Today we attempted to answer the question: what role does art play in preserving local customs and traditions? As the day transpired we met individuals that created new art forms, like Don Julio that fashions postcards from corn husks; and others that revitalized ancient art forms, like Don Alberto that chisels elaborate images into stone. Through our encounters with these men we learned that passion is the key driving force in everything that Nicaraguans do. Their dancing-passionate. Their art work-passionate. Everything down to how they remember history and tell their tales is underscored with a spirit of passion. The thing that surprised us the most is how humble these people are with their time and their talents. In the US we are not use to pride accompanying humility; This was truly refreshing. However, I am most proud of how the group handled nature and pulled together to help each other through the day. Admittedly, today was a physically demanding day. We hiked several miles up and down a mountainside and then danced traditional Nicaraguan dances to top it all off. One could feel the energy bounce from person to person after meeting Don Alberto. His spirit, poetry and outlook on life was an unseen driving force. Don Albert, the tiny man that recites poetry and chisels history into stone carved an impression into our hearts. He will forever be the great man of the mountain.
Although my time as leader of the day is coming it an end I look forward to my role as leadership coach. In this role I get to cultivate the leadership skills of young people. I was nervous as leader of the day and I think it only goes to show that being a leader is a constantly evolving art form; one as ever changing as the incredibly vibrant culture of Nicaragua.
Con Amor y Paz,