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Nicaragua 2009
(page 4 of 4)

Posada La Sonada, one of 22 homes in the Miraflor coffee cooperative offering lodging. We stayed here for three days, high in the mountains where Dona Carina served up the best meals despite having no refrigerator.

This was the cooking area. They killed three chickens while we were there, to feed us and other guests. We especially enjoyed a visiting team from Cornell who were involved in a number of interesting projects.

Caleb at age 18 and a few days. Some local musicians came to Posada La Sonada. It was memorable to hear them sing "Commandante Che Guevara" in the wood cabin in the fog while the fire warmed us.

Caleb and Luke climbd way up this strangler fig, which forms a vertical tube around the now-decayed and long gone tree it killed.

Some of the other benefits of Miraflor: a treehouse, a horse, and time for contemplation.

Our family hit the road for a while after the school project ended. We mostly traveled by public buses, which were very cheap, extremely punctual, and often crowded (can you say 90 people in a school bus going up a rocky road? or 29 people in a 12-passenger van?).

We spent several days at Escuela Espanol Mariposa, near Las Pueblas Blancas. We heartily endorse it! Besides joining a Spanish lesson and going to the market with the staff, we got to ride horses to the summit of Volcan Masaya and watch a family of Turquoise-browed Motmots (the national bird, known as the Guardabarranco) tend to babies in a nest hole outside our bedroom window.

Volcan Concepcion looms over all as our ferry approaches Isla Ometepe. Nicaragua is called the "land of lakes and volcanoes".

Sunset at Charco Verde, Isla Ometepe. It is the largest island in a lake in the world and was a finalist as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. We didn't make it to the Solentiname Islands, about a nine-hour boat ride to the south. This was where Ernesto Cardenal founded a world-renown Christian community during the Revolution. It became famous for its art (creating the "primitivist" technique) and the campesino's discussions of the weekly Gospel readings, which are recorded in the book "The Gospel of Solentiname". Their observations of Jesus and his disciples, coming from a context very similar to first century Palestine, are, well, revolutionary. This book and their application of liberation theology had an impact on the Revolution. Somoza's National Guard destroyed every building on the islands one night in 1977, but today the art and ideas remain, and the community has been rebuilt.

Evening sky at Ometepe.

A fisherman casts his net in Lake Nicaragua, while a new wind farm cranks out green energy. Before the Panama Canal was built, this was the route across the isthmus. Gold Rushers (including Mark Twain) journeyed up the large Rio San Juan from the Caribbean into the lake, then crossed over the west shore for a 12-mile overland journey to the Pacific Ocean, where they would pick up another boat.

Bunky swimming. There were two species of monkeys in the background (howlers and spiders).

We left the country just a few days before the 30th aniversary of the Revolution, which now sees a much older Daniel Ortega once again in power. While nearly everyone we talked with stated they were a "true Sandinista", opinions about Ortega were mixed. Photos of Che abound, of much greater variety than the typical gazing portrait. But I never expected to see him playing golf!

five-minute video of our trip
Steve's birding trip report
back to page one (of four) of Nicaragua 2009 photos