Archive for February 2013

Poetry is the Song of the Cosmos

February 24, 2013

Poetry is the Song of the Cosmos/La Poesía es el Canto del Cosmos. This was the theme of the 9th annual International Poetry Festival in Granada, Nicaragua, an allusion to a well known work, Cántico Cósmico, from this year’s honored poet, Ernesto Cardenal. Father Ernesto Cardenal is a famous Nicaraguan Catholic priest and liberation theologist and also considered one of the best Latin American poets alive today. For Marisa and I the annual poetry festival in Granada has been one of the highlights of our time here in Nicaragua. This is the third year we’ve attended!

url

The International Poetry Festival lasts for a full week every February and this year featured poets from 60 different countries. During the day poets and volunteers of all ages visit schools in the surrounding departments of Granada and Masaya to give poetry writing workshops, read poems, and promote a love of poetry and literature. At night the atmosphere of Granada’s main square turns magical as some of the planet’s finest poets raise their voices to join the “song of the cosmos” in many different tongues. Marisa and I were only able to spend two nights at the poetry festival this year but we heard poets from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, the United States, Bangladesh, and Algeria sharing their poems in Spanish, English, Bengali, and Arabic.

Bangladeshi poet, Aminur Rahman

Bangladeshi poet, Aminur Rahman

Nicaraguan poet and author, Gioconda Belli!!! Marisa and I have read her book The Country Under My Skin.

Nicaraguan poet and author, Gioconda Belli!!! Marisa and I have read her book The Country Under My Skin.

The plaza was packed with every chair full and many people standing behind.

The plaza was packed with every chair full and many people standing behind.

If that isn’t enough, every night comes to a close with a concert by some of Nicaragua’s most famous musical artists. This year we heard folk singer Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy and the cumbia/rock group La Cuneta Son Machin both distinctly Nica in their sound and lyrics.

The International Poetry Festival is world class and something that Nicaraguas are and should be very proud of. The best part? It’s all completely free, so the festival provides a unique space where people from around the globe and from many walks of Nicaraguan life, those staying the night in fancy hotels and the ones selling plantain chips and shaved ice on the street, can come together and sing the song that every Nica learns in pre-school – “Nicaragua, Nicaragüita my dearest, most beautiful flower… now that you’re free, I love you even more” – and really mean it.

Advertisements

Learning Tour from Alberta

February 18, 2013

micah 6.8

Adam and I have been busy this week helping with a learning tour from Alberta. The group works with Restorative Justice programs in Canada and wanted to come learn from the Nicaraguan experience.

We’ve been having a great time interacting with them! Here’s their blog where they have been posting daily recaps.

http://mccarjm.blogspot.com/

A tale of two shoes

February 3, 2013

I’ll admit, I have an addiction to shoes. Cute shoes call my name from the aisles of Target and they often end up in my cart as an impulse buy. Usually these cute shoes end up being uncomfortable and banished to the back of my closet.

Moving to Nicaragua and being limited in what I could bring definitely redefined my attitude towards shoes. I had to reduce my shoes to only the most necessary, practical, versatile, and comfortable pairs. In a tropical climate, I wear sandals 99.7% of the time*. So, I’ve spent most of  my days over the past 2 1/2 years wearing 2 pairs of sandals.

These sandals are top notch, have been with me throughout the years and continue to serve me well. However as these troopers begin to wear out it is interesting to reflect back at all the places they have been. Here’s how my 2 main pairs break down:

Me and my Old Navy flip flops during our honeymoon in Mexico

Me and my Old Navy flip flops during our honeymoon in Mexico

Old Navy flip flops
Date purchased: June 2007
Color: Black
Original purpose: All around slippers, beach flops, etc.
Oh the places you’ll go: Honeymoon to Mexico, Outer Banks family beach trips, countless beaches in Nicaragua, and the shower once or twice daily.
Current condition: The right one just broke – the thong part separated from the sole

Proof that Chacos really are versatile! Hiking through mud and then out to dinner later

Proof that Chacos really are versatile! Hiking through mud and then out to dinner later

Chacos
Date purchased: May 2004
Color: Black
Original purpose: Versatile shoes to go on Cross Cultural
Oh the places you’ll go: Guatemala for EMU cross cultural, Honduras free travel, Chicago MVS, Spain to visit Adam, College at EMU, Hiking on our Honeymoon in Mexico, Switzerland, countless miles logged in the streets of Managua, and all over Nicaragua.
Current condition: I got these re-strapped and resoled before coming to Nicaragua, so they are living their 2nd life. They have since been glued back together twice, once by a shoe repairman that sits in front of the grocery store  and once by Adam and a bottle of super glue.

It’s been kind of nice to rely on 2 pairs of shoes day in and day out. I see my Chacos as kind of my fashion trademark. I know most Nicaraguan women would never dream of wearing shoes so “unfeminine.” They love their heels! As I transition back to the States, I realize I will need a major shoe overhaul. I just hope I can remember to look for quality ones, to be surprised at how long I can wear them, and not be tempted by those cute, cheap, uncomfortable ones.

* To be completely transparent, here is a list of all the other shoes/sandals currently in my closet:
– Chaco leather flip flops (to go with brown outfits)
– Dansko Mary Jane heels (Sunday shoes)
– Tennis shoes (to get my workout on)
– Gold strapped wedge sandals with heels (to go on a hot date)