Circuit Assembly in Ticuantepe

Last weekend was the English Circuit assembly in Nicaragua. Since there are few English congregations in Nicaragua our circuit encompasses not only all of Nicaragua but several other countries as well. The assembly was held in Ticuantepe, a city just south of Managua in the same Department. This area is actually very close to La Concha, where my first congregation was when I first came to Nicaragua 2 years ago. It is a beautiful mountainous area where many tropical fruits are cultivated.
Salon de Asambleas - Ticuantepe Nicaragua

Hotel Costa Verde - Rama
For those of us on the Atlantic Coast the trip is a long one. For myself, I left Wednesday, spent a night at a hotel in Rama, then met up with a chunk of the congregation who were also coming by bus on Thursday. They had decided to make the trip in one day. Its 5 hours from Pearl Lagoon to Rama, then another 5 to 8 hours to Managua, so breaking it up makes it a lot more pleasant. By going a day earlier I was able to buy the tickets for the rest of the group the day before to ensure that we all made it on the express bus. Meanwhile others were flying to Managua, and others still had chartered a large van.
View from hotel balcony - Rama

Bus to Managua - but not the one we took

Somewhere near Juigalpa

A long the way we were stopped and searched by the military, apparently they were looking for someone specific. They told all the men to get off the bus and we were patted down, then they searched all the bags. As we were about to leave some genius snapped a picture of one of the soldiers with his phone (which I might add was not even set to silent). The soldier turned around and with a tired, irritated expression asked him why he had to do that. The man was told to get off the bus, and they searched his phone for the picture in order to delete it, as it is illegal to photograph police/military or official buildings in Nicaragua. Rumor on the bus was they couldn't find the picture in his phone so they smashed it.

While most stayed in Managua to the north, I opted to stay in Jinotepe, south of the convention site higher in the mountains. Having plenty of contacts there from my first trip to Nicaragua I was able to spend some time with old friends and enjoy the cool mountain climate during my time there. We also had the Pioneer meeting on Friday which was as encouraging as it was crowded. Most of the English circuit here in Nicaragua are people who have come here from other countries to serve, some commented that it was like a mini-international assembly.

I learned a few things about the English field in Nicaragua at the assembly. For example there is now an English group in San Juan del Sur, and another in San Marcos. I was surprised about San Marcos because it is they neighboring town to La Concha, and in the entire time I was there I did not meet a single soul that could speak English, but apparently there is now a sizable field. I also learned that much of the territory on the pacific side consists of Nicaraguans that have learned English and speak it well, in some cases for the sake of finding better employment. Much like it was in Merida. They also spend much time witnessing to tourists. Whereas on the Atlantic coast we see few tourists, and witness to the local Creole speaking people.

During the assembly I met up with some of our future visitors that are now with us in Pearl Lagoon, and we spent the evenings in Managua after the program. It felt very strange to be in a big city like Managua again. It kind of felt like being back in Merida, or in Canada even, with all the cars and restaurants... We even got to eat at a Pizza hut. I kind of felt like the movie Castaway where the main character is fascinated with a lighter after being stranded on the island for so long without modern conveniences.

I went back a few days after the assembly due to being held back by a cold, and took the overnight bus to Rama. This may not have been a good decision, as it turned out the bus was standing room only, for 5 hours... Afterwards i was crammed into the back of a truck to Kukra hill, followed by one more bus to Pearl lagoon. We left Managua 9:30 PM on Wednesday, and arrived in Pearl Lagoon 11:00 AM Thursday. Next time I think ill be staying the night in Rama again.

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