Friday, July 8, 2011


Repaso is the Spanish past tense of repasar, and is generally translated into English as review, both in the sense of inspecting something (as in a book review), or in passing by or looking for a second time. So now that a full year has passed, it may be time for another pass, a review.

As my last post anticipated, I fled to Central America in June 2010. After some time in Costa Rica, I bought a house in a barrio near Jinotega (Hee-no-TAY-ga) in the central mountains of Nicaragua, and have been living here since October 2010.

Nicaragua is a relatively young country. The Sandinista revolution of the 80's was fairly successful, and has resulted in a remarkably peaceful and quiet political atmosphere, from what I can tell. Most Nicaraguans are quite patriotic and are proud of their nation and its government. Most English-speaking expats may not agree, but what do they know?

It is young in a demographic sense as well. I don't know the statistics, but the population of Nicaragua must be toward the low end of the global bell curve when it comes to median age. Lots of children and young people, and lots of the young girls have big bellies.

But if I expected to find the same innocent culture that I encountered in Guatemala in 1975, in that I have been disappointed. Along with money and technology, most Americans and Europeans have brought with them the corrupt morals and worldviews that threaten to completely undermine their own native cultures. And with few exceptions, Nicaraguans look up to their wealthier neighbors and want to be more like them. So the same kinds of trashy TV, political ideologies and immorality are flooding in, and folks here seem generally to be eager to emulate Americans and Europeans, even if in lemming fashion it ends with their own demise.

Thankfully, there is a significant lag, both as to the technology and to the cultural erosion. The majority of Nicaraguans are religiously inclined, and still possess a certain simplicity of life and of piety. Nicaraguans have not yet learned to be afraid of innocent human life, nor to loathe their own fertility, nor to esteem sexual deviance a virtue. Perhaps the American-European culture will finally implode as it is wont to do, and places like Nicaragua may yet awaken, change course, and escape relatively unscathed. Time will tell.

For the time being, I have indeed found "a place to live without having to fund murder and genocide with my taxes." How long it will remain thus is known to God. Time will tell.