Mira Flor is known as the cloud forest for a reason. Waking up this morning, we were greeted by the most beautiful fog seeping in through the cabin window. Three horses resting in the field across from us appeared as only shadows because they too were enveloped in clouds. As with most of Nicaragua’s natural beauty that we’ve witnessed thus far, however, this story-book setting of rolling hills, magical forests, and waterfalls is tinged with the memory of human pain. This same fog which we admire was once used as a war tactic for the contras, as they could more easily attack without being seen in the morning hours when the fog was so dense. Keeping such history in mind as we enjoy our last morning hike, eat a DELICIOUS breakfast, and play with the local 9 month old baby living here in Mira Flor only makes this experience more meaningful.
The majority of our day today involved travel. From Mira Flor to Esteli, this means a bumpy (seriously, bumpy!) two hour bus ride through beautiful country roads. Stopping occasionallyto pick up more people (filling the seats three to a row), we learn that this kind of bus is called a “chicken bus.” Sure enough, a woman sitting near Kaye holds a live chicken in her lap! Riding buses in Nicaragua really is a cultural experience. Clowns, food vendors, and children selling cold drinks are just a few of the interesting people who have hopped on to say hi on the many bus rides we’ve taken during this delegation.
At Esteli, we say goodbye to Jemma and Siena, wishing them luck as they begin their language program at La Gartillo for the next week and we continue on to Managua. From this moment on, the trip slowly starts to wind to an end in my mind. Our group that has been sharing close quarters, laughter, tears, and insight during this trip will be completely separated by tomorrow evening. I’m grateful, however, that the important lessons I’ve gained in better understanding solidarity, as well as the friendships we’ve formed will not be lost. As we shop for local artisan goods and have our nails painted by women trained by the Acahual Women’s Center tonight, I reflect on how blesssed I feel to have experienced bits of Nicaragua’s historical memory, people, and landscape for the past 10 days with a group of truly wonderful people. Good luck to Siena, Jemma, and everyone else this summer!