Posted by: HelenRortvedt | 3 April 2006


I finally found a few moments to finish this entry. OK, here goes:

These are my favorite buildings in Jinotepe. They remind me of Central Havana, near the Univeristy with all their art deco, paint-fading fabulousness.

It’s a small world, and an even smaller country, but I was still surprised to see one of the two gringas I know in Nica in the room right next door to ours at Selva Negra, in Matagalpa with dad. Stephanie (middle) is another FSD intern and was travelling with a friend of hers from home (Becca, left) and wound up here at the same time as Dad and I!

Enchanted Forest. Selva Negra is a truly special place. Well preserved tropical forest, excellent hiking trails, great hosts, and a non-denominational enchanted chapel covered in moss to boot!

This is the view from the top of the mountain Selva Negra sits on. Dad and I had a great hike up here, and all over the property. We think we hit pretty near every inch of trails there are over the course of our three days there…

The sun peeking through the dense canopy of Selva Negra.

Pausing for a moment of reflection…

We descended the mountain on the trail called “Fuente de Juventud”, or, “Fountain of Youth”, so named because of it’s ridiculously steep path…much harder to come down than to go up, although, as this sign warns, both directions are difficult!

Coffee Blossom. Unfortunately, it has been a little drier than normal in Selva Negra, and the coffee blossoms were already out, meaning the harvest is soon to follow, a little earlier than normal. The blossoms are beautiful though, and smell like honeysuckle!

Taking it all in…

Selva Negra is a self-sufficient community, with workers’ housing, a school, various kitchens and other facilities and a community that is dedicated to preserving this special place. These are some of the worker’s houses in the distance.

Flags. The Nicaraguan flag in the background, and the Matagalpan flag in the foreground.

Ladies. On dad’s last night in Jinotepe, we took “a few” people in my host family out for pizza. I don’t think dad was prepared for the fact that, in a family this big, a “few” means 17! These are all the ladies that were present.

Los chavalos. These are all the boys (and me, of course)

Mis Padres. My host mom, and my dad and I at Pizza Colisseo in Jinotepe. Don’t worry, Mom, you haven’t been replaced, but Jaimileth has certainly been an excellent surrogate mother!

Small World, part deux. Me and Kari Obma (childhood friend of one of my best friends from St. Olaf, Sara Stry) who happened to be travelling through Granada last weekend, while I was there to celebrate the last weekend of one of my FSD friends! It was so much fun to see a familiar face in Nicaragua!


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