After a full day of travel, I arrived in Managua late Saturday night. With so many weeks of anticipation and preparation, it doesn’t yet feel real that I’m finally here. My first impression is that Managua seems to be a city that plays by its own rules. On the way back from the airport I noticed that we rolled through every red light. The program director explained that someone told him red lights become four way stops after 10pm. He wasn’t sure if it was actually legal, but everyone did it. Do as the locals do, I suppose.
Our first full day was spent getting settled and situated. After a few orientation presentations I felt slightly overwhelmed. We learned the basics of getting around Managua and how to use the public bus system. I vaguely comprehended the colorful tangle of lines that was the bus route map. Even though they’re kind and helpful, we learned not to rely on directions from locals. Most roads in Nicaragua are unmarked and directions usually are some form of “Go three and half blocks us, then east when you see the pile of rocks...” Needless to say, I’ll be double checking all of my routes before I go anywhere.
People here are friendly and warm. On Sunday we had lunch at Chepita’s house. She kissed each of us when we arrived and served us the most delicious food. She’s closely involved with Manna Project and has her own sewing business with women in the community. We met her husband and children (and many animals) as well. It was wonderful to meet a local family and get a glimpse into their day to day life. One of the great things about Manna Project is their emphasis on building relationships within the community. Throughout my time here, I’m looking forward to getting to know the people and making many new friends.
Until next week, adios!