“The world in which you are born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” Wade Davis
Today was a very busy day for the Glimpsers! After breakfast we started the day with a open and frank conversation about culture and stereotypes. What stereotypes do Americans have of Latin Culture? What stereotypes do people have of American Culture? How do we break down those stereotypes? And how can we think and act as global citizens?
After the seminar, we left the hostel and took a thirty-minute bus up to Jalacate to hike and spend the morning with Don Alberto, a warm, talented, and lovely local artist. But, before we arrived there, our Program Coordinators surprised us with a scenic outlook at Rancho Don Luis. A short walk around the back or the Ranch, was an overlook point where on a clear day one can see Lake Nicaragua and the Volcanos (three hours away by car). We stopped to take selfies and headed back further up the mountain.
Another ten minutes up the rocky road was the entrance to a hike to Don Alberto’s home. To get to his home, we wandered through the middle of a lush green cow and pig pasture, stopping to giggle at the pig snorts along the way. The scenery along this journey was breathtaking. Because rainy season has just started, the mountains were full with new sprouts of green plants. Everywhere the eye could see was untouched mountains except for the occasional cow or coffee plants.
After a twenty minute walk, we arrived at Don Alberto’s home in Jalacate. Don Alberto is a local rock carver and believes it is his privilege to carve parts of Nicaragua’s history into the rocks. There were snakes, elephants, biblical figures, and even some political references. Don Alberto warmly welcomed each student and was eager to show us around his work spaces, his organic coffee beans and processing tools, and his remarkable carvings. We were all very excited and humbled to hear his stories and poems.
After we returned from Jalacate and ate lunch, we walked about .5 mile to do a workshop working with Tuza. Tuza is the name for the green husk of the corn. We spent time with a local artist, Jose and his family learning how they take the husks, dry them in the sun, paint them various colors, then cut those up in specific shapes to make artwork out of. The workroom was upstairs in the Cultural Center and we were lucky enough to spend an hour creating our own tuza art cards.
From there, we walked straight to our baile (dance) class with Professora Tati. Wow, we had a blast learning many different types of traditional Nicaraguan dance from her. She was warm, friendly and clearly loved teaching dance. She brought with traditional faldas (skirts) for everyone try on and have a chance to practice dancing in. We were hot, sweaty, but laughing the entire time!
We had dinner and our nightly meeting to review the experiences from the day and then headed to bed, only to get ready for another exciting day here in Nicaragua!