Saturday, May 15, 2010

5/14 Esteli

Written yesterday....
So far, Nicaragua is continuing to be as friendly as yesterday. We spent a mellow day today just wandering around the town and enjoying the people. Every town in central america has a central park but Esteli is the first place that we've been where the central park is more than just a space with benches and greenery. The park here is much more of what we expect when we think of a park. Although the park is the same size as other central parks that we have seen, this one has 2 playgrounds that are always full of kids. In the center, there are some guys that rent powerwheels cars (those motorized cars that kids can sit in and drive around). It makes the park a really nice place to sit and watch the world go by.
As we sat this morning at the park, enjoying the nice weather and people watching, 2 fun girls sat down next to us in their school uniforms and started talking to us. Most of the conversation was pretty typical, "where are you from?", "what is the weather like there?" "What have you seen here?". We were joking around a bit and they asked if we have a camera. Then they insisted that I take their picture. Then one of the girls talked the car guy into letting her take a spin in one of the bigger cars. We all had a good laugh as she drove around the park with the doors held open by her knees as this crazy little boy pushed her around. It was such a genuine interaction and for a little while, we didnt feel like strange gringos, we felt like a part of the group.
I'm becoming very interested in how people recover from war. Both Guatemala and Nicaragua experienced major violence through the 1980's. Now, 30 years later, the next generation has grown up. Both countries are filled with people who experienced those horrible times and now also filled with people who were raised by people who experienced those bad times but who didnt experience it themselves. The war is so recent but slowly becoming history. If you didnt know that these horrible events occured, you wouldnt suspect it walking the streets. People have moved on and cities have been rebuilt. I know from the guidebook that this area was hit especially hard but see no evidence of it on the surface. We have noticed that a lot of the older guys that we see on the street are missing limbs or fingers or have permanent limps. I also notice that there are way more older ladies than there are men. It is definately a younger society. The guidebook says that 72% of the population is under the age of 30 and 40% of the population is under the age of 15. Its all very interesting and has my wheels turning. From what I can tell so far, it is all very positive. So far, from what I can tell, this is a country that has been working hard to turn things around and find their way and I am so hopeful for them.

Posted by Picasa