The past few nights we’ve been staying in Grenada. Grenada’s the fourth largest city in Nicaragua, with about 110,326 people. It was established in 1524 by Cordoba, and allegedly was the first European city in all of mainland America. It’s the first time since being in Central America that I felt like I’ve been in a really old old city—I love it. Granada has grand antique churches and all of the buildings, though decaying, have curly-Q molding and trim and intricately painted tiles. Each house is painted a different vibrant color. It makes me think of when my friend Sharoda’s parents painted her house canary yellow with royal blue trim, amidst a neighborhood of only bruise colored houses. People were not happy—if only they could see how nice it is when every house is bright!
Each night we walk from our hotel (it’s very nice, $ goes much further here…) to a street full of restaurants and shops to eat. There’s a wide-open space in the middle where children perform—dance and run around with giant puppets. It’s more obnoxious than anything else, they beat these giant piercing drums and yell and then ask for money. It’s hard to know what to do—to give them money, to say no, to buy something from them. But our teachers told us, and there’s a flyer that many restaurants put in their menu, that there is a soup kitchen that can feed every singly hungry child in Granada. But because tourists give money and food, they continue begging instead of eating at home with their families or going to the soup kitchen. Living on the street at such a young age, they say, then just makes them more likely to use drugs or prostitute later on. When I read this in the menu, it made a lot of sense but it also seems to very neatly fit in with what the restaurants want—more kids begging means less business. I suppose it’s just not very common that public interest and commercial interest align.
Our Nicaragua home