Monday, March 13, 2006

La Flor Mas Linda

This is the first of my series of Nicaragua blog entries. I just completed my 10th trip to this wonderful, yet struggling country, equally blessed and cursed.

My first trip was in 1999. As a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, I watched some of my fellow members go in 1998. They were full of wonderful stories and a desire to return. I decided to go on the next trip and snag an interesting stamp on my passport. I went. I saw. I fell in love with a country and people so full of grace, simple generosity and a will to survive in spite of natural and man made disasters that would crush an ordinary people.

Why do I love the place? It is hot, dirty, expensive to travel to, the roads a mess, most of the time not all that safe. It is hard to explain. One has to see it, be wrenched from our comfy couches and see how 99% of the world lives. There is a Nicaraguan magic that some experience. The spirit and energy that comes from people who bravely toil each day to survive. Many visitors come and go without understanding what I and others feel. Maybe it is as my friend Greg said, Nicaragua with its challenges and struggles of the past attracts the broken from the world, and gives them a place to call home, a place to repent and heal.

These words by the great Nica musician, revolutionary and poet Carlos Meija Godoy say it best. "Nicaragua, Nicaraguita" is a wonderful song that should be the national anthem:

Ay, Nicaragua, Nicaragüita, la flor mas linda de mi querer, abonada con la bendita, Nicaragüita, sangre de Diriangen! Ay, Nicaragua, sos más dulcita, que la mielita de tamagás, pero ahora que ya sos libre, Nicaragüita, yo te quiero mucho mas.

(Oh, Nicaragua, little Nicaragua, the most beautiful flower of my desire, fertile with blessing, little Nicaragua, offspring of Diriangen! Oh, Nicaragua, you are sweeter than the honey of Tamagas, but now that you are free, little Nicaragua, I love you so much more!)

When I toast Nicaragua I lift my glass of Flor di Cana rum and say:

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