Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its fifth year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

February 26, 2017

NICARAGUA - DAY 1: HORSEWRECK

... okay, so not as catchy as "you had me at hello," but, truthfully, on the ride up we did pass an accident in which a small economy car had smashed into a horse ... not good for the horse, not good for the car, not good for the horse's owner who might end up being fined ... 

... after spending the night in one of managua's fancier hotels (not only did they have soap and towels in the bathroom, they also gave me a comb and a toothbrush—for me, that's ritzy) we started this morning by enjoy a presentation given by lestor our "global village coordinator" ... we learned a lot about nicaragua (poor, but working at it) and "thrivent builds/habitat for humanity" (helping people to help themselves, and, in this trip, we get to help, too) ... we also learned all the "rules:" wear your hardhat, don't pet the stray dogs, smile even if the restroom is a bit more aromatic than you're used to, and, above all else, "have fun" ... since i'm not usually all that good at paying attention in class, i'm actually quite amazed at how much i learned from lestor
 and alejandra (the program's volunteer coordinator) about nicaragua's fascinating culture and history ...

... we boarded a custom coach for the three-hour ride up into the mountains ... a nice ride, way better'n the short bus i used to ride to school ...

... our first stop was the plaza de la revolution ...although the 6.2 earthquake of 1972 destroyed most of the center of the city of managua, by some odd twist of fate (or, as some seem to think, a bit of divine intervention) the catedral de santiago survived ... over 6,000 people died and 250,000 were left homeless ...

... lestor has been doing a fabulous job helping me to understand the complex and convoluted political history of modern nicaragua ... so odd, as if to be in america in 1800 listening to a young man talk about his childhood during "the revolutionary war" ...

... kari dressed up the old legislature building ...

... after checking in at our hotel in the town of esteli we enjoyed a nice lunch and learned a bit more about the week's schedule ... 

... after lunch we walked about the center of the town ... being sunday, most businesses were closed but we enjoyed simply taking in the flavor of the community ... diana found the cathedral to be both beautiful and inspirational ...

... many of the local people were sitting around in the shade, apparently just relaxing and enjoying the afternoon ... lestor had informed us that because of unbalanced diets obesity is a becoming a problem in nicaragua, but i'm just not sure if that's what this statue is about ... 

... the local market had much fresh produce, some of which i couldn't identify ...

... kevin, who actually knows a bit of spanish, and i, who doesn't, tried to figure out this sign ... i always thought that "el zorro" was a disney character—am i wrong ... ??? ...

... we found an excellent grocery store where i picked up some things i neglected to pack ("sensitive teeth toothpaste," i can't go more'n a couple days without it) ... austin and kevin, it seems, had remembered their toothpaste ...

... a nice supper, now is time to rest up for the work ...