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June 7, 2011

Estelí

Our first stop in Estelí was Funarte, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization built around the idea of giving young children a chance to express themselves through art while learning how to work together to create murals. Children have free weekly painting workshops and work in groups to design and paint murals throughout the city. The group learned about the history and operations of Funarte from both the current director and a former art student who now works for the organization. As we drove through the city, we saw the work of Funarte in the beautiful, brightly colored murals found on almost…

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June 4, 2011

Stay tuned…

Just a quick note to say that we’re in the northern regions of Matagalpa and Estelí this weekend, visiting a coffee farm, an arts NGO, a paper-making cooperative, the grave of Ben Linder, and a museum dedicated to the heroes and martyrs of the revolution, among other places. We’ll be back in touch soon after our return to Carazo. Stay tuned also for photos from last Wednesday’s dance lesson, which proved to be as exhilarating for us as it was entertaining for the students and staff of the university where we meet each afternoon. Everyone was a good sport about…

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June 3, 2011

May 30 is Mother’s Day in Nicaragua, and a special guest helped us celebrate this with our host mothers: Nicaraguan singer-songwriter Moisés Gadea. Gadea has toured internationally, but he prefers to perform for small intimate gatherings, which worked out very well for us. He and his percussionist Camilo performed at our SST house for an exclusive audience of students, host mothers and several other special guests. Simply put, it was marvelous.

June 3, 2011

Managua Day Trip

Last Friday we returned to capital city Managua for the day, where we spent the first few days after the group arrived almost a month ago. (How did the month of May pass so quickly, we wonder?) We started off with a visit to Mercado Huembes, a multi-block indoor/outdoor market that includes everything from butcher shops and bakeries to furniture stores, beauty salons, boutiques, and handcrafted items. Local artisans selling their wares there use a variety of natural materials for popular souvenir items, including armadillos, snakes, seeds and cow horns.

May 26, 2011

Moravian Church and a Miskito Village by Sarah Sunday took us to the Moravian Church in Pearl Lagoon, where we worshiped with a lot of singing and rather long sermon in Creole about honoring one’s family and being obedient to one’s parents. Our group sang two hymns for the church members: “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”  The church seemed to enjoy it and Dalena was pleased with us, so that all turned out well despite some initial reservations.

May 26, 2011

Johnny and Dancing by Brian Saturday was an eventful day in Pearl Lagoon. We began the day with a lecture from Johnny Hodgson about autonomy and the East Coast. Personally, I was amazed at the depth of his experience and insight. We were hearing from a man who had spoken to the U.S. Congress when he was only twenty years old and then went on to help write the autonomy law for the east coast of Nicaragua. Hodgson gave us a condensed version of the history of the East coast that was filled with knowledge and research. Every so often,…

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May 26, 2011

Friday on the East Coast by Kaleb After a long journey to Pearl Lagoon on Friday we were all ready to relax. We were going to spend the day at a private island in the Pearl Keys. We woke up early and boarded two pangas (speed boats) to travel to the keys. The waves were a little rough, and all of the bouncing around eventually broke a seat in one of the pangas. We arrived a little bruised but all in one piece.

May 26, 2011

Co-leaders’ introduction by Lisa & Jen From last Thursday through this Monday we took an extended field trip to the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, on the opposite side of the country from where we are spending most of the term. The eastern autonomous regions of Nicaragua comprise over 50% of the country’s land mass but only 10% of the population. That population, however, is more culturally diverse than the Pacific side of the country, consisting of five major ethnic groups: Miskito, Sumu, Rama, Garifuna and Creole. The history of this part of the country is quite different from that of…

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May 17, 2011

Day to Day Life

As we head into our second full week with the students, most are starting to settle into a daily routine.  A typical day begins with breakfast with the family between 7 and 8 and then they are off to school by either walking or taking a micro bus, which is basically a Mitsubishi van rigged to hold around 15 people…and sometimes more J  After gathering for a bit of a check in at the school, the students then divide into their Spanish classes and work with their teachers from 9 till 11:45.  We were very happy to once again have…

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May 13, 2011

First Reunión

Midway through our first week of classes and lectures in Jinotepe, we had our first reunión, which means “meeting.” We also like the literal translation of the word, reunion: a time when we come together and get reacquainted with each other and with ourselves. This will be a weekly event at the unit house, during which we’ll have guided discussion, getting-to-know-you exercises, group processing of events and issues, and devotionals/worship.

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