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  1. A North Korean honor guard waits for the arrival of Choe Ryong Hae, vice chairman of North Korea's State Affairs Commission, at the Pyongyang Airport Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Hae was headed to Nicaragua to attend the inauguration of their President-elect Daniel Ortega. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A senior North Korean delegation left Pyongyang on Friday to attend the inauguration of Nicaragua's newly elected President Daniel Ortega. Choe Ryong Hae, a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is heading the delegation as a special envoy. Choe has become something of the foreign face of the North Korean government with his relatively frequent trips lately. He is vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission, one of North Korea's most powerful institutions, and is vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Worker's Party of Korea, along with being a member of its politburo. Kim Jong Un has yet to make an official trip abroad although he has been in power for more than five years. In the meantime, Choe has served as Kim's special envoy on missions to Moscow and Beijing in past years and more recently headed Pyongyang's delegation to Cuba for Fidel Castro's funeral. Before that, he led the North's participation at the Rio Olympics. Choe's trip to Nicaragua comes as North Korea is facing increased international pressure after two nuclear tests and a satellite test launch in 2016. The United Nations imposed a new round of sanctions at the end of November last year that included measures to limit North Korea's diplomatic activities around the world. Choe, sent off by an honor guard, departed Pyongyang on Friday morning's scheduled Air Koryo flight to Vladivostok. He was expected to travel via Moscow and Cuba before arriving in Nicaragua. North Korea and Nicaragua opened diplomatic relations in 1979.
  2. There's fresh impetus to explore Namibia's startling landscapes this year CREDIT:FOTOLIA 6 JANUARY 2017 • 12:31PM If your ambition this year is to try new things and explore new places, you're in luck. From Nicaragua to Tajikistan, a number of hitherto "undiscovered" destinations are increasingly catering to discerning holidaymakers, with a host of new resorts opening and experiences launching over the year to come. Read below for more on the most exciting outdoor adventures to be enjoyed around the world in 2017, or for something more sedate see our guides to 2017's best wellness and fitness breaks; 2017's best luxury beach holidays; the year's best yachting and sailing holidays; and the best cities to visit over the next 12 months. The Desert Circuit: Namibia Exclusive Lodges The four new luxury lodges on the Namibia Exclusive circuit are located in some of the most remote and beautiful northern parts of the country, each designed by architect Greg Scott and built of local materials that reflect the region’s landscapes and cultural traditions. Sorris Sorris Lodge in Damaraland has been built into huge granite boulders scattered across the desert landscape, its modern African rammed-earth structures and pool offering views over the Ugab River and the mountains of the Brandberg Massif. Sorris Sorris Lodge Omatandeka Lodge is surrounded by vast plains inhabited by the Himba people, table-top mountains and a vital wildlife corridor used by mountain zebra, oryx and endangered black rhino, while Sheya Shuushona Lodge, on the northern boundary of Etosha National Park, is surrounded by photogenic salt pans that change colour with the seasons and turn into a lake in the rainy season. Finally, Xaudum Lodge, the most recent addition, is surrounded by the sand dunes of the Kalahari, home to some 3,000 elephants. All four lodges are located in areas with indigenous communities and contribute funds so these people can continue to live in traditional ways on their ancestors’ land. The Explorations Company offers a nine-night safari, staying at three Namibia Exclusive lodges, from £8,985 per person including flights, air transfers, full board and guiding. The Italian Castle: Castello di Ugento, Puglia There are few buildings in Europe in which guests can stay above a Norman keep, dine beneath 17th-century Baroque frescoes and wander around a garden in which Bronze Age artefacts have been found. In April, on the southern heel of Italy, the (rather wonderfully named) d’Amore family will open their restored thousand-year-old Castello di Ugento to paying guests for the first time (doubles from £260). Visitors can relax within walled gardens, in which more than 100 medicinal and aromatic plants are grown for the kitchen and spa; admire the frescoes painted in 1694 to portray the noble family’s history; sample local wines in an ancient cistern-turned-cellar; and take cookery lessons in a wing turned by the Culinary Institute of America into its first European school. A maximum of 18 guests will sleep in stone-walled rooms with high, star-vaulted ceilings and views over Ugento’s rooftops, and they will feast on Puglian favourites cooked by Milanese chef Odette Fada, whose refined cuisine at the renowned Rex Il Ristorante in Los Angeles and San Domenico NY made her name as one of America’s finest Italian chefs. The nearest beaches are two miles away and Baroque towns such as Lecce are a short drive from the castle. The Urban Forest: Aman Shanghai Aman’s latest property in China (its fourth) must be one of its most anticipated to date. The Shanghai retreat (rates not yet available) is a picture of leafy tranquility – and full of surprises. If a visitor were to drop into the 100-acre property, planted with thousand-year-old camphor trees and interspersed with historic Ming- and Qing-dynasty houses, they’d never believe that they were within easy reach of buzzy downtown Shanghai. Neither the forest nor village are native to this area; both were moved here over the past 10 years from Jiangxi, some 500 miles southwest, by Ma Dadong, a pioneering businessman, when the building of a reservoir threatened their survival. Aman Shanghai Now that the painstaking replanting (which took three years) and the building of the hotel are complete, the 37 villas in the new sanctuary are being decorated with original beams, floors, sculptures and carvings from the uplifted village homes. Kerry Hill, the project’s architect, has taken care to reflect traditional Chinese culture while blending in contemporary comforts and natural tones of earth, moss and creamy whites. Guests can take day trips to Shanghai, walk in the forest, sample Eastern cuisine, or relax in the spa, beside the two pools or in the Nan Shu Fang contemplation garden. The South American Sleeper: The Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru For the first time in May 2017, travellers will be able not only to traverse the Andes in one of the most luxurious trains on earth, but to sleep overnight on one. The Belmond Andean Explorer has been built to carry up to 68 passengers in en-suite cabins decorated by the South African designer Inge Moore in contemporary light woods and comforting alpaca-wool colours. Each of the train’s cars is fitted with expansive windows to frame views of the Andean plains, mountains and grand architecture, including the Unesco World Heritage Site of Arequipa. Although another two trains already operate in this area – Belmond’s Hiram Bingham, which offers day trips to Machu Picchu, and the more traditional Inca Princess – this is the first modern luxury train to offer trips from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, on one- and two-night journeys. Chefs from the Hotel Monasterio in Cusco will serve modern Peruvian cuisine in two dining cars; guests can also enjoy spacious lounge and observation cars, and an open deck. Doubles from £738 , all-inclusive, for one night. The Gorilla Camp: Bisate Lodge, Rwanda One of the key trends in Africa in 2017 is the growth of camps that offer both sustainable luxury and adventure. Hence Wilderness Safaris’ decision to open Bisate Lodge in June as a luxury base for tracking the 10 habituated gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park (doubles from £1,762 full board, excluding gorilla permits). The lodge, raised high above the forest floor in the amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone, has been designed by architect Nick Plewman to echo the spherical, thatched structures that dot the hills, as well as the layout of traditional Rwandan palaces. The interiors by Caline Williams-Wynn have been inspired by the rich detail of Rwandan textiles, many of which are made using a technique called imigongo, an ancient art form incorporating geometric shapes. When the first guests arrive, they will be able not only to track gorillas, but to hike to Dian Fossey’s grave and her former research station at Karisoke, to trek to the top of a nearby volcano, and then to relax in the extensively reforested gardens. The Jungle Retreat: Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, Nicaragua Nicaragua’s first luxe mountain resort sits in the lush landscape of Nandaime, just 40 minutes’ drive from the pretty colonial city of Granada. Nekupe – or heaven, in the indigenous Chorotega language – was designed with the help of a feng shui architect to have the highest energy flow and least environmental impact possible, and the four freestanding villas and four expansive suites, with king-sized beds, made-for-sharing bathtubs and alfresco showers, are decorated in earth tones and warm woods that echo the serene setting (doubles from £720, full board). Floor-to-ceiling windows frame views over Mombacho volcano’s perfect cone, and wraparound terraces are perfect for sipping daiquiris, before farm-to-table feasts of nuevo-Nicaraguan cuisine. Nekupe will provide access to Nicaragua's underexplored nature reserves The surrounding nature reserve, which echoes with the sounds of primates and toucans, can be explored on ATVs, as well as on paths created for hikers, bikers and horseback riders, or on zip wires, which soar above the forest canopy. For those not expending energy on target-shooting, tennis and yoga, there is an infinity pool and a spa. The Cook Ski Spot: Lech, Austria Size matters to ski resorts, so the hotly anticipated coronation of Ski Arlberg as Austria’s largest contiguous ski area is big news indeed. Encompassing eight villages, including big hitters St Anton, Lechand Zürs, Ski Arlberg is already one of the best-known ski areas in the Alps. But now its four new lifts are open, linking the entire area to deliver 109 miles of pistes (three more than Val d’Isère), Ski Arlberg will join the ranks of the world’s über resorts. New developments have given Lech a leg up The four connected lifts, known as the Flexenbahn, will place Lech at the epicentre of the ski area (stealing some thunder from St Anton). While expanding its lifts, Lech has also been consolidating its position as Austria’s leading town for luxury ski chalets. In December – hot on the heels of properties like the Aurelio Clubhouse, Chalet N, Chalet 1597 and Überhaus, which have raised the luxury bar in recent years – Severin’s Alpine Retreat will open its doors. The nine-suite hotel will be fitted with only the best: Minotti furnishings, a spa with an indoor infinity pool and hypoxic chamber for altitude training, and a ski room with bespoke Indigo kit. Guests can take over the chalet, for free rein over the suites, restaurant, capacious spa and fire-lit lounges, or plump for The Residence: a sleek four-bedroom private apartment spanning two floors with a professional kitchen, cinema, bar and outdoor hot tub. The Oxford Ski Company offers a week for two people at Severin’s Alpine Retreat from £6,440, including transfers and flights. The Rugged Destination: Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan Tajikistan was the second-fastest growing tourist destination in the world in 2015, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Which is why in 2017 Edge Expeditions will be running a two-week Luxury Tajikistan tour of the country’s spectacular Pamir Mountains: one the most diverse, wild, exhilarating and least-explored corners of the planet. With a team of expert guides, a maximum of eight guests will traverse the raw wilderness by either four-wheel-drive vehicles, with a driver, or motorbikes. Journeying along the legendary Pamir Highway, travellers will spend days exploring azure mountain lakes, hidden valleys, ancient ruins and high mountain passes that very few outsiders ever get to see. The trip starts off at a five-star hotel in the capital, Dushanbe, while on the road the ground crew will prepare yurt camps with hot showers, comfortable beds, Egyptian cotton sheets and gourmet meals prepared by the expedition’s private chef. Along the way, both British and Tajik guides will interpret the layered history of the region, while astronomers with telescopes will also be on hand to explore some of the least light-polluted night skies in the world. Edge Expeditions is offering a 14-day Luxury Tajikistan journey by four-wheel-drive or motorcycle, from £9,495 full board, starting and ending at Dushanbe, including transfers, motorcycle rental or vehicle (with driver), back-up vehicles, guides and medic, but excluding international flights.
  3. A COLONIAL HOUSE WITH A COURTYARD IN THE CENTER OF GRANADA $1.3 MILLION This six-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath house, known as Casa Blanca, is in the heart of Granada, Nicaragua, a small western city founded in the 1520s along the shore of Lake Nicaragua. The rich colonial heritage of the city, one of the oldest in Central America, is reflected in the stately architecture of this and other buildings. Casa Blanca, a colonial house with a white concrete facade and a red-clay tile roof, was built in the 1750s for a wealthy family from Spain, according to Carlos E. Gutierrez, a broker for Nicaragua Sotheby’s International Realty, which is listing the property. The two-story house, with a two-car garage, is on the corner of the pedestrian-only Calle La Calzada, near the Granada Cathedral and Central Park, the bustling city center. “It’s a pretty optimal location,” said Trevor Barran, the managing partner of the Sotheby’s affiliate, which opened for business last spring. The current owners acquired the property about five years ago, Mr. Barran said, and they spent two years renovating and upgrading it, restoring myriad architectural details throughout the 6,000 square feet of living space. Those flourishes include coffered and vaulted ceilings with tongue-and-groove, or machimbre, paneling; wood molding; and encaustic floor tiles handmade locally. The furnishings, most from the Managua manufacturer Simplemente Madera, are included in the sale. Ornate wrought-iron gates enclose the doors to the two main entrances, which open to a large central foyer with a seating area, one of three designated living rooms. The ground floor also contains four guest bedrooms, three of which have en-suite baths, and a small en-suite bedroom suitable for staff off the modern kitchen. All the bedrooms except the staff quarters have air-conditioning, Mr. Barran said. The master suite, with a TV alcove and a spalike bath, encompasses the second floor. It includes a balcony that offers views of the cathedral and overlooks the home’s lush central courtyard. Nearly every room on the first level leads to the courtyard, which is landscaped with tropical foliage like aloe and ginger plants and features an open-air dining area and a 40-foot pool. Granada, with a population of around 120,000, is about 28 miles from Managua, the capital. It is a 55-minute drive to the Managua airport and around three hours to the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica. MARKET OVERVIEW As Nicaragua’s past political turmoil has faded in memory, the country has become a popular tourist spot and a second-home destination, according to real estate agents. The real estate market “really opened up” from 2002 to 2004, when there was “tremendous growth for the country,” said Mr. Gutierrez of Sotheby’s. By 2006, “the market was booming,” he said. After the 2008 global financial crisis, “everything just went into hibernation,” he added. But sales and prices have rebounded in the last four years, agents said. “People feel confident about the country,” said Carlos Gutierrez, a residential developer and an owner of Casa Granada Properties, a real estate agency based in Granada. (He is not related to Mr. Gutierrez of Sotheby’s.) Home sales across Nicaragua are up, on average, 15 percent to 20 percent from a year ago, said Mr. Gutierrez, the developer. In Granada, “the rental market is also really growing,” he added, “because people want to try it out first before buying.” He estimated that rental volume in the city is up about 40 percent over the last five years. Although prices in Nicaragua have been rising — doubling in some beach communities since 2007, according to agents — home values remain far lower than in neighboring countries like Costa Rica. (The price for a three-bedroom, fully renovated home in Granada, for instance, typically starts at around $170,000, according to Mr. Gutierrez, the developer.) “Property values are around 50 percent less than Costa Rica,” Mr. Gutierrez of Sotheby’s said. “Nicaragua reminds me of Costa Rica 30 years ago.” WHO BUYS IN NICARAGUA Buyers from the United States, Canada and Europe have been active in Nicaragua’s housing market, particularly at the higher end, agents said, with most of them looking for second homes or development properties to hold and use. “About 10 years ago people would just buy as an investment, but there are really no speculators anymore,” said Eduardo Cabrales, a lawyer based in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Granada has had an influx of expatriate retirees, agents said, because of the city’s affordable cost of living, along with its colonial charm, walkability and shops, restaurants and other amenities. BUYING BASICS There are no restrictions on foreign ownership, except for properties near the borders “for homeland security reasons,” Mr. Cabrales said. In fact, policies and laws encourage foreign purchases, such as a residency program that offers tax incentives to retirees, he added. Foreigners, though, have fewer mortgage options available, so purchases typically are in cash, he said. It is essential for buyers to hire a good lawyer, preferably one who can provide a reliable translation of the purchase agreement and be present at the closing on behalf of the buyer, Mr. Cabrales said. The lawyer will also need to conduct the necessary due diligence, which includes the key step of reviewing the title deed, or escritura, to ensure there are no liens against the property or ownership issues. WEBSITES Nicaragua tourism: Nicaragua MLS: LANGUAGES AND CURRENCIES Spanish; Nicaraguan Córdoba (1 Córdoba = $0.034) TAXES AND FEES Each transaction typically involves just one real estate agent, who is paid a commission, usually by the seller, of 5 percent to 8 percent of the sales price. There are various other fees involved in a transaction — these are typically paid by the buyer — such as a federal transfer tax of 1 percent to 4 percent of the assessed value of the property after it is registered to the buyer. Other expenses include the annual municipal tax of 1 percent of the assessed value of the property, as well as fees for a lawyer and a notary (although many lawyers are notaries). The lawyer’s fee is typically 1 percent of the purchase price, Mr. Cabrales said. CONTACT Carlos E. Gutierrez, Nicaragua Sotheby’s International; from the United States, 305-608-0797; in Nicaragua, 505-7530-7890;
  4. 2700 attending a regional convention on a mango farm in El Viejo, Nicaragua Via
  5. Earthquake hits, triggering tsunami warnings, after Nicaragua Caribbean coastline battered by hurricane A 7.0 magnitude earthquake has shaken El Salvador and Nicaragua, just an hour after a powerful hurricane hit Nicaragua's eastern coast. The double whammy was a grim test for a largely poor region which lacks resources and emergency plans for natural disasters. Salvadoran authorities issued a tsunami alert as a precaution after the tremor, which struck around 75 miles off the coast of El Salvador, at a depth of 20 miles beneath the Pacific Ocean, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake was first measured at a magnitude of 7.2 but was then downgraded. "Hazardous" waves measuring about up to 1m (three feet) are possible to hit coastal areas within 300km of the quake's epicentre. Shaking was also felt in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, and as far as the Costa Rican capital San Jose. Nicaragua's president, Daniel Ortega, declared a state of emergency immediately after the quake. The country was already on alert for an hurricane which struck earlier the same day, as was Costa Rica. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, according to the country's civil defense agency. Just one hour before the earthquake, a powerful hurricane, Otto, packing winds of 110mph, made landfall on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast. Thousands of people had already been evacuated from coastal areas into shelters - a total of 7,000 people are expected to evacuate in Nicaragua alone. Government officials said some people had refused to evacuate but did not say how many. Earlier this week, four people died in Panama due to outer bands of the storm. The heavy rains it was offloading were likely to cause dangerous flooding and mud slides, according to the US National Hurricane Center, as much as 20 inches of rain are expected in isolated areas across northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua. Schools were shut down and emergency teams were mobilised. Otto was the southernmost hurricane to ever make landfall in Central America, the NHC said, and residents were not prepared. The storm came ashore on Thursday near the Costa Rican border on the town of San Juan de Nicaragua, also known as Greytown. Residents said they were scared, and saw heavy rains and winds rip off roofs and bring down cable lines. In the town of Bluefields, panic buying meant bottled water and lamps were swept off the shelves, and some residents fled in boats while others hammered themselves into their homes with metal sheeting, praying the storm would move on. Otto will weaken as it moves inland and will likely become a tropical storm by Thursday evening, the center added. It is currently travelling west at around 9mph, chewing its way along both sides of Costa Rica's and Nicaragua's coastlines.
  6. Tropical Storm Otto is nearing hurricane strength in the southwest Caribbean Sea, and is forecast to be an extremely rare late November hurricane landfall, posing a danger of flooding and mudslides in parts of Central America. A hurricane watch was issued Tuesday morning for Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua. This means that hurricnae conditions are possible here within 48 hours. In addition, a tropical storm warning was issued in Panama from Nargana to Colon, where tropical storm conditions are expected beginning Tuesday. A tropical storm watch is also in effect from west of Colon, Panama to Costa Rica. A tropical storm watch was issued Monday night for San Andres Island, a Colombian island in the Caribbean Sea located about 125 miles east of the Nicaragua coast. This means tropical storm conditions are possible there within 48 hours. Tropical Storm Otto continues to march in place, located just over 200 miles southeast of San Andres Island, or about 330 miles east-southeast of Bluefields, Nicaragua, as of Tuesday morning. Otto is finally expected to begin to drift westward later Tuesday followed by a faster motion toward the west-northwest or west by Wednesday, as clockwise steering flow around high pressure building to its north will send this system westward toward the coast of Nicaragua or Costa Rica. Projected Path The red-shaded area denotes the potential path of the center of the tropical cyclone. Note that impacts (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding) with any tropical cyclone may spread beyond its forecast path. Tropical storm force winds currently extend out to about 70 miles from the center of circulation, making Otto a relatively small tropical cyclone. Wind shear is expected to be weak to moderate over the next few days, and small tropical cyclones can also intensify quickly, particularly given heat content in the southwest Caribbean Sea is well above average for this time of year. Given all this, Otto will intensify, becoming a rare, late-season hurricane before making landfall in Nicaragua or Costa Rica on Thanksgiving Day. Heavy rain, flash flooding and mudslides will be major concerns for Central America, including Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Some locations may pick up over 10 inches of rain from Otto. In addition, areas of heavy rain well to the north of the circulation may trigger flooding in parts of Honduras and Belize. Any wind and storm surge impact will depend on the strength of the system as it moves inland, which remains somewhat uncertain at this time. Otto is expected to weaken soon after making landfall, as the circulation is hampered by the higher terrain of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. However, there is some potential for the circulation to survive in some form once it emerges into the eastern Pacific Ocean. Atlantic tropical cyclones crossing into the eastern Pacific Basin have happened numerous times in the past. How Unusual is a Named Storm This Late in the Hurricane Season? November Atlantic Basin tropical cyclones aren't all that unusual. In November, tropical cyclones typically form where the waters are warmest. Thus, one cluster of storms forming in November is in the western Caribbean Sea. A second broad area of formation is in a broad swath of the western and central Atlantic Ocean, sometimes spinning off from an old frontal boundary, sometimes transitioning from a cold-core low to a subtropical or tropical cyclone.
  7. "Infinitamente gracias a la Academia por este reconocimiento que es para todo un pueblo”, dijo el cantautor. La Academia Latina de la Grabación le otorgó el Premio del Consejo Directivo al cantautor nicaragüense Carlos Mejía Godoy, galardón que recibió de manos de su sobrino, el salsero Luis Enrique.“La persona premiada es de mi país y fue una gran inspiración en mi vida, muy pocas veces tiene uno el honor de homenajear a una persona que quiere mucho… mi tío, Carlos Mejía Godoy”, expresó el salsero.“No pueden imaginarse el estado anímico que me encuentro al recibir esta presea importante. Esta presea es de Nicaragua… infinitamente gracias a la Academia por este reconocimiento que es para todo un pueblo”, dijo el cantautor Carlos Mejía. “Infinitamente gracias a Dios, mis padres y hermanos por creer en mí. No tengo más palabras en este momento Nicaragua, la nicaragüita se está asomando a nuestro rostro ya nuestro corazón que palpita de emoción” continúo diciendo el nicaragüense, quien terminó con un ¡viva Nicaragua! La actividad se realizó en el Hotel Four Seasons, de Las Vegas. Gabriel Abaroa Jr. Presidente/CEO de La Academia Latina de la Grabación dijo que durante estos premios especiales se le han otorgado a más de cien leyendas vivientes y que ahora era el turno de ocho nuevas leyendas, quienes recibirán un sencillo pero merecido homenaje. Carlos Mejía Godoy estuvo acompañado por su esposa Xochilt Jiménez, hijos, sobrinos y amigos.
  8. A Nicaraguan voter gets his finger marked with indelible ink by an electoral official after casting ballot at a polling station during the country's general elections, in Managua, Nicaragua, on Sunday. Six candidates, including the incumbent president Daniel Ortega, are vying to be the Central American nation's next head of state. Photo by Jorge Torres/EPA MANAGUA, Nicaragua, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was poised to easily capture his third consecutive term and fourth overall as voters headed to the polls Sunday. His wife, Rosario Murillo, is his vice presidential running mate against five lesser-known candidates. Ortega, 70, is a former Marxist guerrilla who became the country's first post-revolutionary president, serving until 1990. He lost his reelection bid in 1990 to Violeta Chamorro, the U.S.-backed candidate of the National Opposition Union, but won the presidency in 2006. A court decision allowed Ortega to run for re-election in 2011 despite a one-term limit. Then a constitutional amendment allowed unlimited presidential terms. M&R Consultants' national poll shows 69.8 percent planned to vote for Ortega and his leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front Party, compared with 8.1 percent for right-wing opposition candidate Maximino Rodriguez. Another 15.5 percent identified themselves as independents, or refused to answer the survey, M&R said. Many detractors have called for a boycott. "The elections are controlled by a single party," Julio Salazar, who says he plans not to cast a ballot, told the Los Angeles Times. "We are left with no options." Ortega has presided over a strong economy. "His government has maintained a healthy economy, with significant increase in direct foreign investment of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars per year," journalist and political analyst Adolfo Pastran said in the Inter-American Dialogue. "Ortega has said he will continue doing the same and better in order to maintain a healthy economy, reduce poverty, engage in dialogue with the private sector, and improve public safety and the lives of Nicaraguans."
  9. Nuestra hermana todos los domingos, estudia con una familia que vive en el otro lado de este río en Nicaragua ... cuando se inunda el pequeño puente no hay otra manera de cruzarlo, saltar al otro lado en este momento, es un verdadero ¡salto de fe! Este lugar se llama Las Latas, Nicaragua!
  10. Nicaragua's landmark Momotombo volcan erupted for the first time in 110 years back in December, 2015. | Photo: ReutersThe National Preventive System for Disasters, or SINAPRED, have activated operatives in the affected areas including the capital city of Managua. An earthquake measuring at least 5.4 on the Richter scale struck 7-and-a half miles from the municipality of Laz Paz Centro and in close proximity to the active Volcano Momotombo in Nicaragua late Wednesday, sparking major aftershocks, and fear, but no reported casualties. The earthquake struck at 11:57 PM local time, and an initial afterschock measuring 4.4. After the initial aftershock, the National Preventive System for Disasters, or SINAPRED, report that another 10 had followed. Even more are expected, according to SINAPRED authorities, who have also confirmed the earthquake is connected to the 6.1. and 7.3 earthquakes that hit Nicaragua in April and October 2014, respectively. According to Dr. Armando Saballos, authorities are assessing the situation and monitoring the activity of Momotombo, which so far has given "no indication that the volcano has increased in activity." Various news agencies reported the Wednesday earthquake measured anywhere from 5.4 to 5.9 in magnitude. The maximum ever recorded on the Richter scale was 9.5 by a 1960 Chilean earthquake. Thousands of Nicaraguans were evacuated after the Momotombo volcano erupted for the first time in 110 years back in December 2015, spewing lava, ash and smoke. The volcano last erupted in 1905. In 1610, the Momotombo erupted so fiercely it forced the city of Leon to move.
  11. Envía misiva ayer domingo, antes de comenzar la semana patria. Un mensaje al gobierno nicaragüense por razones de celebrar el mes patrio envió el presidente de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, ayer domingo. El saludo fue por la conmemoración del 195 aniversario de la Independencia de este país centroamericano el próximo 15 de septiembre de los corrientes. “En esta ocasión histórica, quiero reafirmar el compromiso de los Estados Unidos de construir una relación de colaboración con el pueblo de Nicaragua, para ayudar a asegurar un futuro seguro, democrático y próspero para el hemisferio”, redacto Obama en la carta enviada al presidente Daniel Ortega. Al final del mensaje Obama señaló que “el pueblo de los Estados Unidos se une a mí para desearle a los nicaragüenses un feliz día de independencia”. Los presidentes de Irán, Cuba y México ya han felicitado a Nicaragua por la celebración de su Día de la Independencia.
  12. La antorcha de la paz y la libertad de Centroamérica llegará este lunes a Managua donde será recibida por el presidente Daniel Ortega, informó el Ministerio de Educación (Mined). La antorcha, que ingresó por la frontera con Honduras el sábado pasado, llegará al departamento de Managua tras recorrer el norte de Nicaragua. La Coordinadora del Consejo de Comunicación y Ciudadanía, Rosario Murillo, anunció que Román “Chocolatito” González, el tetracampeón mundial de boxeo, será quien entregue la Antorcha Centroamericana al presidente de la república, Daniel Ortega. “La antorcha será llevada por el cuatro veces campeón del mundo, para nosotros será un orgullo recibir ese fuego libertario, por un nicaragüense que ha puesto en alto con gran humildad el nombre de nuestra Nicaragua”, resaltó Murillo. Rumbo a Costa Rica La antorcha recorrerá 503 kilómetros en suelo nicaragüense y será portada por 12,800 estudiantes, según las autoridades. Nicaragua entregará a Costa Rica la tea centroamericana este martes, en el puesto fronterizo de Peñas Blancas. La llama inició su marcha el 1 de septiembre en Guatemala y se espera que llegue el 15 de este mes, día en el que se conmemora la independencia, a Costa Rica. La Antorcha Centroamericana de la Paz y la Libertad recorre cada año la región, desde Guatemala hasta Costa Rica, con motivo del aniversario de la independencia de la Corona española, el 15 de septiembre de 1821.
  13. Roman Gonzalez wins the WBC junior bantamweight title in what he says was his toughest fight to date CHOCOLATITO WINS. Roman Gonzalez defeats Carlos Cuadras in what he admits was his toughest fight to date. Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images/AFP LOS ANGELES, USA - Unbeaten Roman Gonzalez won the World Boxing Council junior bantamweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated champion Carlos Cuadras on Saturday, September 10 (Sunday Manila time). The 29-year-old Gonzalez became the first fighter from Nicaragua to win world titles in 4 weight divisions, surpassing his hero and mentor Alexis Arguello. Gonzalez improved to 46-0 by holding on in the late rounds for the win in an entertaining showdown between the two unbeaten champions at The Forum arena in Los Angeles. "This was the most difficult fight I have had," said Gonzalez. "It was complicated and we both were in very good condition." Mexico's Cuadras proved to be a surprisingly difficult opponent for Gonzalez, who some consider to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Cuadras looked to be the fresher of the two in the 12th round as the boxers traded punches in the center of the ring right up to the final bell. Gonzalez, who moved up in weight class to fight for the title, won on all three judges' cards by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113. "I have never fought at this weight before. But the important thing is we won the fight," he said. The 28-year-old Cuadras had defended his title seven times before losing for the first time in his pro career. His record fell to 35-1-1. Gonzalez can credit his victory to a superb start as he dominated the first half of the fight with a relentless forward attack accompanied by a variety of punches. But Cuadras proved to be a very difficult opponent, giving Gonzalez the most formidable test of his 11-year career. He landed straight jabs, combinations and took the heaviest punches that Gonzalez could dish out in the 12-round slugfest. Gonzalez's face showed the marks of the battle, especially around his swollen eyes. He said Cuadras hurt him with some head shots. "I caught some blows to the cheeks and I felt those," he said. "I am always thinking about my family, my children." Until Saturday, no Nicaraguan had ever won a world title in four weight classes and that includes the late legend Arguello. Arguello took Gonzalez under his wing and mentored him after his boxing career ended. He trained him as both an amateur and pro prior to his death in 2009. "I will never be better or above him. He will always be number one. I am just following his legacy," said Gonzalez. Arguello lost a pair of junior welterweight title fights to Aaron Pryor in 1982 and 1983 in a failed bid to capture his fourth world title. But seeing how he struggled somewhat Saturday in the heavier super flyweight division might leave some in his camp wondering if another jump in weight might prove to be too much for Gonzalez. –
  14. MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Officials in Nicaragua say the first baby with the birth defect of microcephaly has been born to a mother infected with the Zika virus. Government spokeswoman and first lady Rosario Murillo said Friday evening that the baby was born in the capital of Managua. Health officials had been tracking the woman since confirming that during the fourth month of her pregnancy she showed rash and fever symptoms. Doctors did not test her for Zika at that time. Ultrasounds later suggested the baby had microcephaly, characterized by a small head and a brain that is not fully developed The child was born very underweight, weighing less than 4 pounds. Murillo says the mother and baby are in stable condition. Neighboring Guatemala announced its first Zika-related microcephaly case earlier this month.
  15. Chimichanga en El Zocalo
  16. Managua, Aug 19 (efe_epa).- Nicaraguan authorities are trying to control a fire Friday after two oil tanks exploded at the country's only storage terminal located on the pacific coast, and have also begun the evacuation of people in neighboring areas. Guillermo Gonzalez, the co-director of System for Prevention, Mitigation and Attention to Disasters, or SINAPRED, told reporters that fire from the first tank spread to the second that is still ablaze. The first tank containing 144,000 barrels of oil exploded Wednesday night at a Puma Energy plant in Puerto Sandino, in Leon department, some 69 km (around 43 miles) northwest of Managua, according to the information. The second explosion took place on Thursday at 6:21 p.m. (12:21 pm GMT) Gonzalez said. He admitted the situation has become complicated but said actions are underway to manage the situation, and mitigation activities are being carried out to check the fire from spreading to the remaining tanks. So far, there have been no casualties, Gonzalez added. According to the authorities, firefighters and army and police personnel have been deployed to bring the situation under control as it threatens the Miramar community near Puerto Sandino. Volunteers from the Nicaraguan Red Cross and officials from the health and environment ministries, among others, are also helping to protect the people, the environment and material goods, said Gonzalez. Technical teams are conducting relevant evaluations to determine the causes of the fire. Puma Energy, which has yet to comment on the accident, is a subsidiary of Puma Energy International. That company is involved in storage, supply and commercialization of petroleum products in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Baltic countries, the Middle East and Asia.
  17. The Nicaraguan government is planning to implement stricter policies in allowing foreign missions into the country in a bid to ensure that these missions are not used as a front for illegal activities. According to Pastor Guillermo Osorno, founder of the Nicaraguan Party of the Christian Path, who also serves as a legislator with the opposition Constitutionalist Liberal Party coalition, these measures are meant to protect "the sovereignty and security of Nicaraguans." Based on the latest measure, the government will implement a stricter process in the application for foreign missions to ascertain that applicants are really entering the country for the specific purpose of evangelisation and outreach. "Unfortunately, there are people who claim they're religious leaders but behave the wrong way. Because of just a few of them, all of us will pay the price," Osorno lamented. Upon the implementation of the new policy, foreign pastors would have to apply and register first and wait for formal authorisation before they can enter Nicaraguan territory to allow for a proper screening prior to approval of their application. While there are some opposition to the measure, Osorno said it was designed t to deter questionable individuals from possibly engaging in illegal practices in the country like money laundering and other criminal activities. Besides, he said this will be fairly implemented across all religions and denominations whether it be for Evangelical pastors or representatives from the Catholic Church. Nicaragua is a predominantly Catholic country with approximately 73 percent of the population belonging to the Roman Catholic church. Roughly 15 percent are affiliated with evangelical churches while the rest are divided among the Moravian Church, the Episcopal Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Amish or Mennonite, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim beliefs, according to data
  18. La primera dama Rosario Murillo el pasado 19 de julio, junto al Cardenal Miguel Obando y miembros de su familia. Decenas de jóvenes vestidos con camisetas blancas y letras multicolores se ubican a la espalda de la primera dama Rosario Murillo, de 65 años, en la plaza la Fe en Managua. El otro personaje de la celebración del aniversario número 37 de la revolución sandinista es el caudillo Daniel Ortega, quien montado en un jeep Mercedes Benz se va acercando entre la multitud como si fuese un general romano regresando de la victoria.Murillo es la esposa de Ortega, pero ejerce la Secretaría del Consejo de Comunicación y Ciudadanía en el gobierno sandinista, un nombramiento a través del cual ha ejercidoel poder absoluto desde enero de 2007. Los críticos de la primera dama dicen que ha gobernado cuestionada por la vieja guardia del sandinismo y según fuentes del partido de gobierno, uno con quien se ha enfrentado es Lenín Cerna, exjefe de la Seguridad del Estado en los ochenta. Es el 19 de julio de 2016 y el presidente inconstitucional destaca la figura de su esposa.Ortega llama “ratas” a los disidentes sandinistas, a quienes acusa de haber abandonado sus ideales después que cayó la revolución en 1990, pero de Murillo recuerda que estuvo presa en la lucha contra la dinastía somocista. Señala su papel de escritora e intelectual, fundadora del grupo Grada en 1973, cuando los jóvenes hacían una revista cultural en las gradas de las iglesias y las casas con gran contenido antisomocista.“En una de esas, en Estelí, la capturaron a la Rosario y la metieron presa, simplemente por andar en ese tipo de protestas. Y ¿quiénes se mantuvieron leales a los principios? ¿Quiénes se mantuvieron leales a nuestros héroes y mártires?”, se preguntó Ortega, de 71 años, quien a través del control de los poderes del Estado que deberían ser independientes, se ha garantizado la continuidad en el poder en noviembre próximo cuando se celebran elecciones presidenciales en Nicaragua. Será su segunda reelección consecutiva y le permitirá permanecer en el poder por al menos 15 años continuos. EL TEMA ES LA SUCESIÓN Las dudas sobre el estado de salud del mandatario, cuya situación real es mantenida en reserva en el Estado, han provocado que el cargo de vicepresidente sea noticia. Ortega ha mantenido como vicepresidente en el período 2011-2016 al general Omar Halleslevens, exjefe del Ejército de Nicaragua, pero se ha especulado sobre la posibilidad que escoja esta vez a un empresario, o a un miembro de la familia, lo que quedará dilucidado como máximo el 2 de agosto próximo cuando el caudillo sandinista presente su candidatura en el Consejo Supremo Electoral (CSE).“Desde el mes de abril 2016 he notado una serie de signos que indican que se quiere promocionar a Murillo. Todos esos signos me señalan que quiere oficializar su poder en el Estado, no simplemente actuar de hecho sino que tenga un puesto por votación. Es decir, por derecho”, explica el exasesor de la Dirección Nacional del FSLN, Oscar René Vargas. El sociólogo y analista político sostiene que él ve a un Ortega con una salud debilitada, tiene 71 años y antecedentes cardíacos. “Siendo (Murillo) vice se asegura la sucesión en caso de que Ortega desaparezca, sin crear mayores problemas de sucesión al interior del partido de gobierno. Con la sucesión garantizada, ella puede seguir ejerciendo la actividad que hasta ahora ha hecho, ya que el presidente le designa las tareas al vice”. ¿SOLO UN CAMINO? Vargas no avala la teoría de que Murillo vaya a ser escogida como diputada, como ocurrió con Luis Somoza, quien fue jefe del ejecutivo, pero provino de las filas del Congreso, después del asesinato de su padre, Anastasio Somoza García en 1956. “Siendo diputada, perdería poder ya que no puede ser vocera oficial y primer ministro y miembro del parlamento; al ser diputada tiene que estar en la Asamblea Nacional y en las actividades de gobierno.En la época de Luis Somoza, no existía el cargo de vicepresidente y la Constitución establecía que el sucesor era el presidente del Congreso, es decir, esa era la manera de asegurar la sucesión sin sobresaltos. Hoy la figura del vicepresidente existe y la manera de asegurar la sucesión es siendo vicepresidenta y no presidenta del Congreso”, añadió Vargas. LE CONSTRUYEN UNA TRAYECTORIA Para la excomandante sandinista Mónica Baltodano, Murillo manda más que un vicepresidente y Ortega, al halagarla el 19 de julio pasado, lo que trata es de construirle una trayectoria más allá de la realidad, lo que para ella es típico de los dictadores.Baltodano dice que el papel de Murillo en el binomio con Ortega está claro: ella es la que manda y decide sobre todas las cosas cotidianas del poder.“Y lo hace de manera despótica, autoritaria. Humillante para todos los demás funcionarios del Estado. Es la única que puede hablar. No deja que los ministros aborden los problemas relacionados con sus funciones. Los tiene totalmente en el anonimato. Ella tiene a todos los funcionarios, del Estado Central, de los municipios, de las regiones y —el colmo—, hasta de las universidades públicas, bajo un régimen de secuestro. No pueden decidir nada sin consultarle a ella o su staff de incondicionales, que operan como verdaderos capataces: no pueden viajar sin su permiso. No pueden representar a sus instituciones porque todo está centralizado en ella. Los diputados son mudos y aprieta botón, porque una declaración que no le guste a ella puede ser causa de su cambio inmediato. Cuando alguien sale corrido, lo dejan en un régimen que les impide hablar o denunciar: porque generalmente tienen algún otro familiar en el Estado, y entonces también será corrido, o lo ponen un puesto fantasma por el que recibe dinero, así no puede decir nada”, explica Baltodano.La excomandante guerrillera hace una diferencia entre ser heredera del régimen orteguista y de los principios y valores promulgados por Carlos Fonseca, fundador del FSLN, y especifica que como están las cosas en Nicaragua, la primera dama ejerce de facto todo el poder.“Así que si la nominan sería únicamente en el caso de que Daniel esté tan enfermo que quiera asegurarse la sucesión dinástica con esta movida. En el aparato electoral llamado FSLN hay molestias por esta posibilidad y entonces hay dificultad para que esta candidatura prospere”, agrega Baltodano. SUÁREZ ALABA A MURILLO Los dirigentes sandinistas mantienen en reserva su criterio sobre Murillo. El comandante Edén Pastora se negó a expresar su opinión, alegando que no estaba lo suficientemente informado, pero el diputado Jacinto Suárez, uno de los amigos más cercanos a Ortega, aseguró que respaldarían la escogencia que haga Ortega, tal como el congreso lo mandató.Suárez dijo que han hecho un buen trabajo como partido en el poder, a diferencia de la oposición que vive peleándose y no tienen un proyecto nacional. No habló sobre Murillo candidata, pero sí destacó su papel de vocera. Cada mediodía, la primera dama brinda un informe de gobierno en los canales oficialistas..“Es más que bueno su papel. A la hora que sea, está con el pueblo. Llama, inmediatamente aparece al aire en cualquier circunstancia, en cualquier situación. ¿Quién no tiene críticas? Todo mundo tiene críticas. El arte es tener más gente que te apoya de la que te critica. Así que cuál es el problema”, añadió Suárez, quien rechaza el señalamiento de que Nicaragua vive bajo una dictadura y reivindica que como FSLN tiene “un camino trazado y ahí vamos”. LOS PARECIDOS CON SOMOZA La excomandante guerrillera Mónica Baltodano hace una explicación para diferenciar el régimen de Daniel Ortega con la dictadura de la familia Somoza que ella ayudó a derrocar.Según Baltodano, el caudillo sandinista está en la primera etapa del “régimen orteguista”, y en esa situación “se parece más al primer Somoza (García) que a Tacho (Somoza Debayle), el último marine”.“Se parece al primero (Somoza García), quien instaló un régimen inicialmente populista que contó con apoyo de masas. Que logró mantener el respaldo del capital nacional, y a través de pactos mantener bajo control a la oposición zancuda, dando imagen de democracia. Contó con respaldo de las jerarquías eclesiásticas. Aplicó la represión inicialmente de forma muy selectiva, como hace el régimen orteguista”, dijo Baltodano.Según ella, ambos regímenes se parecen en que hay dominio de todos los poderes del Estado. “Yo creo que Ortega de forma aún más despótica que Somoza, en los afanes por tener al Ejército y a la Policía a su servicio. Se parece por su afán reeleccionista y porque hace fraudes electorales”, escribió en un correo electrónico. “La desventaja (de la escogencia de Murillo como vice del FSLN) es que se pone en el tapete político el nacimiento de la dictadura familiar. Para reducir los costos políticos han hecho: liquidar a la verdadera oposición y dejar a los satélites ”. Oscar René Vargas, sociólogo y exasesor de la Dirección Nacional del FSLN. “Si la nominan sería únicamente en el caso de que Daniel esté tan enfermo que quiera asegurarse la sucesión dinástica. En el FSLN hay molestias por esta posibilidad y entonces hay dificultad para que esta candidatura prospere”. Mónica Baltodano, excomandante guerrillera
  19. "A NEEDGREATER'S 'PREACHER'S PARADISE' " Comments by the Faithful & Discreet Slave class about those serving where the need is greater, specifically in their relationship to the progress of the worldwide Kingdom Preaching work: "What accounts for such progress? Many things. Missionaries trained at the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead and, more recently, upwards of 20,000 graduates of the Ministerial Training School have made a huge contribution. So have the many Witnesses who at their own expense have moved to lands where the need for Kingdom publishers is greater. Such self-sacrificing Christians—men and women, young and old, single and married—play a significant role in preaching the Kingdom message throughout the earth. They are greatly appreciated." Watchtower July 1, 2005, Pages 22-23 The Country's Name is derived from Nicarao, the name of the Nahuatl-speaking tribe which inhabited its shores and the Spanish word Agua, meaning water, due to the presence of two large lakes. Nicaragua is the largest nation in Central America and has one of the lowest populations. The country is bordered on the north by Honduras, and on the south by Costa Rica. Its western coastline is on Pacific Ocean, while its east side is on the Caribbean Sea... Religion: "Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, claiming the allegiance of about 72.9% of the population. Approximately 15.1% of the populace are members of evangelical churches...There are also small communities of Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Mennonites, Jehovah's Witnesses, Unification Church members, Baha'is, and members in the Church of Scientology. Amerindian tribal religionists and spiritists also practice, usually combining elements of Christianity and African religions." [taken from The Encyclopedia of the Nations] The People: Most are Spanish-speaking mestizos—people of mixed American Indian and European ancestry. A small number of Monimbó and Subtiaba Indians live on the west coast, while the eastern region includes Miskito, Sumo, and Rama Indians, as well as Creoles and Afro-Caribs. The language: Spanish is the official language. Indigenous languages are also spoken. DESCRIPTION & HISTORY: "Nicaragua has rightly been described as a tropical paradise. Its eastern shores look out on the clear, turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Its western coast is washed by waves rolling in from the mighty Pacific Ocean..." and so begins an incredibly interesting account about "Nicaragua" in the 1993 Yearbook of Jehovah's witnesses. IS THE NEED GREAT IN NICARAGUA? On Page 143, the 1993 Yearbook answers this question, stating, "In the last nine years, Nicaragua has also received 58 Gilead graduates, who are based in six missionary homes throughout the country. Their maturity has contributed to a healthy spiritual atmosphere in the congregations, and they have helped many youths view full-time service as a desirable goal. "Those who came to Nicaragua during the 1960’s and 1970’s to serve where the need was greater called it a preacher’s paradise. This still holds true today. A brother in the Service Department at the branch comments: "Nicaragua is still a country where publishers and pioneers determine how many Bible studies they will conduct, for there is so much interest." Understandably, many who are eager to help where the need is greater and who have counted the cost have inquired about serving in Nicaragua. In fact, by April 2002, 289 pioneers from 19 countries had moved there to help out. How grateful the local Witnesses are for all these harvest workers!—Matt. 9:37, 38." The Yearbook account continues with the fascinating account of how the preaching work was begun in Nicaragua, the challenges of the missionaries and other needgreaters throughout the years and how Jehovah blessed their efforts! It talks too about the opposition and natural disasters that Nicaragua has had to face and the wonderful worldwide brotherhood that came to its rescue. Be sure to read the rest of this account on Pages 66-149 2006 YEARBOOK: Pop: 5,600,000. Publishers: 19,000; Ratio: 1 pub. to every 297 persons; Congregations: 322 A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE IN THE MISSIONARY WORK! - In the Islands of Nicaragua - CENTRAL AMERICA'S FIRST FLOATING KINGDOM HALL! [A Letter from missionaries preaching in the Islands of Nicaragua] For this experience, please visit: PAST EXPERIENCES: Aaron Perkinson is a needgreater from Chicago, Illinois, now serving in Nicaragua. Before going to Nicaragua, Aaron Perkinson served at Bethel - Patterson Educational Center- for 3 1/2 years (from 1990-1994). In 1993 he changed to a Spanish congregation in NY to learn the language and began investigating all the Spanish speaking countries to see where he should go to serve. In the meantime, he left Bethel and returned to Chicago and served as a regular pioneer in a Spanish congregation in the suburbs of Chicago. Within the year, he had made his decision on where to serve where the need is great and was on his way immediately! Aaron writes: "I am now serving in Nicaragua because of the great need here and I have the privilege of serving as a special pioneer. I originally came to Nicaragua in June of 1995. I started serving as a special on July 1, 1995. Shortly afterwards, I was invited to attend the 9th class of Ministerial Training School in El Salvador. Then, I was re-assigned to Nicaragua again as a special pioneer. "Some questions most commonly asked me from brothers & sisters interested in serving where the need is great in Nicaragua are: How many Bible studies do you have? Are studies easy to start? "Right now I have 16 Bible studies. The Require brochure has proved to be an awesome tool in finding sincere Bible students. Studies are so much easier to start with the brochure. And without spending months, we can see if they are sincere or not. The brochure lets people see in a very short time what Jehovah expects of His witnesses. They can make up their mind quickly as to whether they want to serve Jehovah or not. For example, although we are studying lesson 6, Juan Carlos has already asked me about why we don’t celebrate Christmas (he was reading ahead and captured that point). If they want to continue studying after the brochure, the study usually progresses very quickly. It has also helped to get people to the meetings a lot sooner. It is an incredible tool Jehovah has provided for the work of making disciples of Jesus. Is the need really great where you are? Do the brothers need help? "YES, WE COULD USE A LOT OF HELP!! There is a lot of interest here in this country and there is a great need for brothers to come and help study with all the interest, as well as to help out in the congregations. For example: Last Friday, I had the privilege of conducting the school, giving talk No.1 and No.4, giving the announcements and the two talks in the service meeting. Sunday, I gave the public talk and conducted the Watchtower. I was tired of talking, but I couldn't help thinking about the ears and brains of the poor brothers who had to listen to me. Obviously we have to rely heavily on Jehovah with so much responsibility! Do you have to wash your clothes by hand? "Some months of the year are very hot and dry. It doesn't rain sometimes from January to March. For that reason, the dust is ridiculous and causes much discomfort. When brothers return from field service, their collars are often extremely dirty. Also, my eyebrows and faces can be covered with a thick film of dirt. At times, it is a bit difficult to clean clothes well. Where I am you have to wash each piece by hand. With a brush and a bar of laundry soap. Every morning, I iron two or three items. That's how the week goes and how I keep my clothes clean. What is the daily schedule generally like? "Monday is the day we take off from the field service activities. (In many countries where there are missionaries, the congregations adopt the missionary schedule of having Mondays off). From Tuesday to Sunday we start field service at 7:45 a.m. as we leave the house. We usually offer tracts to the people that are in the street. At 8:30 a.m. we have the meeting for field service with the congregation. "At noon, we eat lunch. In the afternoon my partner begin service at 2 o'clock, going our separate ways to conduct Bible studies. As in many countries, the people take off noontime to 2 o'clock for lunch, many businesses closing during those hours. At 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday we have another meeting for field service and go out for an hour in the evening. Tuesday's and Friday's we have our meetings at 6:00 p.m. With this schedule it is not difficult to reach our goal of 140 hours every month. Are there many English-speaking folks here? Any English congregations? "On the east coast of Nicaragua, there is a large population of English speaking people. That is the only place where there is an English speaking congregation. It is a Caribbean style English (like Jamaica "mon"). "Among the Bethelites at the branch, there are many that speak English. The branch coordinator is from Ireland. The head of the Service Department is from Germany and his wife is from Panama. Both speak English. "There is another couple there, Ken and Sharon Bryan, who have served in Nicaragua for more than 25 years. Of course there are others as well. There are a lot of missionaries here in Nicaragua who all speak English. In Estelí, where I am currently assigned, there are 9 foreigners serving here, all of which speak English. In most of the major cities here there are brothers who speak English. Thus for needgreaters moving here, there is lots of help available for assistance in knowing how to learn Spanish and to get settled. Is it difficult to learn Spanish? "Learning a foreign language requires a lot of work...time and patience, but is a joyful process when you are learning it with the purpose of helping so many interested persons learn the truth!. In regard to myself, I did not find it a struggle nor do most needgreaters. I enjoyed the mental challenge and the satisfaction of making progress. I have never found any other personal project so satisfying as learning another language--Spanish! The spiritual blessings are even greater. Imagine being able to teach the Bible Truth to people in a new language that you had not known previously, and see many of these persons make progress and become part of Jehovah's people! That's a grand privilege! What are the people like in Nicaragua? "There are variations in the personalities of the people according to where they live. All my experiences with the Nicaraguan people are good ones. Generally speaking, they are very hospitable. As we go preaching, it is rare that a person would have to stand and preach at the doors the whole morning. Almost everyone invites you in to their house and offers you a seat. "After forming a friendship, the people are even more hospitable, sharing their food or drinks with us. For instance many Bible studies invite me to eat with them from time to time. Others offer a Pepsi or a fruit drink. "It is a very nice experience to listen to their comments about how life was 25 years ago in Nicaragua. They tell about how, if someone slaughtered a hog or cow, they always set aside portions for all their neighbors. If someone went to buy bananas or eggs, the seller gave the person 2 or 3 times more the amount that they were going to buy (for the same amount of money). In the past, it was customary for all the children to come and greet the older members of the family (including older brothers and sisters) and any visitors with their hands crossed (or folded). They would say their greeting that way. Well, the years of war and political oppression as well as the influence of the Western culture have done their damage to the customs of these beautiful people. "Soon, however, those days will return to Nicaragua and the whole world. That's why I am here preaching. There area lot of sincere and good-hearted people here in Nicaragua that have yet to become servants of Jehovah. What is the typical diet? The Nicaragua diet is fairly simple. Beans and rice can be find in almost all the meals. There is a combination of the two that is called "gallo pinto". It can be accompanied by a tortilla (made by hand every day of course) and a type of local cheese or cream. That's a typical supper for the Nicaraguans. Soup, nacatamales (corn mush--kind of--stuffed with rice, potatoes, pork and spices and then wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked for several hours) and other typical plates are popular on the weekends. On the street, you can find enchiladas (Nicaragua style), stuffed potatoes, tacos (Nicaragua style), grilled meat, salad, etc. The salad is simple--shredded cabbage with vinegar and salt. It is a great combination with the other food. My favorite plate here in Nicaragua is the following: scrambled eggs cooked with tomato, onion and green pepper, gallo pinto, a fried ripe plantano (it's sweet--like a banana) and cheese (crude or fried). Then there are a great variety of juice drinks that the people make. There are many fruits that I never knew existed before coming here. They are delicious though! One of my favorite drinks is muskmelon with orange. It is sooooo good!!! How do you get around in Nicaragua? Do you have to have a car? Are there buses? "How do I get around? Walk, walk, walk. I am in great shape here because we have to walk quite a bit. When I go to our isolated group in San Juan de Limay, I go by bus. The problem is that it leaves at 7:00 a.m. and gets there at 10:00 a.m. Then it turns around and comes back at 1:00 p.m. and arrives at 4:00 p.m. Thus to accomplish anything I have to stay overnight (which I do). For that reason I am thinking about purchasing a motorcycle to be able to do that trip more effectively. As far as the other travel goes, here in town the taxis are pretty economical and there is a small bus system. Going to any other point in Nicaragua is generally not difficult. There is an extensive bus network although one is at the mercy of the schedules. What do you do for recreation? "I do enjoy going out to eat and associating with the brothers. The only thing is that the majority of the local brothers don't have the luxury of eating out very much. At other times we share meals in the houses of the brothers or in our house. "I like going swimming and going to the beach. I also like to dance a lot. Sometimes we have social gatherings where we associate and dance. "Once we had an awesome day! The Bethel family invited all of the construction workers and the foreigners serving here in Nicaragua to a picnic at the beach. They had a private house and stretch of beach with baseball, volleyball, body-surfing (even a few boogie-boards), food, music, and a consideration of the Watchtower. I'm not sure how many were there, but I will say about 200. "What joy it was to be together with many that I hadn't seen in almost a year. Of course there were many that I had never met. There were brothers from Denmark, Germany, Spain, Finland, Sweden, England, Canada, U.S. (California, Nebraska, Chicago, New York), Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and of course Nicaragua. I would be very happy to hear from other brothers interested in possibly serving where the need is great here! Anyone can feel free to contact me concerning any questions they may have: Aaron Perkinson Fuente:
  20. Witnessing on the Hills of Nicaragua. Shared by @neilriveron jw_pioneers
  21. Nuestra congregación de El crucero, Managua, Nicaragua.... todos unidos, adorando a Nuestro Jehová Dios. Fuente: