After eighteen hours of travel, we finally arrived in the Nicaraguan town of Estelí. It was 1:00 this morning. It’s only another few hours to La Soledad but we spent the day here to learn some important lessons about the history of the region.
I sat on the floor with our team from Detroit and listened as Mina Montenegro, a sixty-seven-year-old grandmother, told us how she fought in the Nicaraguan civil war of the 1970s. Mina wept as she recounted the horror of war, how it divided families against each other and how her fourteen-year-old son was brutally killed. She explained how she entrusted her sister to care for her daughters while she fought. Mina’s tears continued as she recounted how her sister betrayed her and nearly starved her daughters to death because Mina was fighting for “the other side”. Mina began to wipe her eyes when she told us how she cared for that same sister when she was ill and how they reconciled just before she died.
Then Mina smiled and thanked us for what we are about to do.
There are families in La Soledad that fought against each other during the war and I’m sure their memories are just as vivid as Mina’s. Yet, tomorrow we will enter the community and each person will sign a covenant with buildOn and more importantly, with each other. We will unite behind education and work together to build the first permanent school in La Soledad.