Semana Santa in Nicaragua is like a combination of Easter and Spring break in the U.S. Most people who work got vacation from Thursday through Sunday, but for us here at the Center we got the whole week off. Semana Santa is a prime time for tourism since many people head to beaches, lakes or rivers with their families. And after living in Managua in the dry heat of April I understand why people seek out some water. Semana Santa is typically one of the hottest weeks of the year, and to prove it you see many people putting up inflatable pools on their front porch to bear the heat. For some who don’t like the beach or can’t afford it, this is the best alternative, and Erika and I will attest to that! One day our neighbor Doña Amanda invited us to come test their pool out so we spent the afternoon relaxing in the cool water and enjoying Semana Santa Batahola style.
Unfortunately this year instead of heading to the beach or visiting family, most people were forced to stay at home and camp out on their patios waiting for an earthquake. After a 6.2 magnitude earthquake originating in Lake Managua on Thursday April 10th, over 1,000 aftershocks followed which slowly died off only to build up in intensity again on Sunday. Managua sits on 16 fault lines and is also surrounded by various volcanos which makes it susceptible to destruction. These tremors put Managua on Red Alert, the maximum precaution for earthquakes, especially after news that the same fault line was activated that set off the earthquake of ’72 which killed over 10,000 people and destroyed most of the city, some of which has still not been rebuilt. Rightfully so, many people wanted to be near their families and taking all precautions necessary to stay safe. Luckily no damage was done at our house or the Center, but we were left feeling a bit shaken both physically and emotionally. And as you can see we camped out on our porch a few nights with an emergency bag packed and the door left open. Even though it was kind of fun sleeping outside, it’s safe to say that the majority of Managua hasn’t gotten much sleep in the last week.
The very same night of the excitement and stress of the tremors we woke up to another suprise…kittens! Our cat Lola, who we adopted after she had been abandoned on the doorstep of another volunteer house, got pregnant besides our best intentions to get her fixed. But none the less we now are grandmothers to four new baby kittens. Two have yet to be claimed, so give us a shout out if you’re interested!
To close our our Semana Santas Erika and I both got away to the Northern mountains for some time with friends in nature and away from hot and stressful Managua. Erika made her way to San Nicolas to visit our fellow volunteers Sara and David where she attests that they fed her very well (as usual), had an easter egg hunt with some of the children from the community, swam in a secret pool and attended Easter mass. She also arrived back in Mangua with some intricate braids which were done by the soon to be professional Sara Rich.
I on the other hand made my way to Bosawas, a nature reserve located near the city of Matagalpa. Despite taking a full day of traveling to arrive after a series of events including busing, hitch hiking, a flat tire, more attempted hitch hiking and finally a taxi, it was definitely worth it. The reserve has 35 natural waterfalls and many other natural water springs which provide clean water to over 27,000 people. We camped out, hiked, swam in cold waterfalls, ate wonderful campo food and learned more about the organizations that work on the reserve. If you want to see more photos check out my Flickr at the bottom of the page.