By Abra Fisk
It’s at this time of the year that many of us in Central Minnesota are looking for something bright and inspiring to take us away from the dreariness of winter, and for me, this story fits that theme perfectly.
This past fall, I had the privilege and pleasure of traveling to Nicaragua, a beautiful and endearing land, with my father, Larry Fisk, and my friend, Alyssa Marvin. The three of us spent one month together, learning and doing as much as we could manage and thoroughly enjoying ourselves in the process.
Nicaragua is a small country located in Central America between Honduras and Costa Rica. It has a tropical climate with a rainy and a dry season, perfect for growing such crops as bananas, coffee, mangos, papaya and coconuts in addition to raising the more familiar staples of beans, rice and beef. It is a country of mountains and jungles, lakes, volcanoes and mangrove swamps. During our month-long visit to the country, we traveled from the northwest Pacific coast throughout the center of the country and out to the Corn Islands off the southeast coast in the Caribbean. We met and visited with locals throughout the trip and the people of Nicaragua are as diverse, versatile and vibrant as they are proud to be united under the title of Nicaraguan.
One of the great uniting events for this nation was the legislative and presidential elections of 2011. The purpose of our trip, though it was certainly for enjoyment as well, was to experience for ourselves the electoral process of Nicaragua. The elections took place Nov. 6, 2011, and we had arrived in the country a couple of weeks beforehand to begin familiarizing ourselves with the process, as well as to experience the campaign and speak to the locals about their pre-election expectations.
We stayed in the country through Nov. 16, 2011, so as to experience the public’s reaction to the official outcome. The entire experience was enriching and educational, but more than anything else it was truly inspiring.
The 2011 Nicaraguan elections were a bright example of democracy in a country which has in the past century experienced foreign occupation, rigged elections and outright despotism. President Daniel Ortega won the popular vote in a landslide, and citywide public celebrations after the fact were all the proof needed to believe that the outcome was fully endorsed by the people.
The hope for the future that was clearly present in the hearts and minds of the Nicaraguan people was truly inspiring, perhaps most of all because it stemmed from a firm conviction that peace and justice could be secured in Nicaragua through the unity and hard work of the Nicaraguan people and their commitment to a better future for their children. It is hard not to be inspired by a people who have been through so much war, exploitation and economic hardship in the recent past, yet refuse to give up in their fight to make all of their tomorrows better than their today.
For anyone interested in learning more about our travels and cultural experiences in Nicaragua in addition to information on the current social and political situation, we will be give a public slideshow presentation on the campus of the Franciscan Sisters Thursday, at 6:30 p.m.
Abra Fisk is a resident of Little Falls.