Meet Gaspar - the "Nicaraguan Ray Donovan" and one of my best friends.
One of the most memorable and positive experiences of my life was the year I lived in a local barrio in the sleepy seaside town of San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua. There, I met Gaspar, who was sort of like the patron saint of Barrio Chino – or, China Town.
Gaspar grew up right there in Barrio Chino in the wake of the revolution and ensuing civil war in Nicaragua. With no father and a mother forced to cross the border into neighboring Costa Rica to take any work she could, he was forced to become self sufficient at a young age.
Soon, Gaspar began fighting in the streets, first with a lot of older kids and then even adults. His reputation as the toughest kid in the barrio and San Juan del Sur grew, but so did his aspirations for a better life.
Only a middle school student, Gaspar climbed the wall and broke into his own school at night.
He began teaching himself one word per day, underlining it when he’d mastered it, and then, ten words and soon, forty per day. In short order, he was conversational in English in a time and place where few were.
Despite his wild, hard drinking, knuckle bruising antics as a teenager and young adult, Gaspar simultaneously put himself through business school and then law school, becoming an attorney.
His new role as high-end "problem solver" for foreigners, the rich, and politically connected have earned him the nickname, "The Nicaraguan Ray Donovan."
These days, Gaspar is a family man, with a beautiful wife, Rebeca, a seven-year-old son, Gasparcito, and a newborn daughter who was less than a week old at the time of this recording, Luz (light).
Nothing much else has changed – he still lives in San Juan del Sur where he sells real estate, develops land, and has his sights on eventually becoming mayor, serving the people who both nurtured and sharpened him as a youth.
I started this humble Who in the World podcast to share the life stories of the remarkable, interesting, and downright crazy people I met around the world, and Gaspar is a prime example.
In fact, his life story and these conversations bring to mind the famous quote by Mark Twain who said, “Travel is “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
Enjoy this podcast and some next-level real life shit with the one and only Gaspar.