Most Nicaraguans get by on less than a dollar a day. Fifty percent of the population lives below the poverty line, one of the highest numbers in the Western Hemisphere.
The political situation is as corrupt as ever. Convicted ex-President Arnoldo Alemán, who is serving a twenty-year sentence at his private ranch, continues to lord over the Constitutional Liberal Party. Daniel Ortega, who invoked congressional immunity from prosecution when his stepdaughter accused him of sexually abusing her, continues to lead the Sandinistas.
My journey was like a grainy 35mm film from a bygone era
Yet as my trip came to an end, I found myself wishing I would have come home sooner. I had neglected my roots for far too long. I envied my cousins because they had something I was missing in Miami: a profound understanding of and love for Nicaragua's culture and traditions.
Since my return, part of me wants to retire there, die there to leave behind forever the grind of Miami. I have found myself fantasizing about selling my townhouse and using the money to buy an oceanside hacienda in San Juan del Sur and open an English-language school. Sure, it sounds like wishful dreaming. But that's what happens when you visit a magical place like home.
After nearly three decades of being ambivalent about my birthplace, I am more than proud to repeat a line familiar to all Nicas: Soy nicaragüense por la gracia de dios.