Hello family and friends!
Today was our first full day in Esteli, and we do mean FULL! Everyone agrees that it feels like we have been here for a week minimum with all that we’ve been able to do! Today was Culture Day, so we started the day off with a seminar focusing on defining culture, sharing our experiences with culture, and comparing perceptions of Latin American culture with those of American culture.
To get our minds and bodies moving, we even had our own snowball fight… with predictions of Nicaraguan culture we would see in our day.
We then headed to the bus to take in a BEAUTIFUL view at Rancho Don Luis… and on the way, we had an EPIC singing battle that is to be continued.
Next, we headed to La Jalacate for a one-of-a-kind experience hiking to visit Don Alberto and then being led on a tour through his vast stone carvings into the hillside of his property. His carvings depict various aspects of the culture and history of Nicaragua, and you can read more about his story here: http://www.motmotmag.com/2014/04/hermit-carver-of-la-jalacate/
We were in awe of his art, his passion, and his dedication and feel very privileged that he took the time to share his work with us.
After a hearty lunch, we walked to Casa de Cultura for two workshops on some of the art forms in Esteli. The first workshop focused on using Tusa (dyed corn husks) to make beautiful pieces that we can’t wait to share with those back home!
Next, we were taught a variety of dances from the different regions of Nicaragua. There was much laughter to be had as we stumbled over learning new movements, and a wonderful time was had by all!
Tonight, at our nightly meeting, we handed things over to Jasmine, who will be our first student Lider del Dia! We’re all looking forward to the yoga session she will be leading us through on the roof/balcony in the morning, and are sure it will be much needed as the hike and dancing did quite a number on us!
After some time in our self-reflection groups, we ended our day with our first artist showcase, in which Mina shared one of her poems with us. She picked the poem after being inspired by her dinner conversation on feminism with her tablemates, Merica and Olivia Murillo. Our delegation seems to be filled with artists and a variety of skills, and we can’t wait to see all that will be shared!
All in all, it was a beautiful time of experiencing local culture in Esteli and sharing our own personal cultures as we get to know Esteli and each other.