The WC team travels to Rio Escondido

Translated from Spanish, the Rio Escondido is the “hidden river”. It lies in the far east of Nicaragua and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Along with 10 Wilmington College (WC) students, my wife and five-year-old son, we were traveling through Nicaragua to visit family friends with whom we lived for eight weeks in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital.

WC had been designated as a sister college of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua in 1969, and I had been chosen to take students there to establish the relationship.

We were en route to the Atlantic coastal village of Bluefields.

This topic came up this morning when I asked my wife what she wanted for breakfast and she replied that she wanted fresh fruit which included pineapple – but not too much of that fruit, as she remembered our stop at Rama (translated “branch”) on the way to Bluefields, where we split a whole pineapple on our trip through Nicaragua.

His memory was clear since the underripe pineapple had burned his mouth.

Rama is a border village where boats were loaded and unloaded carrying goods from coast to coast. It was the dry season so there was a lot of river traffic.

I vividly remember the men loading and unloading the boat we were to take as they sang the Calypso songs of the Caribbean – it was like being at a Harry Belafonte festival. As is so common in most remote parts of the world, there were only two restaurants in Rama, both run by Chinese workers and serving good Chinese food.

There were no rooms in the boat where we could spend the night on the river, but mats were provided on deck. As we passed through the night and into the next morning, the sounds of the jungle and the occasional stilt house eight or 10 feet above the ground made it feel like another world – which we were.

Some of the students unaware of the sleeping norms inside the boat discovered hammocks tied in bundles and hanging from the rafters and began to help themselves, but were deterred by little conversation – they belonged to local travellers.

Two books that I read and commented on for the WNJ concerning this coast evoke some memories for me, vis-à-vis this trip. The first is “The Miskito Coast” which was made into a movie (historically known as “Miskito Coast”) – a somewhat silly story of a family from Boston who traveled to the Miskito Coast to build a gigantic air conditioner, which, of course, missed. And, secondly, “The Land That Never Was”, the story of an Englishman who sent desperate settlers to a mythical land in the same region to seek their fortune.

It was a total fraud – like I said, it made Bernie Madoff look like a novice.

It was a brief stay on the coast with very poor local people arranged by a priest. The most memorable event for my family was a meal we had with a very poor woman in her home.

Lunch was soup which had taken a while as we had arrived late, and that waiting time was just long enough for the ants to overrun our soup. I was certain that the ants swimming in our soup were just too much for my wife who was perhaps a bit too demanding to endure this humiliation.

But, alas, she came out of it, as they say, with flying colors. The spoon went into the murky mixture like a lifeline saving each of the struggling survivors, who were then released onto the table, and my victorious wife swallowed the vital soup as if it were being served in the best hotel!

The inhabitants of this isolated coastal region are mainly Garifuna, a racial mix of Africans and Native Americans. Like so many people in the third world, they struggle to survive and, when possible, they move to the big cities of the countries in which they live. Many hope to come to the United States and some realize they are coming to the United States

The many sources on the internet indicate that, of the current 300,000 Garifuna in the world, most live along the coast of Central America, but many also live in the United States and Canada, although no figures are given. given.

Neil Snarr is professor emeritus at Wilmington College.