Today we took a tour of el Museo Nacional de Managua. Outside of the museum still stands a beautiful church fenced off from public access because it is expected to collapse any day now. The museum tour was very informative. And it helped me realize my fascination with pottery and its connection to traditional, ritual, functionality. I was even more fascinated with the earliest interactions of the Spaniards with the indigenous groups of Nicaragua, or Central America in general. This fascination has been further emphasized with my newly acquired knowledge of the history of Nicaragua after attending a group lecture led by scholar Mark Lester. Imagining the incredible culture shock each group must have felt encountering each other. What would have the world been like today had the conquistadores not encountered the natives? Or if the natives had not mistaken the Spaniards for gods? How terrifying it must have been to foresee the end of your world, all because of one grave misunderstanding. There were questions one of the caciques asked one of the conquistadores, very deep questions about life and why things are the way they are and what the end of days would be like, believing that if they were gods they would be able to answer them. As the guide was telling the story I couldn't help but notice a painting hanging above us. It depicted a conquistador and a native in profile and opposite to one another, and in between them there was a tree that bore fruit. The native held the fruit and looked like he was communicating to the conquistador. It very much resembled the depiction of the ancient Biblical narrative Adam and Eve. I thought of the end of the world of the natives as similar to that story -- the end of innocence, wisdom, the end of pure unity with Mother Earth, and the beginning of humanity's demise with the arrival of colonization.
Continuing the tour I also discovered some new artists as well that are Nicaraguan. Some names include: Armando Morales, Patricia Belli, Raul Marin, June Beer, and Ernesto Cuadra. I will elaborate a little more on one of the more significant female artists, Patricia Belli, in a future blog post.
After the museum tour we went to a local bar to get lunch. There was so much testosterone in the air of that place (no surprise it's a bar) because FIFA was happening on TV. The whole world except for the U.S. seems to be into football (unless it's American football). Thoughts of how disconnected I feel from my roots have been crossing my mind a lot since I've been here, noticing it. It's been years since I've had to communicate in Spanish, since I've been to a Spanish speaking country. I have a lot of catching up with myself to do and slowly yet surely I am doing that while I'm here. I'm slowly cracking that hard American shell I've conditioned myself to adopt just to exist. How to reconnect with my Latin roots was one of my main concerns prior to this trip.
We were going to check out some art galleries in town but both were closed, so we retreated back to La Posada de Abuela and enjoy our last moments here before we leave tomorrow. Tried some ice cream in a flavor that according to Maria is a common favorite in Nicaragua, rum and raisin. I keep feeling compelled to write in Spanish but I'm still working on my confidence in speaking it. I hate messing up, it brings me so much discomfort, at times insecurity. But I am getting better.