Saturday, May 12, 2007

Nicaragua: the north

One Saturday in late February, about 25 adult members of Iglesia de Cristo churches in Managua piled into my church´s minibus around 11 a.m., and headed north. Gradually the country changed from summer-dry flatlands to summer-dry mountains. The terrain became more mountainous and forested. I´ve been told that there are problems with deforestation in Nicaragua, which might contribute to the dryness. But because the rainy season is ¨winter¨, May to October, it is normal for it to be arid in February.

We passed tobacco, plantain and rice fields, the latter pictured here. The pinnacle of the landscape for me was seeing pine trees for the first time in Nicaragua- and then seeing pine trees and banana trees growing in the same place, actually visible at the same time when I looked out the bus window. At 6 p.m. we arrived at a very rural mountain church with one uncovered lightbulb illuminating the one room. People from all over Nicaragua piled in until there was standing room only. The local church had invited its entire denomination to a joint worship service. There were people there who had walked 7 or 9 hours to attend. The service started at 7 or so. I sang ¨God´s Eye is on the Sparrow¨ as special music. Homemade string instruments were brought in and other special music was offered in the traditional ranchero style. Still others sang with electric guitar. There were pastors from all over who participated in various ways along with lay people. It was a little disorienting for me, arriving at dusk and sitting there with the one light harshly shining on the gathered congregation, in a church called Mount Sinai and situated not only in the mountains of the north (where I had never been before), but on the top of a little hill in the mountains of the north! Outside, the stars were beautiful.

I ended up falling asleep in the bus during the break and was wakened at 3 a.m. when the rest of the folks were ready to head out. In the mountains it actually gets below 70 degrees at night, so I had come prepared with long sleeves, and Belen´s uncle lent me his sweater to put over my legs. We drove back all night and I´m including pictures of sunrise. We made it back around 10 or so in the morning. And that is my one experience of visiting the north.

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