On June 1 we headed out on our last full-day field trip. The original plan was to visit Volcán Masaya and explore the active volcano. However, soon after the students arrived in late April, the volcano shot out some fireballs and started some small fires. The volcano has remained close since then. So, we came up with an alternative plan. We started out the morning by visiting the small town of San Juan de Oriente about 30 minutes from Jinotepe. We went to Juan Paulino’s home and learned how he makes pottery. As Juan Paulino was talking, his son “threw” several vases on the wheel. As part of the process, the family takes a “vacation” to the beach to collect rocks to help in one step of making pottery. The clay comes from several locations in Nicaragua. We learned that he averages about 30 pieces a month and normally only fires up the kiln once a month, unless there is a large order. The whole process is done by hand by the whole family. After the pottery demonstration, we purchased several items and enjoyed a mid-morning mango snack.
Another 15 minutes down the road and we arrived at the Masaya artisans market where you can buy any Nicaraguan artisan product imaginable. Several students bought t-shirts, shoes, purses, magnets, hammocks, cutting boards, cards, etc. Two hours of shopping left us hungry and ready for an afternoon of swimming.
We drove to Laguna de Apoyo, a pristine lake in the crater of an inactive volcano. In an earlier lecture we had heard about what is being done to preserve the area and the lake. We enjoyed a meal of chicken and/or fish and then spent several hours relaxing in the lake. Some people attempted to swim across the crater and others jumped off the dock into the warm waters. We had learned our lesson on the East Coast about applying sunscreen, waiting, and then getting in the water so we all walked away without sunburns.
Before going back to Jinotepe, we stopped at Catarina for a view of Laguna de Apoyo, Granada, and Lago de Nicaragua. It was amazingly clear when we got there. We enjoyed the view, met someone that was born in Goshen (and not part of our group), and ran back to the bus as it started to rain.