GUIDELINES FOR GUESTS IN NICARAGUA

Travel in a spirit of humility with a genuine desire to learn more about the people of Nicaragua.

Realize that people have time concepts and thought patterns different from your own. This does not make you inferior or superior, only different. They are our sisters and brothers.          

Be sensitive to the feelings of other people, preventing what might be offensive behavior on your part. This applies especially to photography. Try not to take photos of people without their permission.

Discover the enrichment of experiencing a different way of life, and stretching yourself to try new foods and activities.  Even if you feel you should not eat something for health reasons, there are ways to refrain without complaining or making it a big deal.

Cultivate habits of listening and observing, rather than merely hearing and seeing. Ask questions respectfully. Instead of the Western practice of knowing all the answers, talk less and listen more.  Observe each setting—for example, on a bus, if the people around us are not talking to each other, we will also be quiet.

Acquaint yourself with local customs. People will be happy to help you and will notice your sensitivity.

When shopping, do not bargain so hard you deprive the seller of a fair price for their merchandise.

Remember that you are only one of thousands of visitors. Do not expect special privileges (hot water, wi-fi, American style food).

Do not make promises to people you meet unless you are certain you can carry through on them.  This is especially true with promises of sending pictures or letters.

Spend time reflecting on your daily experiences to deepen your understanding.  If you keep a journal, write not only what you saw, but what it meant to you, how you felt, what you learned, or what needs further study.

—Adapted from a “Code of Ethics for Travelers” drawn up by the Christian Conference of Asia.