Good Evening! To use the vernacular of the students the operative word was “Amazing!”
Words of the day: tarjeta-card, taller- workshop, hoja- sheet of ie paper
8:00 to 8:45 Breakfast
Buffet Esteli- glimpsers have made a positive turn in being able to embrace the rice and beans staple cuisine. The spot is an excellent place to start the day refreshed.
9:00 to 10:05 Academic Seminar Culture- the topic and structure was designed to give a look within themselves and the culture around them especially in Esteli. A comparison of how they view Nicaraguan culture and posit how young Nicaraguans would view ours. Also, tackling the tough questions: What is a danger of trying to define a culture? , Have I ever been demeaned or demeaned based on someone’s or your Culture. Rich and thoughtful discussion that took the glimpsers to new heights of awareness and introspection.
10:10 to 14:20-Field Trip to Jalacate with tour and history by Mr. Alberto Gutierrez.
We set out on a bus ride to Jalacate which is in the outskirts of Estelí in the mountains. After about 20 minutes we took a turn off the main road onto a winding one which led up the Jalacate. Parts of the road were paved yet most of it was a mix of dirt and rocks. The uneven portions made for nice roller coaster type experience. The mood of the glimpsers was upbeat and positive as the engaged in their trip games.
Many times we would see construction taking place on the road. This consisted roughly of a 6ft – 8ft by 11ft to road width rectangular section of the road being replaced with concrete. As the road was narrow this forced us to travel on the shoulder which was hastily done to be an access way. The adventure continued as we eventually came on construction site where there was a pile of gravel which was to be mixed with the concrete mix in our shoulder route. We went as instructed but bottomed out. The back wheels turned but know traction. Well no problem for a group of budding leaders. Together they redistributed their weight on the bus to the back right rear tire. Voila! We got free.
The journey continued on with amazing vistas overlooking the countryside which was not flat but angled as a result of the small hills and valleys and sloping terrain. We did have to make a pit stop for nature’s call. The latrine was not in the cabin nor attached to it. It was stand alone about 5ft by 7ft. Enough room for a toilet and shower with water fed from a tank outside. This far surpassed the standards of vintage US outhouses. We continued on after hanging up from nature. We were now being greeted by a light sprinkle of rain to moisten the path and release the fragrances of the surrounding area and fauna.
Just a few miles more we reached our entry point from the road for our walk to Jalacate. Our driver parked on the hill just a few inches off the main road. Now there was curb in order to curb the tires but rocks were utilized behind the rear tires to prevent the bus from being a runaway. We disembarked onto a very narrow strip of earth that the less sure-footed would have gotten a quicker trip to the bottom where we had begun. Yet, as we cleared the bus and looked and I mean truly looked we were accosted by waves of green. There were green mountains in the foreground. A fence was boarding the property from the road but its length and shape seemed to blind into the surroundings and infinity. The only access permissible was the gate.
We carefully made our way down the uneven rock and rocks and more rocks drive way. We made it pass the first gate to begin our next descent past the relaxing bovine with some eating vegetation. The glimpsers were, also having to be mindful of some of the fresh gifts which were byproducts of that vegetation consumption as well as the uneven rocks and ruts in the road. Though there were some slips and falls the group persevered and were greatly rewarded.
We came upon a more slightly level outlook, which revealed a valley below, and overlapping mountains in the distance. One of the mountains appeared to be a dormant volcano but actually had low clouds obscuring its peak. It was a spectacular display of nature’s brush using the dance and movement of light, shadow, colors and clouds upon a willing canvas, which was met with exasperation and wonder from the glimpsers and leaders. The view was a truly magnificent fluctuating piece of artwork.
We continued on through another gate this journey is taking us further down which after a few moments we arrive at Jalacate. Mr. Gutierrez greets us as we arrive though we are in the woods of the mountain there is little room in the area for all of us to fit. We divide the group with one staying down and the other going with Mr. Gutierrez. Those that remain complete some of their work involving answering questions from the previous day which they posed. While waiting we were met by one of the farm hands as well as Mr. Gutierrez’s sister. They both spoke of the adulation and pride of having had their first female president. However, Ms. Gutierrez spoke of how it was felt the FSLN did more and was more trusted.
The area we were in was really crowded so she ushered us on to an area farther up towards where we would begin our tour. While waiting patiently and completing their work and once done engage in a few rounds of 2 truths and a 1 lie our time came.
The other group was done and we were moving in position to begin the tour. Mr. Gutierrez though an average height was with a small frame. His white hair and beard would make one think Saint Nick had retired or this was his summer home away from the North Pole. He immediately went into telling us about what we were seeing from the surrounding fauna which also boasted the Sacuanjoche, the national flower of Nicaragua.
But that was nature’s – his contributions were next to come. He showed rocks that were on the forest floor with carvings as well as a few which were resting on the slopes of the forest. He went on to take us on the path that led upwards for about 70 feet with stairs made out of earth and a 3’ diameter trunk for each step. One would almost think it were a vertical climb but the reward was amazing. He first started with 3 foot pineapple tree with the lone budding miniature pineapple at the top of the tree. After this it was the carvings with gallery starting with animals such as a lion, geckos (we even saw to live ones fighting), and elephants. An elephant carving was 20 feet above us on a rock that was jutting out of the forest mountainside. This gallery stretched for half about half the length of an US football field. It transitioned from animals to recognition of countries, we were represented by and eagle. He even had a carving memorializing the Twin Towers, which was done in 2002. He depicted the Nicaraguan revolution and some of its heroes. He gave homage the religion of the land Catholicism. He was interspersing nature and history in this gallery. He spoke quickly and with a purpose. His voiced laced with humility and pride. He was so thankful to have us there to show his gift to his country and all who would witness it. He even recited a poem and sang his country’s national anthem, which he learned when he was seven. He continues to carve and even showed us the area for some upcoming carvings.
Now the paths we took to get to his gallery is less than 2 feet wide. It goes up and down and a railing has been built in as the route increases. The gallery is carved out of the rock faces which are jutting out of the mountainside. However, high or deep Mr. Gutierrez decides to go depends on rock he is presented with. This is to your right. To your left is the valley which I spoke of earlier. Both sides together are wonders which could seduce even the Sirens of Greek Mythology. And this is Mr. Gutierrez’s work area, a humble man of 80+ years. He started doing this when he was 42 years old.
Before our departure some had to relieve themselves before the trek back. We asked and he obliged. Part of the payment was to sign his guest book. It was a spiral tablet with so many names that had been written by previous visitors. We saw his home, a humble wooden dwelling 10ft by 7ft. His latrine also wooden is not attached to the home. It is a wooden building that you have to step up into that has a 7” by 7” by 13” white pyramid like rock in the center of the room. There is a hole in the rock that leads to the collection area underneath. The dimensions of the raised structure are about 4ft by 5ft by 4.5ft. It is raised to the waste container may be easily removed when filled. Though the structure was a bit daunting and eye opening to those needing to use it. Necessity steeled their resolve.
It was now time to begin our trek back. We said our goodbyes and stumbled over ourselves thanking Mr. Gutierrez. We began the trip back up, by this time the rain had stopped which did make the journey less arduous, much surer footing was possible. You can probably imagine going up had a different set of challenges none of which was falling. Yet, as members were making it to the top it was heartwarming to see those already finished cheering for those not yet done. High fives, positive words and smile of jubilation were the reward for making it to the top.
We got back on the bus and set out on our return journey. There was now place to turn around so we had to continue on the road and come down on the other side of the mountain. Some of the glimpsers use the drive back as an opportunity to sleep. The road conditions made this very difficult to they made the best of it in their own ways. We made it out of the mountain and back to the main road.
14:35 to 15:00 Lunch Buffet Estelí
15:00 to 16:45 Tusa Workshop(taller)
We were supposed to start at 15:00 but the walk was going to take about 15 minutes under dry conditions. Well it was time for the evening rains and it was not like the sprinkles from the mountain. Adding an extra five minutes to the trip. We arrived late and relatively dry thanks to our umbrellas, ponchos and raincoats.(Note: ranking raingear 1) poncho- oversized and sturdy can cover up backpack(s), 2) Umbrella-easy to package can cover more than one person, though if bent becomes inoperable 3) Raincoat-oversized and sturdy but can get very hot when worn, this would increase fluid intake to remain hydrated)
We made our way upstairs. We were led to two art rooms one of which contained two tables which were to be the work stations for our delegation. On the wall were beautiful brightly colored tiled framed portraits. Some depicting individuals, animals, and scenes from nature.
What we were to be doing was creating gift cards (tarjetas). The method is called Tusa which is indigenous to Estelí. We found out that other cities can have there very on art type as well. This method had dried corn husks which had also been dyed with vibrant and bright colors.
Materials: corn husks-light green, red, gold, light blue, yellow, purple, lavender, white folded 6” by 5”, colored 3” by 5” card, scissors, retractable razor knife, clear glue, and ones imagination. Glimpsers were to create a design on the colored card then glue pieces or strips of corn husks to complete the design then glue the finished product to the folded card. There were some amazing productions. All were engaged and supportive.
While at the community center another Global Glimpse group showed up downstairs to teach English. Some of those downstairs were from the same school as those in our delegation. Also, one member of the group downstairs was a family member of one of ours. This was the perfect time for a mini reunion and fun.
The family member of our glimpser came up and while his brother was concealed walked around and spoke as if he was his brother. None were the wiser but those in on the prank.
But, the looks of confusion and surprise were priceless when they both appeared together. I must say that they were some of the most similar twins I have encountered.
Yes, all glimpsers did finish their project. We thanked to art team and set out again for Buffet Estelí.
16:45 to 17:20 Dinner Buffet Estelí
Yes, I know we just ate. But the schedule must be adhered to as closely as possible. We wanted to make good impression, as we were really late for lunch. I think this is a good time to mention that some progress has been made in cutting down food being left on plates and students stacking plates in order to make it easier for limited staff to bus the tables.
Now you might think the group would be tired, you would be so off the mark. Once the food kicked in again for this next round they were ready to go.
17:20 to 18:05 Coyote Run
Not as bad as it seems. Coyote is the name of moneychangers. He set up shop at various places and there are only a few that one can go to. They generally give better rates than banks. They had waited patiently for 3 days and our Coyote missed original time in the morning as we had already left. Good experience for some. Some were not able to exchange as their bills had slight tears: PLEASE BRING GOOD BILLS FOR EXCHANGE.
18:05 to 18:25 Ice Cream – ¡Eskimo!
Okay props to Bryan and Mel, the royalties of kewlness, for this one. Nice reward from the previous day which could not be actualized because of scheduling issues.
18:25 to 21:40 Meetings and Self- Reflection.
What it says.
Okay! That was just a Tuesday. Our Glimpsers did a wonderful job of rolling with what came up. The meetings content were evidenced with amazing growth and understanding. More voices are being heard daily. We are moving ever closer to action phase of the Global Glimpse experience. Please, keeping coming back to find out what happens next. One of the quotes of the Day: “Do you like brie?” – Kelly R.
From all us Global Glimpsers