December 2014

This is my second time passing through the new year in Pearl Lagoon. It doesn't seem like its been a year already. A lot has changed in Pearl Lagoon, but on the other hand some things never change. As usual the christmas and new years celebrations rivaled the time of the revolution. Explosions and smoke everywhere, running through the streets with rockets and firecrackers flying past your head every few seconds. No injuries though.

Something very exciting though, is that Pearl lagoon has just opened its first ever grocery store. Until recently one had to buy their fruit and vegetables, meat, bread or anything like that either from people on the street pushing carts full of items for sale, or to buy from people's homes that brought things in from the farm or neighboring towns. This system worked for years, however you had to take whatever you could find. What you would eat was dictated by what was available in the store. There were times that I would go out to buy food, and come home to eat nothing but plain white rice for that meal simply because there was nothing in any of the stores that happened to be open that day.

But now with this new store, they seem to be stocked with all sorts of vegetables and tropical fruit, at prices that are half, or less than half of what people were charging on the street before. Hopefully this will contribute to lowering the cost of living, which has been disproportionately high in Pearl Lagoon in comparison to the rest of Nicaragua due to the isolation.

Also, during this time of year there is a celebration that is exclusive to Pearl Lagoon. You see many strange customs when living in a foreign country, but to date this is the strangest and funniest one that I have seen. It is called "Mosco". None of the locals seem to know or have any theories about how this event started or what it is supposed to mean.

During mosco men from the community dress up as pregnant women, with monster masks and they go out chasing and beating children all over the town with cardboard sticks. As the day goes on and the "mosco" get bolder, adults may no longer be spared the beating.

During the chase however, if one of the local shops plays a certain music, all of the Mosco are required to stop and dance. If the shop owner is satisfied with their dancing they will be rewarded with money and/or rum. During these musical stops they also bring out an artificial "bull" made of sticks and plastic tarps, usually with a rainbow-painted cow skull on the front. The Mosco have a mock-fight with this bull in time with the music. Its all very lively and energetic. When the music stops the chase continues and the would-be victims run off screaming in every direction.

So far I have not been a victim of the Mosco. I think they are afraid to hit white people. The key seems to be to look busy and not show any fear when they walk by. If you try to run they will definitely chase you, and they aren't afraid to go into people's houses, as the kids often try to hide under people's beds. You know that Mosco is coming when you see a large group of children wearing their sandals on their hands. They do this because they feel they can run faster when barefoot.


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