Central America, Spring ^10

April 26, 2010

Pix, music

Filed under: Uncategorized — samanthabass @ 5:43 pm

I have new friends here! We (me, Alyssa, Chris, DJ) met with the university students from Grupo Puente on friday, talked about politics and revolutions, then they took us out all over Managua friday and saturday. Lots of fun.

This is the Top 40 radio station in Managua, all the music I’ve been listening to.

Saturday we had a group outing, which included driving to the top of Volcan Masaya. There’s a lot of smoke coming out of the top. Apparently when the Spanish came to Nicaragua they called the volcano ‘La Boca del Infierno,’ which means the mouth of hell. They thought the volcano was a hole in the earth. The National Guard thew political prisoners into the ‘Mouth of Hell’ during the Somoza dictatorship. Harsh punishment, lasting all of eternity.

Also, Congress is meeting again after the ‘tumultuous’ events of the past few days.

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April 23, 2010

Other things

Filed under: Uncategorized — samanthabass @ 8:13 pm

Last saturday I went to a ‘Competencia de Ninos de Trajes de Bano’ (bathing suit competition for kids). My host-sister wanted to compete, she’s six. She was really excited and did her dance for me and practiced posing before we left. The kids competing were ages 2-10. It was cute, and some of the kids could really dance. Boys competed too, mostly break dancing. Beauty pageants are apparently really popular here. It was in the mall.

I also went to a Quinceneara two weekends ago. Chris’s host-sister turned fifteen and invited all of us. All the little girls were dancing and we danced for a little too.

Alyssa and I are doing our final project here on youth activism, we have a meeting this afternoon with Juventud Sandinista (the Sandinista youth) and Groupo Puente, a youth organization more critical of government.

It’s also really hot here now. Probably the hottest weather I’ve ever felt ever. It says 97 but it must be hotter. People are saying it’s because the rains are coming, but not for another month.

Zona Franca, Happy Earth Day! Happy birthday Daniel a little while ago!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — samanthabass @ 7:34 pm

Yesterday for class we went to visit the Zona Franca (Free Trade Zone) near the airport. The manager showed us the promotional video that they use to attract investors. Nicaragua started opening Free Trade Zones after the Contra-War ended and the Sandinistas were voted out of office.

We toured a maquilla (textile-producing factory). The space used to be rented by a Taiwanese company, but they moved to China last year to increase profits. Now the space is rented by WalMart. The manager gave us a tour of all the stages of production, we saw the men and women cutting the jeans pattern out of sheets of jean material (from China), sewing, applying elastic, washing, drying, placing the tag on. Each person has a specific job – so only sewing one part of the jeans, sewing on buttons, etc. They were making women’s capris size 4x that were bright yellow and the tags said $15, hecho en Nicaragua. These ones, but in yellow. I couldn’t take pictures inside for security reasons.

There’s a been a bit of a political quarrel here the past few days, too. Pro-Sandinistas are blockading the National Parliament to stop opposition politicians from overturning a decree that would extend the terms of 25 top magistrates and civil servants. If their terms are extended, it’s likely that Ortega will be able to run for reelection in 2011, which was previously unconstitutional. It’s a little impassioned, Nicaraguans have a history of popular uprising, participation, etc. But don’t worry it’s really far from where I am and contained. There won’t be another revolution anytime soon, probably. I can hear the noises every now and then.

I’m going to Masaya and Granada tomorrow for the day. I’ve also been drawing a lot of ‘gatitoflors’ with my four year old host-brother. That’s part kitten, part flower.

April 7, 2010

Long time no see!

Filed under: Uncategorized — samanthabass @ 3:35 am

There’s so much to do in Nicaragua! I’m really busy here with class and papers and speakers and hanging out with my host family and in the neighborhood. Hence, forgotten blog post. But I have lots of pictures!

I have class Monday to Friday here from 9-12am usually. Sometimes instead of class we have speakers or visit organizations, communities, etc. Tomorrow we’re going to the University of Central America for a class with an economics professor. My two classes are Cultural Conflict and Change in Latin America, which is Gender Studies, and Citizen Participation within a Globalized Economy – A Nicaraguan Case Study, for politics. I really like my teachers and the setup of our classes.

My host-family is the Nicaraguas, there’s ten people living in the house and the two little kids like to run around the house and point at things for me to look at. I’m living right next to the cultural center of Batahola. They have a website!

We had last week off for Semana Santa, all of Latin America has off that week. John came to visit me and we went out with my friends here in Managua one night then went to Lake Apoyo, Granada, Ometepe and San Juan Del Sur. It was really fun, we met a lot of people and traveled with some Canadians for a bit. Lots of Europeans as usual. Lake Apoyo is a really deep crater lake and Granada used to be the capitol of Nicaragua and has well preserved colonial architecture. Ometepe is an island in the middle of lake Nicaragua made up of just two volcanos. One of them is a little active and shoots out ash every now and then. We were fine though. Everybody in Nicaragua travels to San Juan Del Sur for the last weekend of Semana Santa, there were people everywhere, parades and monkeys and lots of festivities. Probably the biggest party in the hemisphere. I went surfing at Playa Madera, near San Juan del Sur, and got really beat up and stood up once. It was really fun.

Now, back to class. Managua has a lot of revolutionary graffiti all over, both for the FSLN (Sandinistas, party of Daniel Ortega, ex-revolutionaries/terrorists) and against him, calling him a dictator. The political situation is really interesting in Nicaragua now because Daniel Ortega is in power again, with some mixed feelings.

The food’s also really good. Nicaragua’s really hot but I don’t feel it anymore.

To be continued!

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