Our final day in Nicaragua was certainly an eventful one. We woke up later than normal (a whopping 30 minutes later!!!) After breakfast we piled into the van and headed out to the Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua’s very first national park. The volcano is active but luckily nobody from our group fell in. We were told that if the wind changed direction while we were up on the volcanic rim then we would have had to book it back to the bus given the danger of the sulfuric acid smoke, but the winds were in our favor. While we were there, we learned how the Somozas used the treacherous tactic of throwing their political enemies into the fiery pit. The Nicaraguan natives had once believed that an angry god dwelled in the volcano and only sacrificing of maidens and young girls would satisfy the angry god. When the catholic Spaniards arrived, they viewed the volcanic pit as the mouth of hell and so they had constructed a cross and placed it at the top of the volcano to keep the evil inside, which was still standing. In 2015 the volcano erupted, but none of the lava spilled out, so the cross must be working.
After the trip to the volcano, we headed to the Laguana del Apoyo where we enjoyed a fantastic lunch by the water. Some of us chose to go for a swim while others sat and enjoyed the vibes of the view. The Laguna is a collapsed volcanic crater, which luckily for us, was filled with water and not lava.
After lunch, we went to Pedro Guerrero’s house where he had demonstrated his mastery of the pottery craft. Pedro is world renowned and his shop was filled with magnificent pieces that he created by hand. Pedro has been working with pottery for 29 years and has begun teaching the art to eager students of the next generation in order to preserve his method. After the demonstration, we went into his shop and collectively purchased a large portion of his inventory, much of which will be sold in an effort to raise money for JHC.
After leaving Pedro’s house, we drove to the market where we were able to shop around for souvenirs of all sorts. Once we were finished splurging, we walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner where we enjoyed a variety of burrito types and good conversation.
Once we finished eating, we traveled back to CEPS to pack up and get ready for our early morning departure of 3:30 AM. Before going to sleep however, we were able to fit in one last group reflection where we debriefed the trip and gave our final, concluding remarks.
We will all miss this beautiful country and the hardworking people who built it, but we are all grateful to be coming home soon.
¡Hasta la vista Nicaragua!
Zach and Payton