Friday, May 8 was a full day for the group in the Nicaraguan capital city of Managua.
We all fit comfortably in a small bus for the hour long ride. We first spent time in “Old Managua,” particularly Revolution Plaza, where we were led in a guided tour of the Palacio National de la Cultura/National Museum of Culture which is the former governmental palace during the Somoza era.
Close by is the “Old” National Cathedral which was damaged in the 1972 earthquake that devastated Managua. In that same area are tombs of famous leaders. We then boarded a boat that took us on an approximately 30 minute ride out on Lake Managua. This was a relaxing time with a steady breeze that gave ease to the intense heat of Managua. Just before lunch we made our way to Mennonite Central Committee-Nicaragua/Costa Rica offices where we learned about the many vital education and agricultural programs MCC is working on especially in Nicaragua. We made our way to a fine local restaurant to eat and continue conversation with MCC staff.
In the afternoon we traveled a short while to reach Batahola Norte Cultural Center which has been a bastion of hope to many. At least 3 Goshen College graduates have served as long time volunteers at this art, music and cultural center. We admired the many murals that filled the walls and have been protected and preserved throughout the many conflicts in Nicaragua. Before heading back south to Jinotepe, up we went to a high point in Managua, Tiscapa, that features a prominent steel statue of Sandino overlooking the city.
Students then were dropped off in Diriamba, Dolores, Jinotepe, the neighboring host cities to join their host families for the weekend.