An introduction to Nicaragua

4. May 2015

We departed from EMU at 6:00 a.m. after 24 students were asked to show their passports. All but 1 were able to do so. The other sends her parents on a trek, first towards home, then turn around and chase the bus towards the airport. Phone calls were exchanged often to check on mile-markers to see if the pursuit vehicle was gaining…33 minutes, then 28, then 25, the two vehicles are getting closer. Twenty miles onto Route 66 we decide to stop for a quick breakfast at the Golden Arches in an effort to both give the group a final opportunity for a familiar American breakfast, and allow the chase vehicle to make up some ground. Within 20 minutes the chase vehicle arrives, and drops off the goods. We board the bus and head to Dulles. And so, the adventure begins.

The flight took us from Dulles to San Salvador, to a final destination of Managua. We touched down on time at 3:49. Going through customs was a breeze, then students observed the variety of sights, sounds, and smells of the city as we drove through the streets of Managua. We arrived at Quinta Shalom guesthouse for a hot meal of chicken, pasta, rice, salad, fruit drink, and for those that had room, an iced white cake.

The first day in Nicaragua was spent touring Granada, the oldest Latin American city. The city was vibrant and had a variety of colorful buildings. We visited both the oldest and newest churches there; the oldest church, Maria Auxiliadora and the newest church, Xalteva. The markets were crowded with little shops and restaurants. Parents and kids alike were selling souvenirs and merchandise on the streets. We later visited Lake Nicaragua, which has 365 islands and is a safe breeding grounds for bull sharks. That evening we visited an orphanage called Fortress of Hope where we made jewelry, played soccer, and danced with the kids.

The next morning, we picked up the kids to go to the largest park, Luis Alfonso Velasquez Flores. Here we played soccer with the natives. Later that day, we hiked the Masaya volcano. Sulfuric gases leaked from the active volcano. Once it got dark, we ventured down the hill of the volcano and hiked to a bat cave.

Day three we went to church at Iglesia Yeshua with the kids from Fortress of Hope. The service lasted 2.5 hours. We danced, sang, and took communion with the locals. After church we went to markets in Masaya. These markets were full of small vendors selling local fruits and vegetables as well hammocks and other souvenirs.

Today, May 4, we said our goodbyes in Nicaragua and are traveling to Costa Rica by bus.

-Anna Messer