Visiting Nicaragua: Anything But ‘Typical’

Brother Raymond is a Dominican brother studying for the priesthood at St. Dominic’s priory in St. Louis. He traveled to Nicaragua as part of the Global Fellows program.

Starting my day at 2:30 am is hardly typical but I was on the first available flight from Baltimore, through Houston, to Managua—the capital of Nicaragua. The peace and quiet of an airport not yet awake was the perfect location to pray morning prayer in silence with a hot cup of joe. No amount of coffee though could make up for the abbreviated night’s rest but by the time our group recovered our bags at baggage claim in Managua, I felt remarkably awake.

My first acquaintance with the CRS team in “Nica” (as they affectionately call their country) was Veronica whose beaming smile inaugurated a long warm welcome to our group as we headed to a light lunch. Typical Nicaraguan summer weather—continuous rain—followed us to the restaurant and never ceased pattering the rooftops. Even after lunch as we headed to CRS Nicaragua Headquarters for a fascinating briefing on the wide variety of projects underway in this region, the skies never seemed to exhaust their water supply. Needless to say, the air was saturated and the humidity remained a constant companion.

Brother Raymond

Brother Raymond (far right) Global Fellows traveled to Nicaragua in order to witness firsthand the work of CRS. Photo by Mikaele Sansone/CRS

The drive to and from our stops today provided a colorful streaming panorama of billboards and banners, all of which filled out a picture of the local culture. I noted to myself how, as in Haiti but with less frequency, storefronts and vehicle windshields were often painted with pious slogans such as “Sangre de Cristo” (blood of Christ) or with pictures of the Sacred Heart.

The memorable highlights of my travels often seem to be associated with cuisine and we certainly enjoyed a delicious dinner. I ordered the “Típico Nicaragüense”, a lovely beef tenderloin dish accompanied by the best fried plantains I’ve ever tasted. The whole group capped off the meal with a strong cup of local coffee each. Roger and I split a slice of some amazing caramel flan.

As I write at the end of the day and muse over our Central American introduction, my thoughts drift off in anticipation of the seeing the fruits of CRS’s successful efforts down here. Meanwhile, the rain which has yet to quit beckons me to get some sleep. Typical Nicaragua!

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