After exploring how culture shapes our lives, we visited the Myths and Legends Museum, housed in a prison previously used for torture. Important myths and stories from Nicaraguan history came to life with the tour guide. We learned what some traditional Nicaraguan celebrations and dances look like and how religion shapes culture here. One of the myths that we were amused by was El cadejo negro y blanco. Before electricity was available in Leon, two dogs, one white and one black roamed the streets at night. If you were ill-behaved, you were enchanted by el cadejo negro (black dog) and taken away. If you were righteous, el cadejo blanco (white dog) would protect you on your way home. No we know why we have a strict curfew for bedtime.
We then got a hands-on feel for a popular Semana Santa (Holy Week or week before Easter Sunday) custom of making sawdust rugs. Visiting the art workshop in Leon, we saw how arts education builds community and enlivens culture. By making a sawdust rug, we contributed a piece of our San Francisco culture and shared similarities.
Dying the Sawdust Video
Tomorrow, we begin our first day of English tutoring and are excited to explore Nicaragua’s educational system. More good things to come.