Monday, December 26, 2011

Todos los Videos

¡Amigos, por fin llego el momento que hemos arreglado todos los videos de nuestras colaboraciones en un lugar fijo! Aquí los pueden compartir para presentaciones, distribución, exposiciones o por cualquier motivo. Gracias por combinar nuestras habilidades para crear proyectos que nos han hechos amigos inolvidables. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Hey everybody, the moment is finally here when we've organized all of our video work under one link! Here, you've got access to present, exhibit, and distribute our work for whatever reason. When we come together, our skill sets made these projects a reality and for unforgettable friendships. Happy New Year!

Por favor noten que los sitios previo de "vimeo" ya no funcionan.

Please note that all "vimeo" links prior will no longer work.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pan Dulce

Yesterday I made rosquias and Pan Dulce with Isabell and Heydi in San Juan de Limay!
I got to the kitchen and was put to work right away, without a moment to wash my hands... but dont worry I washed them. Something I noticed is missing alot in most if not all places is soap.
So the dough was already made and mixed, it consisted of ground corn (I had seen the whole grains in the morning, and was staying in a house across the street from where they have this loud machine that grinds the grains, which they have no qualms about starting to use it around 5am) quajada (their cheese) and some crisco type oil. We pressed the dough into flat circles ontop of thin plastic circles (to help move the cookie around while shaping it), pinching the edges and then let them sit out, later raw dark sugar is ground up and put on top. Rosquias (sp??) are good, but pretty hard and I really can only eat them with coffee. I tend to eat all of the edges of the cookie and save the sugar covered part for the end.
We then took some of that dough mix and added cinnamon, clove and sweet pepper, egg white and a bit of cream and sugar, and used this mixture to make empenadas. With the original dough pressed out into larger flatter circles, we filled the centers with the mixture and then folded the cookie in half and sealed the edges. I have yet to try the finished product.
I cannot tell you how much dough there was, because after filling over 5 trays, there was still enough dough left over to make a ton of sweet bread (pan dulce) which is one of my favorite things down here. You take the dough and add: Cinnamon, Clove and sweet pepper (a mixture which I think I may need to add to the collection) and then a TON of sugar, as well as a TON of cream. All of this was measured by eye, and mixed by hand in large plastic buckets. I mixed this one up, and was coverd up to my wrist with batter.
I left Limay today with a large bag of sweets!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Enchiladas Nicas

So upon arriving in Nicaragua, I regained my recently lost appitite.(I apologize ahead of time for spelling errors) I got to Esteli Saturday morning and met up with Maria. I had a bit of breakfast in Managua with Wilfredo, then again with Maria after arriving in Esteli.We then proceded, over the course of the day, to eat candy apples, nacatamales, yogurt, ice-cream, enchiladas, yucca chips and a ton of other really great stuff.
We were walking around the park and I was asking Maria what this one food was, its served on what appears to be a tortilla, but a fried tortilla, its got cabbage and tomatoes and cream, and after alot of attempted divination we gave up and walked around to find it. The first lady we found who had it, we had passed hours earlier and it apperared that the food I desired (covered in cheese and all) had been sitting out in the open, to flies, passerbys hands and who knows what else, for a few hours. I was still going to get it, but Maria convinced me not to. We continuted to walk, and I had given up all hope on getting my desired food, which we had figured out were inface enchiladas. Then at the North East corner of the park we came across a woman who was making them to order! WONDERFUL! I´ll have one. She finished making the two she was working on for a couple of girls infront of me, then proceded to lick and slobber on everyone of her fingers and ask me how many I wanted. Without wiping her hands at all, she proceded to spread pureed beans ontop of a hard and fried tortilla, toped with repocheta (a cabbage mixture) tomatoes and a couple of freshly grated cheeses. I pretended not to see her slobber on her hands and enjoyed every last bit of my enchillada, that I topped with a bit of hot sauce. It was delicious.
We also had purchased a candy apple earlier and stood underneath an over hang near by to block ourselves from the rain and enjoy our treat. These came with a couple of choclate M&M like candies on it. While we were standing there, the boy now maning the stand sneezed without covering his mouth or nose.
So is life. Maria actually has gotten very sick recently from something she ate down here. She thinks it was from some Fish tacos she had while in Leon. Everyone in our group gets sick every year. I think it is unavoidable. The way everything is done down here is quite different. We happened to be sharing our stories with our friend Julio last night over dinner (His wife made delicious pasta with oregano, cream and hard grated cheese, Julio put ketchup on his) and he was telling us that he never eats out for fear of falling ill.
I would like to keep from getting sick, but I cannot keep away from all of the greasy delicious street food.
More later on how long things have been and should not have been sitting out! As well as a delicious italian meal I made for Marias Aunt and 2 cousins.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I recently took a food saftey management course in Maryland state. I arrived in Nicarauga Friday. I want to explore the differences in what is and isn´t ok with food between our two countries, as well as post recipies I learn. Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Bigger Picture

For me, the defining experience of my time in Nicaragua was the premier of our student’s film in Limay. Overall, I felt like working with students was where I experienced the most growth and where I felt like I was able to give the most. I was constantly blown away by the talent and dedication of our team of students. I feel extremely lucky to have gotten the chance to work with Julio, Josué, Jonerling and Emmanuel and see them grow more and more confident in their skills as filmmakers. Whether it was luck, or an innate ability to work together as a team, each student seemed to gravitate towards a different role. This is something that I feel is very much a part of Nicaraguan culture. Beyond just placing the group before the individual, it’s seeing the bigger picture and instinctually knowing your strengths to work towards a common goal. I saw this while working at VIMAU and again while carving stone at the Marmolina studio. It was never about one person. It was about working together to create something that was meant to be shared.

Throughout the filmmaking process I saw this passion and dedication to working together and sharing experiences. Whether it was families inviting us into their homes to shoot, or the many citizens of Limay, including la Policía, who spent hours shooting with us, everyone was always eager to contribute. Some of the most passionate performances in the film were given by random people that were pulled off the street, who , without a script and with little direction gave amazing performances and kept going take after take! 

On our last night we premiered our student film at a local dance hall. The crowd erupted as soon as the title reading “Limay, Nicaragua” appeared on screen. I could feel not only the pride of our students, but the pride of the entire audience. The response to this film was really overwhelming. This was the first moment where I understood what our presence in Nicaragua meant to the people there.

While I can't make it back this summer I would definitely love to return. I've been hassling Josué to keep making movies via Facebook!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Moment That Stays

The trip to Nicaragua provided a lot of “firsts” for me: first trip to Central America, first time painting a mural, first time communicating in Spanish, first trip taken with strangers, first time I was forced to listen to Justin Bieber.... the list goes on. There was beauty, there was drama, epiphanies, dance parties, topless waterfall adventures.

And yet, one of my most fond memories occurs on a rather calm morning in Limay, the rural town where we were teaching art to local teens. It was only the second day of class. The muralism group was divided up amongst us teachers with the goal of going out and taking some reference photos for the murals we were designing. Sounds relatively simple, but in case you forgot, I don’t really speak Spanish that well. I’m not being modest, I had only started learning Spanish about two months before I left for Nicaragua. That’s all fine when you’re in a group-teaching setting, there’s always someone around to translate if necessary. Now I was going out alone with three kids and I was somehow supposed to maintain some kind of authority while being helpful and fun and they’re going to think I’m stupid ohmygodohmygodohmygod!

Alex, Gary, Gema and I walked outside in the late-morning heat. They understood the project – we were looking to capture everyday life in Limay: bicycles, chickens, horses. People working, cooking, living together. And that’s what we did. They would set the scene and I would take the picture. We worked together marvelously.

Alex and Gary demonstrate working together!
Alex was older than the other two, a little rebellious, the “cool” one. Gary was a sweetheart, a joker but calm, emanating an assuredness that seemed advanced for his age. Gema (pronounced Hay-ma) was shyer than the boys, but immensely kind and innovative. Like a lot of the Nicaraguans I met, they seemed to be smiling all the time. Their personalities combined with their genuine excitement to be working on this project produced a delightful hour of walking around Limay, wherein we ended up taking a lot of pictures that were later used for the mural.

Gary and Gema pose at a food stand in the park.
As we walked back to the youth center to meet up with everyone else, I remember feeling so relaxed, so at ease with these three people that I barely knew and could barely talk to. It was wonderful, it was success, it was bliss, if only for a little while. There would be more work to do, more sources of anxiety, but it’s this moment that holds on, this moment that stays with me. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Join us this week, month... y el summer!

It is with great pleasure to invite all artists regardless of language, lifestyle or belief system to join us this summer for 5 amazing weeks in the heart of Central America, sharing your talents with other socially motivated thinkers only 1902 miles or 3060 kilometros to the south (pass Mexico, wave to the Caribbean, and make a left after the Honduran border).

First, I invite you to an amazing photography exhibition from all of the 2010 muralists and videographers at the Bohemian Coffee House this month until mid March. Our opening reception with local Nicaraguan poet, Lloyd Brooks, and 2010 video shorts will premiere! From 7-9:30pm. FREE! City Paper/Baltimore Weekly

Secondly, yours truly will be facilitating Informational Sessions at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Bunting Bldg #207, Tues Feb 22 at 7:30pm and March 1st at 6:30pm.

Finally, join this unique community-based effort. Scholarships available to all based on merit and financial need through this website: Art of Solidarity/MICA in Nica

Thank you to San Juan de Limay, Esteli and Baltimore friends for staying connected with us throughout the years!

MG Aldana
Art of Solidarity Co-Founder & Program Coordinator