After completing our first hike!

After completing our first hike!

Today was dedicated to culture!  We started the day bright and early at 6:30 with pancakes and gallo pinto at Alfredito’s.  Then, we got into the bus and headed into the mountains outside of Esteli, to the home of Alberto Gutierrez, a local sculptor.  Alberto lives alone in a small house in the mountains, where he carves his artwork into the rocks in the mountainside.  After meeting Alberto and seeing his home, we went on a hike to see his artwork.  It was amazing to see how he could carve beautiful pictures into the sides of the mountain.  We were also treated to incredible views of the green valley and Esteli in the distance.  To get back to the bus, we had a long, muddy hike, almost all uphill.  The entire group were champs!  Again, everyone showed so much support for each other and encouraged each other as we panted and sweated up the hill.

Back in Esteli, we had a much-needed lunch and then came home for an hour and a half of free time.  Everyone was looking forward to taking showers, washing theirs shoes, and going to the bathroom…only to find the water in the hostal was shut off!!!!!  The tragedy!! We made do though, playing games and napping to pass the time until the water was back on about an hour later.

Then, we headed to our first art class at Casa de Cultura!  We saw beautiful artwork made from corn husks, and even got to make our own corn husk cards.  After art class, where many of us bought some awesome art to bring home, we had some fun time at the market buying snacks and then at a coffee shop sipping on fancy lattes and smoothies.

After dinner and our nightly meeting and reflection we did some serious game playing and bonding!  Its clear that new friendships are being made and we’re starting to feel like a family!

Good night and we’ll write more tomorrow!