to make breakfast, wash some clothes and clean the house. She has to cook for all of the family (me, Elena, her husband, Miltito, Julio, Jocelin, and herself) and the meal is usually rice and beans eggs, fried plantains and either fruit juice or coffee. Then she takes care of her three-year old son for the rest of the day, makes lunch and later she cooks dinner. After almost two weeks of living in her house, I have grown fond of her and we have trust in each other. We joke around and tell each other our stories and anecdotes. It is extremely shocking to realize that this woman who is taking care of me, another volunteer and her entire family, is only six years older than I am. In reality, Elena, Yunie and I are more like sisters. The only difference is that Yunie has multiple responsibilities that we do not have and that we will most likely not have when we are 22 years old.
Yesterday we went to the beach to look at the sunset with our mothers. While some of the kids played soccer, I was standing ankle deep in the ocean with Yunie. The view was beautiful and diverse; surfers, kids playing, Nicaraguans and tourists walking on the beach. The air had a salty smell; there was a fresh breeze, a hot sun, and the sound of the waves, as well as kids giggling, and birds flying over the ocean.
Talking to Yunie, she asked me about my house, family and life in Guadalajara. “Everything is great,” I told her “There is nothing that I regret”. She just shrugged. Her expression made my curiosity take a hold of me. “Is there anything you regret Yunie?” Then she only said “SÃ³lo que no he disfrutado de la vida” (only that I have not enjoyed life). “Por quÃ©?” (Why) “Por que siempre he tenido muchas responsabilidades y cosas que hacer” (Because I’ve always had a lot of responsibilities and things to do).
I then asked her if she could change something about her life what would it be. “Pues tener mÃ¡s dinero como para”¦vivir con mÃ¡s comodidad.”(To have more money to live more comfortably). My first thought was what? Why? In my mind I could not find something that she was missing. In her house we have a kitchen with a stove, a sink to wash clothes, dishes and our teeth. We have a roof, beds, a bathroom, clothes to wear. She is not missing anything. “QuÃ© crees que te falta?”)What do you think you are missing)? “Hmm”¦ una lavadora, un sillÃ³n para la casa, tal vez una cocina mÃ¡s grande”¦” (A washing machine, a couch for the house, a maybe a bigger kitchen).
Wow. When she talked about needing more things, it sounded like nonsense to me because it seems like her family has everything that they need. However, when she mentioned how she would like to live more comfortably, I compared her house to mine. I had not done this before. Doing it, I realized there are many things that I have and she does not, almost everything at my house is missing in hers. Yet, when I am home I sometimes want more. Clothes, accessories, electronics, shoes, food. Here, I feel like I have exactly everything I need. As I thought about it I found myself slightly jealous of the inhabitants of Playa Gigante.
Back home people have fat wallets, but they rarely show an honest smile. In Playa Gigante it does not take much to make someone laugh. To be entertained between meals we play cards and talk, and life here never gets boring. There is a beach, a lot of kids and nature is stunning. Everyone knows each other, and they look out for one another. Life here is simple, and happiness is simple to reach. People at Playa Gigante may have thin wallets, but they have the widest smiles.