We were lucky enough to enjoy an air conditioned bus tour around Managua. First, we visited a cliffside monument where the National Guard under the Somoza regime would throw the bodies of their perceived resistors. Becca, our tour guide, told us how many people in the resistance would tattoo their initials on their forearms so their families could identify them in the event that they were killed. It was very moving and sad to actually be standing on grounds where just decades ago people would come to find their loved ones.
We also visited the Palacio de la Cultura, where we learned a lot about Nicaraguan history as well as an interesting story about the revolution. We were able to actually stand in the room where Congress under Somoza was taken hostage by the Sandinista rebels. We actually met the woman who served as the negotiator for the Sandinistas, at only 22, and were able to talk with her about her stance on the current Ortega administration and her experiences in Nicaragua.
After lunch we visited a church, constructed by the previous owner of Dominos Pizza. It was interesting to see how far this massive church was from public transportation, making it difficult for the majority of Nicaraguans to enjoy this new piece of infrastructure, which utilized brutalist architecture. It was also interesting to see the irony of the church’s location because it was right by the mall. One could leave the church and walk straight to the mall, where they could buy goods from big businesses that exploit the working class.
Lastly, we visited artist Gerardo Arias, who painted the mural in the 7th St Studio at Bucknell. He talked about his experiences being drafted and his romantic view of life. We saw Batahola Norte, and the community center where he teaches art as a form of expression for the local kids.
Managua was a great time, we saw the iconic light trees (can be seen in Google images) and got Pizza Hut for dinner!
Love from Nicaragua~ Erim & Daphne