Nicaragua Podcast #1: Introduction

15

November
2011

View of Managua from the Loma de Tiscapa.

Listen:

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In the summer of 1979, my family left Nicaragua for the United States as a result of the Sandinista Revolution. I was six years old at the time and remember very little of what transpired.

Like many Nicaraguans, we weren’t alone in the exodus that ensued, but we were certainly on our own. It was a sudden, traumatic uprooting which took my family many years to recover from.

I wish I could remember more, but I was too young to understand what was happening, though, somehow I knew that we were moving away and not coming back.

We took with us just a few bags of luggage, and not much more. The items that people keep as part of their personal history—like baby pictures, heirlooms, and other mementos—simply don’t exist for me from before the Revolution, save for the odd photo that’s turned up over time. All of it had to be left behind. However, there is one exception: the memories of my Nicaraguan childhood.

Those will always be with me.

The handful of memories I keep of my earliest childhood feel more like dreams than anything else—a collection of vignettes that come and go in a flash. Yet they feel very real. Many are vague and brief, while others are vivid and extended. Lots of things can trigger those memories—people, places, sounds, smells.

I wish I could remember more.

Until the year 2010, I had not returned to Nicaragua in over three decades. I was essentially disconnected from the country and the culture in which I was born, and the family on both sides of my parents to which I belong.

And while I am a citizen of the United States, and very much a product of its culture, I will always be Nicaraguan and my first language will always be Spanish.

Thanks to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I have a chance to return to Nicaragua for upwards of a year, where I hope to reconnect with family, explore the culture, and embrace a newfound sense of identity.

Along the way, I want to share some childhood memories and the record the stories of family and friends I come across.

I hope to remember more.

Credits:

  • Production – Bernard Gordillo
  • Music – Aria da capo, Goldberg Variations, BWV 988; J.S.Bach; Robert Hill, harpsichord; Music & Arts label.
[N.B. This is not an official Department of State website or blog. The views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State.]

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