I wrote recently about how I felt rejuvenated after my first visit to Lagartillo. Here’s some more of the same.

This last weekend we went up to a country fair in Lagartillo.  People from five or six other communities in the hills came with their best horses and families, and participated in competitions and presentations.  We watched a Corrida de Cinta, where guys gallop past a tape strung between trees and try to snag little rings tied onto the tape with a small wooden stick. Afterward every horseman chooses his queen to mount the horse with him, and they parade around the village led by the winner.

Oswaldo was one of the more graceful gallopers

Oswaldo was one of the more graceful gallopers

Afterward there was an original theater performance, which showed the importance of taking care of the rivers and water.  The women were the spirits of the water, and struggled against the decisions of the men, dressed in fiery costumes with hats made from gasoline cans.  It was interesting how within the theme of environmentalism emerged a gender struggle, when a woman argues with her husband about where they are going to build a house.  She wants it near the river, so she doesn’t have to walk so far to do the washing.  He wants it up on a hill, where the hunting is good and there is more land.  He answers cheekily, how much he’ll enjoy watching her from behind as she leaves the house with the washing on her head, and how he’ll offer to take the heavy wash from her as she comes through the gate.  The exchange brilliantly highlighted a double standard in the machismo that is such a part of this culture.  And of course the husband wins the argument and immediately begins clearing the trees from the land.

The final song of the theater performance, with the chorus, "La tierra, hay que cuidarla!"

The final song of the theater performance, with the chorus, "La tierra, hay que cuidarla!"

Besides the clear and creatively told message in the theater performance, there were other parts of the weekend I appreciated enormously for their more subtle message.  I think there are some things here that rural Nicaraguan life can teach us northern ueberconsumers.

The grilled meat and tortilla was served not on a plate but on a large leaf from the same tree the food stand was underneath.

The cold fruit drinks were sold in sturdy plastic cups that everyone brought back to the stand where they were washed.

There was a man next to the pot of steaming coffee collecting the styrofoam cups to wash as well.

The composting toilets, which are the same as the ones in Las Cañadas, and are the cleanest sweetest smelling and most useful form of a bathroom I’ve found.  It separates solids from liquids and allows the solids to compost into usable fertilizer.

Tina uses a dried leaf that has a scratchy texture to clean off the beautiful solid ceder slanted table in her kitchen that serves as a counter, chopping block, and sink.

A solar panel runs a small light that lasts for a few hours every night, after which the kitchen is only lit with the soft light of a kerosene lamp.

All the organic scraps are thrown into a bucket for the neighbors pigs.

This landfill is six months of garbage for the whole village!

This landfill is six months of garbage for the whole village!

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