By Ryan Luckey and Leticia Rigatti
We entered Costa Rica about two weeks ago and have kept busy with various activities including many seed exchanges, events and visits to various projects. But all that will come in the next post …
This post is to share a little from the month we spent in Nicaragua, where we found really nice people and visited some interesting projects.
Nicaragua is a beautiful country with extensive coastline on both the Pacific and the Caribbean, many lakes and volcanoes. It’s a country that historically faced a strong dictatorship and had to fight a brutal civil war to end the dictatorship through the revolutionary Sandinista movement. Over the years the country has tried to recover, but poverty remains widespread, and Nicaragua today is the second poorest country in the continent, surpassed only by Haiti.
Even with a grave economic situation and violent history, we found Nicaragua’s population really open and friendly, with clear and strong political opinions and self-esteem. This year is an election year, and we saw many young people marching through the streets and holding political events and demonstrations. Lots of energy in the country …
We found this political rally in Nandaime, Nicaragua
During our visit, we visited three sustainability projects. Two on Ometepe Island, an island formed by two volcanoes in the middle of stunning Lake Nicaragua, the largest tropical lake in the world.
Panoramic view of the Island
On Omatepe we visited the Project Inan Itah, a spiritual development center with various permaculture practices and a volunteer program. While visiting for a few days we actively participated in community activities and became great friends in this beautiful project.
Another interesting project is the ecological hostel El Zopilote, which was designed using permaculture principles. The hostel’s natural buildings and organic food production make for a cool food-forest jungle experience, and is a center for backpackers to a have a relaxed and more conscious visit to the island.
During our visit to El Zopilote we had an exciting moment with their bees. On the farm they have a cross between Italian bees (very quiet, friendly) and African bees (aggressive, hardy). That is, the bees are warriors, but not brutal. We were talking to Danielle who takes care of the bees, real close to the boxes, taking pictures and talking… and suddenly we realized that the bees started flying at us! There were so many! And then someone says RUUUUUUUN!! And we run down the ravine, up the hill, around the bend, and away…. It was crazy to have that ringing in the ears, unable to look back and have to keep running! Ryan got bitten twice including once on his lip, and Danielle about 8 times. In the end we learned that we can not abuse the bees patience and we should better respect the space of our dear friends the bees who make such rich food for us, and yet struggle to survive in the jungle.
We also participated in a community event in the town of Santa Cruz on Omatepe, where we played music and shared a little about Común Tierra…
The organizers offered some free organic seeds for the local people, and some resources on how to grow organically, natural medicine, etc…
On Nicaragua’s Pacific coast we visited Finca Las Nubes, a place where residents are trying to build a totally self-suffcient ranch and community, using various integrated practices, with the hopes of leaving a legacy for future generations.
For more photos, visit our Facebook album.
For now we say goodbye as we head out to organize our seeds… we will be trading and offering seeds tomorrow in the Feria Verde (organic market) in San Jose, capital city of Costa Rica.
A BIG HUG and we hope to see you soon!
Leti and Ryan