Field Work Friday: Nicaragua


This week we learned about life in the country of Nicaragua.  I thought that our guest had visited this country on one of his many mission trips, but I was wrong – he actually lived there as a child!  The stories he told were fascinating.



Our guest prepared in-depth slide presentations about a recent trip that he took back to this country.  After establishing its location in Central America, he began to show us the landscape from the region of San Jorge.


My friend grew up on the shores of the largest lake in Nicaragua.  It is 100 miles long and 50 miles wide and has a large island near the shore on one side.  The most fascinating aspect of the island is that there are two volcanoes on it – and one is still active!  With gorgeous pictures, my friend described the beauty of seeing it erupt at night as a child, and then counting the seconds until the subsequent earthquake began.  He said that it was so commonplace that they no longer even thought about it.


My Little Man’s favorite part of the lake – besides the volcanoes – was learning that it has very dangerous sharks in it.  About 50 years ago, a president sold them to Asian countries for meat and reduced the population drastically, so they are no longer a threat to humans – but they can still be found within the lake.



Did you know that bananas grow UP?


Me, neither.



This was the breakfast served in a Nicaraguan hotel.  The pyramid-shaped object is gallo pinto, or ‘speckled rooster,’ a dish made of rice and beans.  On the right is a piece of cheese, and the objects above and below the rice are sausages.  The other plate features fresh fruits like watermelon, canteloupe, papaya, and white pineapple.  He had fruit juice to drink at this meal, and he said that the gallo pinto is a very popular dish.



When the multimedia presentation was over, my friend broke out his treasures.  This is the skin of a boa constrictor.  I would not have wanted to meet this guy!



The kids all loved touching it, though.



This is a wooden catch-the-ball-in-the-cup game.  It requires much practice and patience.  If you flip the cup part upside down, it becomes more challenging:  then you must get the ball to balance on the tip of the handle.



This piece of pottery is at least 500 years old.  It was found  by an old friend, who did his best to glue the pieces back together.  The painting both on the inside and outside of the bowl was exquisite.



I’m sure pottery is still created in Nicaragua, but they make many other things, too.  This bowl was made from a very large gourd.  Here my friend is demonstrating how it is cut in half with a machete and then dried for use.



If you look closely, you can see the designs carefully drawn into the drying gourd.



Smaller gourds are decorated for other uses.  This tiny one was hollowed out for use as a storage jar or cup.  A loose lid was made from another gourd, and a stand was cut out from still another so that it would remain upright.  The outside was then carved and stained with some sort of black material to make the carvings easier to see.


Our friend’s descriptions of the food, the landscape, the rugged terrain was breathtaking.  I found myself wanting to walk the shores of the lake and climb at least one of the volcanoes.


What about you?  Would you like to visit some exotic place?

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