When I was young, I was told that I could be anything. “The sky is the limit” my Mom would say. I knew this to be true. My teachers always said the same thing to my classmates and me. It was that culture of optimism and ambition that had reinforced all of our farfetched ideas and dreams.
Through working with the children of the Ometepe Bilingual School, I have realized that my world of optimism isn’t so far from theirs.
Earlier today, I asked Cristel, a girl in my class, the same question that sparked all of my ambition as a child. I asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
She seemed to understand me. Her reply was simple, though I guess that’s all my poor Spanish skills deserved. She said, with much enthusiastic energy, “A doctor”.
8 year old me and 8-year-old Cristel were not that different at all. In fact, that answer was very similar to what a young me would have said.
She may live in a different country than me, a country that is deemed the second poorest country in the Americas and she may not speak the same language as me…
But she thinks like me, and she dreams like me.
The culture of optimism and ambition is not lost on this remote island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. In actuality, I believe that this culture is alive and well.
To me, at the heart of all ambitions and dreams is a form of education. So, with the help of the Ometepe Bilingual School and its mission to provide educational opportunities to the children of a country which struggles to provide universal education, the dreams of these children are coming closer and closer to reality.
So, with the help of a trusty translator, I told Cristel to keep dreaming big, just like my mentors did all those years ago.