The following post was written by Nicaragua Program Director Mike Fisher, who returned home to England after seven months with Manna Project in Nicaragua. Looking back on the experience, Mike shares some of the things he will remember most about Nicaragua.
Back in England
I'm back in England after seven and a half months working for Manna Project in Nicaragua.
I’ve not written a blog whilst out here, and I could say so much about the work I did, the friends I made from the U.S., the local families who welcomed me as one of their own, etc. ... but I’ll stick to Nicaragua in general for now. Since my Buzzfeed-addled mind can now only think in lists, here’s a sample of things I’ll associate with a country I’ve grown to know and love:
- Pouting to gesticulate everything like you’re Jagger in his heyday;
- inexplicably deserted beaches (for now);
- crimson sunsets;
- mad cheap travel;
- more mosquitoes;
- more dogs;
- birds of paradise;
- swarms of gorgeous butterflies;
- smoking volcanoes on the horizon;
- and churning lava you can’t drag your gaze from.
- Berserk street parties;
- walking through six back gardens to get to your friend’s house;
- a total openness of home and heart;
- beer wars: Toña vs Victoria Clásica;
- no one likes Victoria Frost;
- postal addresses which are literally just directions from landmarks so you end up having “Sr. Flores, three km south of the Western Fire Station and two blocks to the East, the second house to the left of the little blue church, Nicaragua”;
- gallo pinto and every other combination of rice and beans imaginable;
- and turning all the fans in the world on to your face full blast in order to make it through the week.
- The bus experience: essentially a riot in motion as locals ply their goods over the music whilst the money collector screams the name of the destination out the window over and over again – "RIVAS RIVAS RIVAS RIVAS RIVAS GASEOSA AGUA RIVAS RIVAS RIVAS!";
- a complete inability to organize into two teams for a football game;
- and humbling graciousness and helpfulness embedded so deeply into the national culture it’s almost ubiquitous.
- A weariness of a war-battered past and a determination for peaceful progress;
- the Daniel Ortega phenomenon;
- driving through red lights because it’s getting a bit dark outside;
- horse-drawn carts going past whilst kids play marbles and hopscotch in the street;
- that one ten-year-old boy who tears through Cedro Galán on a white stallion like a Boss.
- Two cent bananas and two dollar apples;
- everywhere a ceaseless reggaeton and bachata party;
- night skies coated in the clearest stars;
- the radio station which ingeniously pirates Magic FM from the UK and throws over their own jingles;
- getting a one dollar haircut every fortnight;
- suave chele,
- todo tuani,
- fist bumping fifty kids before you get into the classroom... the list could go on.
Nicaragua, and the people I met there, I’ll be paying you a visit again as soon as I can.