You know that phrase, “Time flies when you’re having fun?” Well that was definitely true today. Especially when you compare it to a previous day of plane rides, lay over, and bus rides. Well, we have arrived and the pace is already different.
We were up at 7am and had a delicious breakfast of Egg, Cheese, Rice, and Bread at 8. We had our first seminar on Culture and being a Savvy Traveler. This was a perfect topic given that Skarleth and Alexander (Our in-country coordinators) gave us a tour of the city. All of us had to come up with skits or songs to prepare for walking around. Aditi and and Victor did a great job parodying Taylor Swift as they came up with catchy instructions. Keilani and Sophia even came up with catchphrases for healthy choices. For example, if you’re going to eat something then the rule is “No seal, no deal”
We had some thoroughly seasoned chicken with rice, and tortillas for lunch. The tamarindo juice really topped it off. Before heading out on the city tour they called in someone to exchange our money. Students were advised to keep the amount being exchanged low so that they don’t spend all their money on day 2! $20 dollars got them 540 Cordobas, which was more than enough for the day’s activities. For some students this prompted a discussion about American currency and it’s lack of female leaders. Students were able to buy ice cream, personal items at a supermarket, and some of them pitched in to get a radio to listen to music in the background while playing card games. Thomas even bought a small guitar to show us his skills. Right before playing some Artic Monkeys and Nirvana he tuned his guitar by ear as he said “I don’t even need that tuning app on my phone, I got this!”
The tour really brought the city to life. Skarleth and Alexander gave such rich details about the revolutionaries that came out of Matagalpa. Leaders like Tomas Borge Martinez and Carlos Fonseca Amador. Statues of these men who fought bravely in outnumbered conditions were in the local park. Carlos Fonseca’s emphasized the importance of literacy and so of course that melted my English teacher heart. There was also a coffee bean museum and right as Daniel noted that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, we found that fun fact on one of the walls! (Daniel is from Ethiopia).
We saw one of the local Cathedrals that was painted in pure white. Apparently, the main crucifix inside of the church was once flesh colored and has gradually turned greenish overtime. Some of the locals have interpreted this as a sign of growth and progress.
Overall, it was a very informative and enlightening day. We had Beans and a fried quesadilla for dinner. Then we had our nightly meeting and discussed our first impressions. What was once a crowded and busy city, was now described as “vibrant” by Ryan. What a wonderful word to describe the electricity and buzz we had all become a part of! Ryan, by the way, taught everyone how to play Resistance, a game in which some people are spies and others have to guess who the spies are. It got intense! Some of them weren’t ready for each other’s poker faces.
Until tomorrow! Please enjoy some pictures provided by Keilani! I also threw a few in from my camera.