SST AT SEVENTY - Trip to Estelí – Part 3
Our last day in Estelí we do some sightseeing. We head to Tisey, a nature preserve near Estelí that has over 100 species of plants and animals. This reserve is one of the few areas in Nicaragua that is co-managed by local residents and the government. We hike down to Estanzuela, a 15-meter waterfall. We wade in the water, skip stones and take pictures of the falls and the students. Some even try to hit the cliff beside the falls with the stones they throw. I find all different kinds of rocks, including some that appear to be volcanic. The hike back up is more strenuous than going down. At the bottom are some concrete steps to climbing easier. That is easier if you are seven or eight feet tall! I crawl up like a baby going upstairs. I need to stop a couple of times to catch my breath. Sure glad I had that stress test before I came to Nicaragua. I get winded but no pain or light-headedness. The scenery is worth the effort.
The next hike is longer and more difficult. Geneviéve and I decide we will skip this. Those who go see a wonderful array of carvings on rocks called La Galeria Esculturas en Piedras that is the outdoor “studio” of Alberto Gutierrez. At 11 years of age he had a dream in which God told him to spend his life making carvings on rocks. For almost half a century he has carved volcanoes, Nicaraguan heroes, animals and religious scenes, including a manger scene. Don Alberto’s guided tour included stories, poems and interesting anecdotes about his life and work.
While most of the group is enjoying the carvings and laboring up and down the trail to get there and back, a few of us go with a guide to outdoor café where we order our lunch and enjoy the delicate odor of coffee tree blossoms while eating. Then the two minibuses chug their way through the green landscape, past country houses, animals, (in fields and on the road), bikes, motorcycles and even a ball game, back to the main highway. Our trip home is uneventful except for a flat tire on the rear of our minibus. The loud bang startles and scares me, but the driver keeps the vehicle under control and brings it to a stop. The two drivers, Jairo and Gerardo have the tire changed in less than 5 minutes and we are on our way again, home to Goshen College’s Casa Verde in Jinotepe .
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