Today was a fun filled day of getting our first tastes, sights and smells of Matagalpa. Our theme throughout the day was history, and the question we were pondering was, “is it necessary to use violence to change the world?” We used this question to help direct our thinking and navigate the first impressions of the culture and history of Matagalpa and Nicaragua. Our day started off early at 6 AM with many groans and grumblings (mainly from the boys). That being said, we were able to bounce back with a great breakfast at our incredible go-to restaurant called Abya Yala. Our amazing servers and cooks are fast becoming our best friends. Many of us are still adjusting to the new food, but Abya Yala has been great in making it a gradual process for us. We then headed back to the hostel and completed a seminar on the history of Nicaragua. After, went on walking tours of Matagalpa. It was incredible to walk around and get a first hand experience of the streets and happenings inside the city. There is so much going on, but life is at an easy-going pace that is very comfortable. We were able to visit churches, parks, and also explore some shopping areas we may go back to during our free time. (Below is a picture of the students walking through the streets).
We then returned to the hostel and ate lunch. After lunch we were able exchange money to Nicaraguan money, which is called the cordoba. We then packed day packs and went to the center of town for a guest speaker. Our guest speaker was a woman that was an actual Sandinista that fought in the revolution against the dictatorship that had control of Nicaragua in the late 70s and 80s. She was truly inspirational and explained how at the age of 16 she was training and learning to fight guerrilla warfare in the mountains against their extremely oppressive government. (Below is a picture of the group listening to our guest speaker).
After, we hopped on a bus and drove up to the top of a lookout on one of the mountains that overlooks Matagalpa. We played a great game of “show me what you got” with students showing off their fantastic dance moves. We then were able to enjoy the incredible views that the scenery had to offer. We then returned to the hostel and prepared for dinner. (Below is a picture of the view from the lookout).
Upon arrival to the restaurant, we were incredibly surprised by another Global Glimpse group in Matagalpa. They had decorated the entire restaurant with Independence Day red, white and blue streamers and balloons. The restaurant also cooked us up some fantastic cheeseburgers and home made French fries. It was a great surprise meal to celebrate our country’s independence day. We then returned to the hostel and finished up the day with our nightly meeting where we reflected on the day and thought about how our perspectives have changed and impacted the way we think about things.
A quick word on our hostel, it is called Casa Luna Flor and couldn’t be more perfect for our group. There are several large rooms that the kids are staying in (6 or so to a room). The rooms are very spacious with great bunk beds and fans to make our sleep extremely restful. The location is also fantastic as it is not that close to the main road so it is very quiet at night, but still very close to have great access to all that Matagalpa has to offer. The staff here is amazing and so accommodating to our needs. After returning from the mountain view, a beautiful rainbow appeared over our hostel to welcome our arrival to Nicaragua (the picture is a view from the atrium garden that is in the middle of our hostel).
Here is our group!!! Until tomorrow….