I wrote this journal entry back on Friday, September 6, 2013, but it is fitting for this blog as well:
On Labor Day this year I chose to accept a position in the Peace Corp as a Small Business Development Volunteer. However, that does not start until March 2014. Today I am on my way to Nashville (connecting from Dulles through Cleveland) for Lubben’s bachelor party. And it is an odd coincidence that I find myself writing my first entry in a travel journal on a flight to Nashville, TN.
Earlier, on my way to Dulles, I began reading Blood of Brothers, which was recommended by the Peace Corp as a book to introduce me to the history of Nicaragua and where it finds itself today. Prior to reading the book I knew about the Walker Expedition. Basically, using a mercenary force, a 19th century American named William Walker briefly became the President of Nicaragua. The coincidence is that Walker, ironically, was originally from Nashville, TN.
The United States, starting with Walker, has a long and shameful history of intervention, regime change, and meddling in Nicaraguan affairs. Reading about Walker in Blood of Brothers, I immediately became keenly aware of the historical connotation of an American in Nicaragua and the paternalistic overtones. However, the Peace Corp is in Nicaragua because they have asked for our help. As long as I remain aware of the realities of American-Nicaraguan relations and remain respectful I should be fine.