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Published: June 25th 2014
First, if you don’t know the history of Nicaragua, go do some research. The country has a very recent history of war (both the revolution and later the Contra War) which is remembered vividly by those who fought during those years - both as part of the revolution or just to survive. The revolutionary group was called el Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) and is also the political party currently in power. The politics today are very complicated, and people here have varying opinions about the current political groups and issues, but this post is not about that; it is about reminiscing about the past. The grandparents I live with have five sons, three of which were active during the war in the southern part of the country and have some incredible stories to tell. This month there have been celebrations around the country to commemorate specific battles during the war, and it just so happened that the one for the south fell during this last weekend. So, I was excited to be invited by my Nicaraguan uncles to join them during the reunion of combatants in San Juan del Sur! The day ended up being quite the adventure since
the reunion actually took place way back in the mountains where the main battles were fought, not in the city of San Juan del Sur like I had expected. We drove an hour and a half south from Jinotepe to the San Juan city, and then took tiny, winding dirt roads through the mountains for two and a half hours to reach the battle sites. In true Nicaraguan style we road in the back of a pickup truck on those winding roads, and did I mention it is currently rainy season? It hasn’t been as rainy as it should normally be in June, but of course it decided to pour for the majority of that journey. But no worries, the rain here is warm!
The first place we stopped was at the beach in the town El Ostional where there were plenty of greetings, hugs, and group pictures as the men (and some women! Including one from Germany) were reunited, accompanied by very loud music. Literally nothing happens here without food and music, which I am completely in favor of. Finally, we made it up into the mountains to a spot called El Naranjo where speeches and recognitions were
made and plenty of chanting and cheering was done. There was also a stop at a place called La Colina 155, a small hill in an incredibly beautiful location where sadly a lot of men lost their lives. Eventually the caravan of trucks made its way back to the beach spot for more celebrations and food! My family didn’t stay long because it was also the birthday of one of the uncles. So, we headed back to San Juan del Sur (where he lives) for incredible food (tons of seafood!!), cake, and family time! Sunday was spent lazing on the beach - also something I am completely in support of. It was an incredible weekend and an experience I am honored to have been able to partake in.
¡Viva los Sandinistas! ¡Viva Nicaragua!
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