As night dawns on 21 tired indivduals and their dedicated leaders I, Larissa Birthelmer, the leader of this concluding day pulls the last energy she possesses to narate the day for their eager loved ones.
Let us begin with wake up.
As the sun rose over the ever changing horizon we awoke to the familiar and evermore irritating, “La Pressa, La Pressa, La Pressa!” ensuring, those of us still drowsy, that another day had surely begun. Eight marked the meeting time and as I watched my fellow travlers trip downstairs over their forgotten nightmares and deja-vu dreams, I smiled, a family had truly formed from this group of misfits. As we walked to breakfast, a trip that lasted a lifetime a week ago but now only a few seconds, we twittered like birds, annoying the occasional cat call, and rehashed yesterdays adventures. Breakfast was nothing new but as leader, neverbefore had a stared so intently at my wrist watch. With each noise my head shot up, had someone dropped something, that would make a mess, had someone hurt themselves, that would call for the first aid kit, had someone….i drove myself crazy for that hour until I realized, as people stood to leave, that I had barley touched my food and completely ignored friends around me. Lesson number 1: relax.
Next came the Global Buisness Seminar, and as I am a person of many differing opinions, I enjoyed the sacratic nature it was conducted with, as did my fellow GG’s (Global Glimpsers). We discussed the in’s and out’s of Free Trade, a subject yet to be confonted by the majority of us…a disturbing revalation of me…Yet, it was over quickly and we were off to our first activity for the day, our Nacatamales class. Similiar to the traditional Mexican Tamale yet slightly altered, the Nacatamale consists of paste (corn, potatoes, etc.), meat (pork or chicken), onions, peppers, potatoes, raisons, tomatoes, and rice; all folded together with banana leaves and steamed for four hours.
Despite the heat hanging in the air around us we laughed and made this declious Nicaraguan dish. For lunch we consumed premade Nacatamles, hot from the fire and bulging with both the contents of our lessons and the delicious aromas of Nicaraguas most common ingrediants. While some filled quickly, Javier, one of our GG Leaders, had the stomach to eat not one but two of these ginormous dishes as well as drink four glasses, that oddly resembled pepto bismo and tasted like a combination of that, corn, bubble gum and water. Not every memory rehashed reveals to be positive :)…
As we trudged back through the heat the noises of Nicaragua lulled us in an almost sleep like state, of course, at our arrival at the hostel the knowledge that we had an hour of free time was like a bucket of cold water on the group. Suddenly we sprang into action, running to get things done. While some called home or shopped others were content with sipping an ice cold white mocha at the pristine coffee shop down the street.
In the knick of time we returned and, as few of us had rested, the walk to the Cigar Factory resembled that from the Nacatamles Resteraunt. At our arrival spirits were high, cigars are a vital economic aspect of Nicaragua and interesting to those who have only ever experienced their elegancy in old ganster movies and their reality from warning lables posted largley on the majority of them. Our guide was, in my opinion, fairly typical for the trade but kind and very informed in the art of cigars. The entire group entered the fermentation room, and quickly 2/3 left. The smell of the cigars, unfortuntelly, dettered the majority throughout the tour but for those who stuck around it proved to be both interesting and complicated.
After our time at the factory we trudged, yet again (THE HEAT!!), to our English class where, as the majority laughed and overcame their fatigue with dedication to education, Monica, Whitney (A GG Leader) and myself whisked away to replenish the group with gatorades, a much needed refreshment.
The dinner that followed was a happy suprise, pizza. Alfrodito’s kindness has yet to have boundries. And as we returned to the hostel, there, passing the torch from myself to Rebecca, we thought back on the day, depsising the detestful heat but smiling as we thought of the unique Nacatamles and in depth cigar industry.
Forever will we, as a unit, remember this day, and those that have come before it and relish in both the positive and not so positive aspects of this experience. Afterall, we all know why we are here, and despite our homesick moments, I believe, we will look back at this expericne as one we will cherish forever…