A Thanksgiving Community Game of Kickball

Photo & Words by Jazmine Dean

16 women of different origins including USA, Canada, France and Columbia all meet on one field to meet the girls of the local Nicaraguan culture in a game of kickball! Us foreigners rode over from our inclusive, fancy Eco-retreat in a big truck with long benches picking up a few of our competitors / teammates along the way. As we arrive, many of the town members are setting up to watch the event including kids, boyfriends, grandparents, and everyone in-between!

Okay, let's pick teams!"
"Gallo Pinto?"

Rice & beans? Turns out it was a fun lil saying meaning the mixing the foreigners and the locals for teams haha! Locals were chosen for captains, and then they choose where in this field we were all positioned; when and who kicked. The game takes off and all the differences disappear! Well... maybe except for the fact that they could kick the ball probably 4x farther than any of us gringas could!

Balls were flying, girls were sliding, and the spectators were growing! I'm playing barefoot, some locals are playing in flip-flops, and some done up in their best clothing; but still all were playing at 100%. We play a bunch of rounds until our trip leaders call off the last round to end the game. We close with a major dance party and share sodas with the girls. Endless high-fives paired with smiles go around until we pack up to leave.

The Eco-resort I participated in, hosts different company retreats each week, and is one of the main financial opportunities for a lot of the locals to get work. I found it interesting how it functions off of the amount of money we have to spare, which might not be that much to some of us... but it in turn, is all that they need to get by and the experience they share thru the retreat is a beautiful simplistic life that the majority of us lack back at home.

The connection between the locals and our girls seemed to be a shared authentic experience. Funny how these unplanned things happen non-stop at any given moment. When it got back down to business and we returned to the resort, everyone is talking and laughing, and the barrier is broken. Some of the local girls worked at the Eco-retreat that we were at, and in the following days, there was an unspoken vibe of sisterhood. It was something beyond language or nationality, that connected us all.... combined with just a bit of competitive fun at the kickball game! This was my first Thanksgiving away from home, and it definitely became the most meaningful.