Glimpsers were up bright and early (well most of them), as today was Culture Day. After an early 7am breakfast, it was time for the Culture Seminar, which gave Glimpsers the opportunity to discuss how Latin American culture is portrayed back in the US, but also how US culture is represented worldwide. They also explored what parts of Nicaraguan culture they were expecting to see during the day, but none of them could have imagined what they would have been treated to on the first field trip at Jalacate. Located in the beautiful Natural Reserve of Tisey, Jalacate is the home of a famous local figure called Alberto Gutierrez. This gentleman of 74 years of age has dedicated the last 35 years to sculpting the mountainside where his family live.
The mountainside which is surrounded by attractive woodland, flowers and wildlife, is adorned with Alberto’s carvings that depict many aspects of Nicaraguan culture. There are also references to the wider world, which is surprising given his rather hermetic life. The Glimpsers had a challenging hike back up to the bus, with some coming face-to-face with a rather sociable vaca (cow). After the testing return hike, we enjoyed our take-away lunch in the bus. The bus was a scene of complete silence as the group tucked into their chicken, rice, salad and plantain chips (tajadas). An enjoyable bus journey descending back to Esteli ended at the hotel and it was time to rest before the day’s second activity. A re-invigorated GG team headed to the Casa de Cultura to get their hands busy and produce cards made from tusa. The use of tusa is something unique to Esteli, pioneered by Juan Carlos Moreno. The technique involves using dried corn leaves, dying them using various bright colors, cutting the leaves and producing pictures in a mosaic style. After a brief introduction to the history of tusa, the Glimspers were let loose to design their own cards of tusa. Various delightful cards were produced and Glimpsers left eith newfound artistic abilities.