Land of My Mother: Managua, Nicaragua

My mother is from Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, which is the largest country in Central America by landmass and the penultimate smallest in terms of population (second to Panama). It remains the least developed country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere (second to Haiti).


The people of Nicaragua are beautiful and they are poor. The public education system is lacking, their political system is corrupt and the economy has been devastated by civil war and natural disaster from which it has yet to recoup. Despite all of this, the culture, language, traditions and dishes remain rich and exquisite. I recently visited for the first time since I was 16 years old. I lament that the reason was because of the passing of my grandmother and yet, the family was brought closer together in this time of grief.

I met my grandmothers friends from childhood, neighbors, community members, extended family and got to spend time with my brother and his children. I observed their process of grief and mourning and how it differs from our own. Theirs is a collective, group experience shared with friends and family for nine nights. People stopped by to give their condolences, light candles, say a prayer and partake in snacks, fresh juice and sodas. They believe the spirit of the deceased dwells here before making it’s final departure from this carnal world. This lends itself to uniting family and friends for an extended period of time after the loved one has passed, in which they reminisce about the fond memories and bonds that were forged throughout time.


About Maya

I like words like "labyrinthian," "kerfuffle," and "serendipitous" because they're mellifluous. I love poetry, pumpkin ales, sangria, long summer days, Fall foliage, going out of my way to step on crunchy leaves in October, live music, Jazz, Salsa dancing, theater, film (foreign and indie), the arts (myriad varieties), dance (in theory and practice) and any place where I can sit outdoors and take it all in.
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2 Responses to Land of My Mother: Managua, Nicaragua

  1. A nice tradition that we in North American could learn from.

  2. Absolutely beautiful! I am originally from Guatemala and I enjoy the culture of Latin America, specifically Central America. Even though the countries are in the same region, they can vary country to country. I long to take a trip to every Central American nation.

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