Today was jam-packed, but so much fun. We had a surprise visit from Fawziah, Eliza, and some board members–that made our day. Seeing Fawziah was a lovely taste from home, and her energy and enthusiasm, along with all of the special guests, was exciting.

We started off in the morning by visiting a jewelry workshop in the countryside. We were inspired by the business that this group of women started and unity was a common theme in all our cultural activities. We made jewelry out of beautiful seeds collected by children in the forests. We also had time to buy some necklaces and bracelets. Some of these will certainly be gifts, maybe even for some of you. After this we made special Nicaraguan tamales and also had the opportunity to eat them. Great activities–but there’s more!

After a short rest at the hostel, we walked to a nearby art gallery that made special black ceramics. The ladies running the shop and making the ceramics were the sixth generation of women doing the craft. Smooshed together under a canopy to avoid the pouring rain, we created miniature works of art that probably aren’t gallery-worthy, but certainly a lot of fun.

Finally, we worked off some of those tamales doing a dance class that included salsa and traditional folkloric dances native to Matagalpa.

We had so much fun, and all of us got out of our comfort zones and challenged ourselves. We felt a lot of gratitude today for art, food, dance and the manifestations of culture in everyday life. We had great discussions to end our evening, and were very happy to hear comments from some of our family and friends back at home.