“Stay up to watch the New Year come in, it’s well worth it” they said. “It’s especially worth your time to go find a el viejo ”
A what? Deb explained to me that there were stuffed dummies sitting around at random houses along the way, so I started to take notice. They often sat staring blankly at the street looking very similar to the scarecrow that graces many a fall arrangement in the Shenandoah Valley. But, instead of innocently holding an orange pumpkin- these guys usually held a whiskey bottle. And instead of innocently being stuffed with old rags, these guys had powder in their innards.
So as the New Year came upon us, Richard’s kindly took us to their house where there was a lot more action, and we sat out on the street and watched the activity. The dentist that lives next door had a big party going on. The guest pulled their chairs out into the street, a small table laden with food sat in their midst. Directly behind the party, the children were setting off fireworks. At one point the party shifted quickly, because the one boy lit a fireworks fountain, and it fell on its side, and sent a shower of sparks towards the guests.
We walked around the block, and a lot of people had hired in a disco for the night. Streets were shutdown while children swung wildly at pinatas and danced in the street- incredible. One old lady sat by herself, so Andrea and her daughters sat down and chatted with her, (I love the warm friendliness of this culture) and learned that her family was visiting out of town; so she stayed home to watch the house. She has 7 children and “countless” grandchildren…
The fireworks burst louder and more rapidly the closer we got to the New Year. I checked my phone and at 11:58- all through the streets- the “el viejo” (old man) were positioned in center of the street. We stood on the street corner were we could watch excitement from all directions.
Initially, the dummy was saturated with gasoline, then a match was struck and the rest was history. Fireworks shot here and there and fire rose high into the street. Sparks showered all over, and more fireworks shot in all directions. At one point- a motorcycle came down the street, weaving in and around all the flaming dummies (and the old habits and drunks everything else they represented) and by some miracle- escaped being nailed by one of the uncontrolled firework display.
My dad was in his element watching things blow up all over and my mom wasn’t enjoying it at all- except that it was a complete culture experience. And Me? I was just trying to absorb the moment. Trying to imagine what things from the old year that I would burn if I could.
2015 held so many good things. But as always, there are things I hope to improve on. Like the amount of patience that I possess, the accountability of how I spend my time, how much I give the One who gave His life for me…
And as I watched the neighbor sweep up the smoldering remains, from the old man, out of the street, I felt a bit of excitement realizing again that old things are passed away, behold everything’s new…
So I face this New Year realizing that God’s grace is sufficient, and with Him acting as my guide, it’s bound to be an exciting journey.
I love pics. I took these trying to capture a bit of the flair of the culture around here. I love the afternoon siesta time.
The agriculture here is amazing. They are busy with peanut harvest, which involves a multi step process from digging the crop, to harvesting the wind-rowed product, to the gleaners who harvest the crop that’s left behind…. The pic below is of farmers spraying their rice fields. Notice the two man backpack/boom system. Wow
We visited a farm today, and discovered that the round green balls we’ve seen on so many trees are called “Jicaro” and when you break them open, they smell kind of like silage, and they are very valuable to sustain the cows through dry season.
We met with an Apostolic couple who’d visited our farm in the Valley. They took us all over their town. Their town had a “Bible Park” which included scrolls with a verse from every book of the Bible, lots of vegetation, and 12 pillars representing the 12 tribes, and 12 disciples. Then we went to a lookout and gazed at Momotombo who is still smoldering from her recent eruption.
Deb’s little friend Carmen is finally out of the hospital. Her mom brought her to try on her school uniform. They start school here at age 3.
This is a house right down the street. And I was all amazed watching this busboy pull out his phone, stand on the back of the bus’s bumper without holding on, casually making a phone call… His bus didn’t have a sofa, or a table and chairs riding on the roof like a lot of them we met… (which has nothing to do with how smart it is to balance on a bumper with no hands- lol)
We went into the mountains to Selva Negra- a coffee plantation. It was overcast and drizzly to the point a jacket felt good. I was so excited to see the cathedral that I remember was in Pablo Yoder’s The Work of Thy Fingers. The vegetation on the roof here turned this beautiful place into an enchanted forest. We saw howler monkeys during a hike through the jungle and finished the day off with a beautiful sunset and meeting a pair of snakes. (We aren’t sure, but the diamond pattern on them resemble the Blue Boa that Deb has pics of herself holding at Cerra Negra) Thoroughly enjoyed the chance to get to know Richard and Andrea and their lively family better, as they graciously acted as tour guides. What a fun day!
Father got a little too close to the guard duck.. The monkey that Katie gave Deb for Christmas came along to get in on a photo shoot among the coffee plants. The bright red coffee berries are ready for harvest.
And my favorite pic to date… Nicaragua is a beautiful land, with so many things to to see, and taste, and enjoy… But this is still my favorite thing about this land… I’m not sure the little pup was quite as fond of this beauty as I am… At least not while she was holding him like that-lol
Love it all! 🙂 So you gonna do a presentation about Nicaragua for my class when you return? Por favor.
Lol oh I have a few pics I could show 😉
thanks for the reminder about those stray fireworks. I spent the last few years celebrating new years in Nicaragua, and thought this year’s celebration here in the states was plenty tame. It wasn’t till I read your post, that I remembered how I used to worry my boys would get blown up (or blow themselves up) in the street by some stray (or not so stray) spark. Glad you could be there with Deb. -christine
Those thing Do stink! We always called them calabash trees. As in, you can use them for bowls and things. I was just in another part of Peten and they had some pretty big ones…. so maybe they are not all the same.
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