Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 4: Granada, colors everywhere.

Everyday just kept inspiring me more and more. After two days, we left Maderas Village after breakfast and we traveled to Granada. We drove for about a hour and my goodness, this town is beautiful. 

Everyday just kept inspiring me more and more. After two days, we left Maderas Village after breakfast and we traveled to Granada. We drove for about a hour and my goodness, this town is beautiful. 

The houses were very colorful and colonial. Everything looked so homely and it felt as though we went back in time. We saw the central park and dropped our bags and after, we traveled to Mi Museo, a museum in Granada, owned by Peder Kolind. Peder Peder has established himself as a major influence in Granada; from an education complex to creating a community to just giving advice on life and business. He takes great joy in his education project called Carita Feliz. He had an arsenal of ideas that really have moved the town of Granada. He implemented his ‘own currency’. By this, he created “Caritas” which allowed mostly children exchange for Cordobas or goods. In order to make Caritas, children have to serve the community or follow certain rules. This way, they became responsible and mature at a young age.

I thought this was an interesting way of giving incentive and teaching. Peder was definitely an inspiration. He too believed that in order for people to succeed in philanthropy or any kind of poverty alleviation, the needs of the people must be addressed. He also mentioned how important it is for Nicaraguans to know their identity and have dignity. He established this museum for the people to understand their history. Through this knowledge of history, the people would then know their culture and distinguish themselves from this culture that involves handouts. How was he able to accomplish this? Well, he was the person who invented the security system for homes. With that money, he opened a luxury hotel and is able to sustain these great works. He mentioned that we didn’t have to invent anything but rather understand what is missing in an area and ask if people want what is missing.

We enjoyed an awesome lunch at Tres Ojos and then made our way to Masaya, where the active volcano is and where there is a tourist market. We visited the market and saw many handmade items including: leather wallets, bags, masks, and pottery. A lot of these vendors probably know that there are tourist coming all the time and usually price everything around the same. We had a few successful deals because of the market’s popularity. After a hour or so, we traveled to Carita Feliz. 

At Carita Feliz, we witnessed a variety of programs. There was a computer area where children were learning how to use the computer. In another area, there was a skit for Mother’s Day, which the kids absolutely enjoyed. After this skit, there were adults who came in for zumba classes. The skit was bizarre; it’s based on a song, where there is a cheating husband and the wife and the husband hit each other throughout the skit. This is supposed to be the Mother’s Day skit. But it seemed fine with the kids, but as they grow older, hopefully this mindset is different. However, it’s impressive what Carita Feliz does. It provides supplementary learning, nutrition, and most importantly, love for children from ages 3-15. One of the administrators who was taking us around the facility described how sometimes the parents might not be around because of work and then the kids don’t feel as encouraged to pursue an education. 

After the tour, we were invited to dinner. This dinner sometimes serves 1000 students and this occurs everyday throughout the school week with the exception of Wednesday. We were all humbled by the invitation. We gave the administrator our supplies that we had and they gave us a poster with the 1050 students that currently attend. We exchanged goodbyes and we were off to the Central Park of Granada.

Culture is very important and in May, Nicaragua celebrates the Virgin Mary, wrapping up with Mother’s Day. There was a big celebration going on in central park and we were able to visit the cathedral before the congregation entered the church. I was completely impressed by the celebrations and just how everyone seems to love to be around the park, together. 

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