Of Lakes and Volcanoes

Today I read on La Prensa an interview of Dr. Oscar Rene Vargas.They talked of almost all the pressing issues that Nicaragua has faced and is facing presently; The importance of investing on education from top to bottom, inside and out. The interview is light but I think his answers are insightful.The problem with the so called opposition and leaders that won't allow anyone to think different. When asked Does every nation has the government it deserves? He answered: I would say that those that can, (laughing) deserve a better one. When asked: As a sociologist, how would you define the nicaraguense? His answer: February of '79 Somoza had a rally, with 100,000 thousand, 200,000 thousand persons shouting Somoza, te quedas, no te vas (you stay, you won't leave). Three months later the insurrection started. Somoza, mejor te vas (you better leave ), The nicaraguense goes from the relative serenity and calm of a lake to the explosion of a volcanoe.When does it happen? Nobody knows. With those words, that for some may sound cliche, Dr. Vargas described aptly the nicaraguense, rich or poor, educated or not. From Cosiguina to Apoyeque,peaceful lagoons where proud volcanoes once stood, and Concepcion and Maderas, two active volcanoes that make up Ometepe in the Lago de Nicaragua. As a kid I swam in Xiloa and snuck in for a dip in Tiscapa, went up many times to volcan Masaya. Swam in Cocibolca, gazed at Momotombo and Momotombito from the road on my way to and fro Managua and Chinandega. How the Telica let me know I was getting close to Chinandega and Nejapa and Asososca and Lago Xolotlan told me I was in Managua. Seeing the Old Man San Cristobal loom large over us coming home from a swim at the Rio Negro. A lake or lagoon and a volcanoe is never too far from us. As I said this may sound cliche but truly this landscape of ours is so much part of us we feel our land is us, is in us. Fire and water coexisting at times and at other times one giving way for the other to be. I've yet so much to see of this little terruno with its Volcanoes and Lakes, as we say here La Sangre Llama, and that's what runs in our veins blood made up of Lagos y Volcanes.

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Lot of people will put up with a problem until they don't

Nicaraguans have seen that they can do the "don't" thing successfully. Also, having life punctuated with earthquakes and volcanos might tend to make people a bit more fatalistic, which can go either way in the putting up with things that aren't optimal. Might as well accept things because life's going to end anyway. Might as well die trying to change things because anything can happen and you're going to die anyway.

People whose lives are more secure, both in terms of what the planet can throw at them and in economic terms, may accept being underlings better because there's fairly decent payoffs for that.

Rebecca Brown

What is this " Don't " thing...

Pardon my ignorance, but what do you mean by the Nicaraguans have seen that they can do the "don't" thing succesfully. Who are all this Nicaraguans? Do you mean all Nicaraguans? How do you come to this conclusions? Was there a nation wide study on this "don't" thing? Were the Nicaraguans out of the country asked about this also? You probably better than anyone knows that here and anywhere on this planet there are many kinds of people that will react different from another to a same experience. Most of the time I think we do things the same as others due to circumstances that are beyond our control. If only I could remember how many times I've heard myself and others say If only I could, I would do things differently. Reading Dr Vargas answer on how he would define los nicaraguense, being one himself, unconciously or not, he defines himself too. The whimsical manner of his answer provoked me to think about it too . His comparison of our temperament to those two features of our landscape so prominent in our lives, the lakes and volcanoes made me think, whimsical too, about the matter too. So I found myself remembering many things that would make the connection between those two elements and our "collective" behaviour. Some were the things I wrote about on my original post and afterwards I remembered songs and old tales, and then it came to me an old Dario's poem I learned as a child, one of the many we were required to read and learn while at school. Momotombo. Read it and if you do I hope the translation is a decent one. I love the whole poem but there are a couple of verses that say what I would have like to say because somehow the feelings in those words, Dario's as mine and most nicas, or at least the schooled ones, are the same, sorry if sound a bit pretentious and condescending. Momotombo: The train was rolling on its tracks. Those were the days of my golden spring and it was in my natal Nicaragua. Suddenly, midst the tree tops, I saw a gigantic cone, bald and naked, and full of old triunfal pride.....!Momotombo rose lyrical and sovereign, I was 15 years old : in my hand a star! And it was in my natal Nicaragua..... Lord of the heights, emperor of the water, at its feet the divine Lake of Managua, with islands of light and song all..... Father of fire and stone, I asked of you on that day your secret of flames.... !Oh Momotombo raucous and sonorous! I love you because when I think of you again come to me, heeding an intimate claim perfumes of my infancy, breezes of my childhood..... !With a volcanic soul I entered into the harsh life.... Man I read this and I can see it, touch it, hear it, smell it, taste it because I've not only known about it but I have also lived it, Some things can't be taught to feel it. There are many things about us that you may learn but if you can't feel those things like us, you can't understand them like us.

1979 Revolution, 2006 elections as samples of Nicaraguan "No"

I'm a writer. I have no country, just a language (hopefully another one in the next several years) but here is a bit less hostile to writers than the US (unless you make very much money there). I am as foreign to the US as I am to here. My true country is the country of silence, exile, and cunning. Real cities always have rivers running through them or beside them -- Louisville and the Ohio, New York and the Hudson, San Francisco and the Sacramento, Jinotega and the Rio Jinotega.

And I always look for Momotombo on the way home from Managua.

Rebecca Brown

Not really

The politiqueria (cheap politics) favoured Ortega and his followers. Aleman folded, directing his party vote to split the vote in favour of Ortega, another Pacto, in return for his freedom and immunity . House arrest, right. Ortega has proven to be smarter than his opponents beating them to the punch at their own game. You can't compare those two instances, 1979 revolution and 2006 elections. One was the same as usual business of politics while the other was the culmination of over 40 years of frustration and resentment towards a system imposed on us by force. I am somewhat puzzled by your fixation with this belief that all Nicaraguans are still under the spell of the Sandinistas of yore. There are those that still are and they are the first ones to tell you that Ortega and Murillo are so far from what Sandinismo represents that they have left the party, hell if Sandino were alive today, he wouldl have left the party himself long ago. One more time: unfortunately, for us, the people in Nicaragua is divided in 3 sections. 1. Those involved in politics, some out of convenience or fear. 2. The opposition, some are real opponents while others are just playing their part. 3. The people in the middle of all this messy charade. In this last group there is a side that plays the winning side as long as they get not what they need or want, but what they were offered and then there is the other side, the one with a conscience. This is the side that keeps saying why can we get decent government and decent leaders. The cheap politicians know this well and keep the sides apart and feed his followers so much crap they don't know what is real and what is not anymore. 33 years of the same BS as the BS of over 40 years before that, come on how stupid one has got to be to not see it? The problem is not simply because is Ortega or whomever but the perennial farse that keeps repeating itself like the broken record that skips over and over the same bothersome scratch. Who benefits from all this? The entire nation as a whole or just the few that are in on the joke? Only that the joke is on us. Please don't tell me that we are to small or to poor to be able to bring about effective changes that will take us on the right direction. Why do you feel foreign to your own country? As to what makes a city real that is a matter of personal opinion and taste. In the end , the next time as you make your way home from Managua looking out to Momotombo consider that maybe for now you have a country. Your home that happens to be in Jinotega, Nicaragua. Mi casa es su casa.

I think that what people tell me about politics

...may not really be things that I should be speaking of in public.

How do you get from where Nicaragua is now to some better Nicaragua, and better for who? That's not one that I can answer as I see the "better for who" side of it as being a non-trivial issue. The US has been remarkable better for its rich over the last decade and a half, but perhaps not so good for some of the others in the country, but still better than some of the alternatives.

Jinotega est mi pueblo; mi pais est el Internet.

Rebecca Brown

This is only a Dialogue

An exchange of opinions, ideas, concepts trying to find common ground. I've never been to Cuba, but they tell me most cubans are so paranoid they can not be truly open and honest with their sentiments about the cuban revolution and Castro even amongst themselves. During Somoza we had the Orejas and Sapos. That's what we called anybody we thought worked officially and non officially for the Seguridad. I knew a few. Ask about the CDS that sprouted on every block on our cities, large and small and what "replaced" them now. Taking that into consideration don't be surprised if what you are hearing are half truths half the time from most people. I've already been told of whom I should be careful with my views in my block. How do you get from where Nicaragua is now to some better Nicaragua, and better for who? Education, education, education and more education. And I am not talking about making more doctors, engineers, lawyers and such. I am talking about moral principles, ethics, vision, values that can be cultivated and applied in our daily dealings on all levels, whatever the field. Every 10-15 years we loose fertile ground with those kids coming up and out into the society without a sense of citizenship duty and a life of "do unto others before they do you" and not on the best sense that is. Of course I don't expect this to happen overnight and that everybody will follow suit but we have to start somewhere soon and keep at it. It is sad to see so many kids out of school and many of those kids are there because they see that going to school is not as profitable, in terms of Cordobas, as going to work were they see results right there and then no matter how small the profit. Again no vision of a better future and besides who has time to dream about tomorrow when tomorrow is already here with all its needs and desires. Better for who? I can't believe you ask that. If all of us involved in this matter weren't as selfish and shortsighted, we could realize that all of us would be benefited from a better Nicaragua. I don't have to go into all the minute details of how will all benefit because I suspect most of the people that takes the trouble to read this kind of posts know better than most. We may have differences of opinions but if we remove the greedy selfish side of the equation we know that when people have a sense of purpose and dignity we look for better lives for ourselves and those around us. ...


You started off well, you painted a nice water color. You shouldn't have opened it up for discussion...


Glad you liked it. I see the rest running amok with it, hope all in good fun.

country of silence?

you mean country of verbosity?

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

I think this is great

In the travel brochures Nicaragua is often called the land of lakes and volcanoes. Maybe some of the folks who are married to Nicas want to comment on the people being like the land. Are they really nice and calm until they're not? (Yes, I feel like a troublemaker even suggesting it.)

Fire & water

Zapoyol nailed it! That's why I married my little Nica woman. She's never (well, almost never) behaved like an active, fuming volcano, more like a dormant one. I know the fire is there, inner Earth glowing stuff. She'll stand her ground, won't back down. No, but it's her beautiful, warm, tropical waters that drew me in to stay.

how about sball?

is she like the land? is she really nice and calm until she's not?

enquiring minds would like to know.......

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

Now who's the troublemaker?

To start, I'm from a different land, a sometimes cold and desolate place, so don't you dare go near the frigid jokes! LOL

If people resemble their land, Canada and Nicaragua are similar on the lake part.

i am

the troublemaker, 'til i am not! now you are!

i wouldn't go near the frigid jokes, they sound cold! my land is hot and humid! and so am i.......

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson


Most old cane toads are from hot and humid places, aren't they? :-)

do ya

wanna lick one?

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson


No, I want to talk about whether the Nicaraguans are like their land. :-(

(Why can't you be more like Daddy-YO?)


this old cane toad doesn't know nica that well.....

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

And they...

spend their lives trying to get back into one....

i'm getting too old

i have to drive head in...... backing in is too hard

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

Thanks Juanno

My chuckle of the day.