Today we did a lot! It was culture day! First we had a seminar about culture and examined U.S. culture and Latin American culture and saw the pro’s and con’s of each. As United States citizens we were very hard on ourselves about our culture and mainly felt as if our culture wasn’t as colorful and beautiful as the Nicaraguan culture (which is true) yet, we were hard on ourselves.

Next, we headed on the school bus and went to a small town called San Ramon. We went to a women’s collective of recycled paper and saw how they made the paper and we were able to make some paper ourselves! They were very kind and empowered women and I loved how they took charge of their own lives and became independent. I also enjoyed hearing that at first the four women only made 20 pieces of paper a day but now they make about 400 a day. We all ended up buying beautiful notebooks, cards, bookmarks, and other small papers with flowers all over them that all the women made that were really amazing.

After we explored the women’s collective, we walked to Doña Adalila’s house where they showed us how to make the traditional food Nacatamales and they are selling the food that we prepared today. This was one of my favorite parts of the day because it was so beautiful outside and we were surrounded with beautiful plants and trees and we got to hit a mango tree with a stick to get mangoes off so we could eat them. We also saw a lot of chickens which I liked. After we prepared the food they made us Nacatamales and it was super tasty, and we drank the best coffee ever!

Next we went to the El Polmo community where they make jewelry and they are another women’s collective. They collaborate with programs that work with disabled children and gave them help with their homework and gave them books to help them study. They also taught them to make jewelry. This was really fun because they taught us how they collected the seeds for the necklaces and earrings and bracelets, sometimes they had to climb trees in order to get certain beads.

After we ate dinner, we walked to Matagalpa’s Casa de la Cultura where the Nicaraguan teens showed and taught us some of their traditional dances and we (kind of) taught them how we dance. We all danced together and we got to see how the Nicaraguan teens interact and we got to talk and be friendly with them. This was a lot of fun and I enjoyed seeing them dance and getting to know some of the teens.

A great theme for today was how we all were very energetic and we always work together and are kind. Tomorrow its education day and we will explore a school! It will be very exciting!