Lillian came here to visit Nicaragua just after the Sandinista revolution. The hope and dedication of the people inspired her to visit again for a couple of months. That was 26 years ago. Throughout the Contra War, she worked on a state-sponsored farm, traveling by horseback throughout the war zone.
Lillian is a wealth of stories. Every place and tiny detail has significance in the rich history of Nicaragua. A parking space is where the Contras ambushed a civilian car, leaving nothing but a melted metal frame. A park or a green area was not city planning, but a square of land destroyed in the 1972 earthquake and never rebuilt. And then there are the roads. They are not paved asphalt or concrete slabs as many of the roads in the U.S. are- they are not even gravel. Instead, they are a pattern of small cement blocks that fit together like cobblestones. The roads too have a story in the Sandinista revolution. When he ruled the country, the dictator, Anastasio Somoza, decreed that all roads should be built with the cement blocks that continue to pave the roads today. Soon after, his company became the major producer of those very blocks. Yet his master profit plan backfired during the revolution: the Sandinistas could easily rip apart sections of the road to blockade their opponents. The roads that paved the pocket of Somoza built the walls that blockaded his success.