Hello friends, family, and supporters!
Today was our first full day in Nicaragua – and it was a full day complete with a scenic bus ride, three heaping helpings of delicious gallo pinto, a beauty queen, a dance performance, and a lot of insightful discussion about the meaning of culture in our globalized world.
We arrived in Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua, last night to find a hot and humid world full of bright lights and loud noises. We spent our first evening at a hotel in Managua where, even though everyone was exhausted, many of our Glimpsers stayed awake late into the night giggling and joking with their new friends. This morning our adventure continued with a drive past the National Baseball Stadium (Nicaragua’s most popular sport) and an early breakfast featuring our first taste of everyone’s newest favorite food: gallo pinto, a simple and delicious rice and bean dish.
After breakfast we boarded our bus and took a 3 hour journey to Jinotega, winding along mountain roads looking out over vast, green valleys and mountain peaks. Our hostel in Jinotega is a family-run “home-hotel” featuring 3 generations of Nicaraguans and lots of home-cooked meals. On the lower floor is a large common space surrounded by open air gardens and filled with big, creaky rocking chairs. This is where we spent much of our afternoon as we began an in-depth discussion on culture and globalization and met with the Queen of Jinotega, a 16 year old beauty queen and cultural expert who is the “face of all Jinotega.” She even taught some of our Glimpsers how to dance!
After our interlude with the beauty queen, we saw a local dance group perform traditional and folkloric dances, teaching us a few moves in between each performance. At one point we all joined the dancers on the stage to learn the steps of the Mestizaje.
Our long day wrapped up with our nightly meeting where we all worked together to answer our question of the day, “Should indigenous communities adapt to a globalized society or is it important for them to maintain their separate culture?” I think, overall, we realized that our discussion raised more questions than it answered and that we’d have to return to it throughout our stay.