I’m Nica: a short note from Niquinohomo, Nicaragua

You can always count on me to find the library. Biblioteca Augusto Sandino, Niquinohomo, Nicaragua.

You can always count on me to find the library.

 

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The local church, just out of Romeo+Juliette.

Yesterday I visited the birthplace of Sandino in Nicaragua: Niquinohomo.

Yo soy del pueblo que un niño
en Niquinohomo soñó.
Soy del pueblo de Sandino
y Benjamín Zeledón
—Yo soy de un pueblo sencillo, by Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy (see the complete lyrics and my translation below)

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The general

 

A lot to ask? — “Living clean, healthy, safe, beautiful and good is living with joy, with physical and mental health. Living with --, safety, respect, faith and hope. -- Sandino!”

A lot to ask? — “Living clean, healthy, safe, beautiful and good is living with joy, with physical and mental health. Living with –, safety, respect, faith and hope. — Sandino!”

Benjamín Zeledón’s fortress —the political prison

We also visited Benjamín Zeledón’s fortress, then turned to political prison. We saw the cells where first Somoza, then the FSLN, kept their political prisoners. It is on top of a hill, with breathtaking views of Masaya, Granada, the lakes, forests, volcanoes and vultures. The Nicaraguan scouts manage it, and a scout greets you and tells you the story when you get there.

The cells are dark and full of graffiti, bats and ominous stains.

There’s one level that they didn’t want to dig up yet.

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In nearby Laguna de Apoyo I felt more naked than ever before in my life

In nearby Laguna de Apoyo I felt more naked than ever before in my life, bathing in a volcano crater in my bikini. The nicas swim (well, bath, because in this area they can’t swim) fully clothed. It’s so weird. Everyone was looking at the pale skinned gringas swimming in their bikinis. It felt like a political defiance act.

I discovered something: nakedness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

A remix of Gangnam Style blasted on huge loudspeakers.

On another note, my youngest son broke his leg while I was away. Bummer. Poor him, poor Pablo.

All night I’ve chased planes in dreams.

*************

Yo soy de un pueblo sencillo
Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy (on the right, my translation for my friend Michael: improvements welcome)

Yo soy de un pueblo sencillo
pequeño como un gorrión
con medio siglo de sueños
de vergüenza y de valor.
Yo soy de un pueblo sencillo
como la palabra Juan
como el amor que te entrego
como el amor que me dan.
Yo soy de un pueblo nacido
entre fusil y cantar
que de tanto haber sufrido
tiene mucho que enseñar.
Hermano de tantos pueblos
que han querido separar
porque saben que aún pequeños
juntos somos un volcán.
Yo soy de un pueblo que es poeta
y sus versos escribió
en los muros y las puertas
con sangre, rabia y amor.
Yo soy de un pueblo orgulloso
con mil batallas perdidas
soy de un pueblo victorioso
que aún le duelen las heridas.
Yo soy de un pueblo reciente
pero antiguo su dolor
analfabeta mi gente
medio siglo en rebelión.
Yo soy de un pueblo que un niño
en Niquinohomo soñó
soy del pueblo de Sandino
y Benjamín Zeledón.
Yo soy de un pueblo sencillo
fraterno y amigo
que siembra y defiende
su revolución.
I come from a simple people
small as a sparrow
with half a century of dreams
of shame and of courage.
I come from a simple people
like the word John
like the love I give you
like the love they give me.
I come from a people born
between a rifle and a song
that after so much suffering
has a lot to teach.
Brother of so many peoples
that they’ve wanted to keep apart
because they now that even small
together, we’re a volcano.
I come from a people that’s a poet
and wrote his verses
in walls and doors
with blood, rage and love.
I come from a proud people
with a thousand lost battles
I come from a victorious people
with wounds that still hurt.
I come from a new people
but its pain is old
my people are illiterate
half a century in rebellion.
I come from a people that a child
dreamed of in Niquinohomo
I come from the people of Sandino
and Benjamín Zeledón.
I come from a simple people
fraternal, friendly
that sows and defends
its revolution.

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