Christianity seems to be an important part of society here. Last Sunday I went to church with a local that I met here, Juriel. He goes to the local catholic church here. There are actual a few other churches in this tiny town. There is some sort of non-denominational church and there is also a Jehovah’s witness church as well. As for the catholic mass, there were many similarities to catholic masses in the states, but what surprised me was the music. The music at this particular church (again I cannot generalize) was much more contemporary and it sounded very happy. It was much more of a celebration that I was used to in a catholic church.
Yesterday I happened to be over at Frutilandia talking to Walmero, Luvianca, and their family when a procession from the catholic church came by. Apparently this was only a small procession, because this is a small town. But in larger cities, the processions can be much bigger. I decided to take a video so that I could share it on this blog. What was cooler than seeing the procession to me was seeing people that I knew. I have only been here a few weeks. And what you cannot see in the video is me waving at one of my students. Another guy, Yuri, I had talked with says said hi to me while he was carrying the statue. I love the little town atmosphere here. Everyone is so friendly and it is easy to get to know people.
Another interesting note about Christianity here is that the country declares itself to be a Christian nation, although there is no official religion. Take a look at these signs.
I am not offering any opinion of my own on the government here. I really don’t know enough about it to have an opinion. Keeping up with American politics is a job in and of itself! I haven’t had time to really delve into politics and government policies here. I just wanted to point out what is an obvious cultural difference between Nicaragua and the US. We hold firm (most of us) to the idea of separation of church and state. And it is not that the church is the ruling body here, but the government acknowledges the religion of the majority of people here in Nicaragua. It is very different perspective for Americans.
Regardless of my own religious and political beliefs, I respect the right of every person to choose for himself or herself, and the right of every country to choose what is best for them. This is not to say that there aren’t governments that should be stopped for doing things that clearly are not in the best interests of their people. But, I think the diversity of all of the countries of the world is a beautiful thing and that if we were all exactly the same, we would all be missing out. Experiencing this type of diversity really opens your mind and gives you a much broader perspective of the world (if you let it!).