A Very Nicaraguan Passover

Wherever you go
there’s always someone Jewish–
even in Nica.

There’s another Haiku for you.

According to research my dad did before arriving, there are about 50 Jews currently living in Nicaragua. My dad joked that by going to Nica, I would be increasing the Jewish population by 2%.  Well, Dad, I managed to find about all 50 of them at in a quiet Masayan neighborhood for a Passover Seder one Monday night in April.

It was an eclectic group.  There were three Peace Corps Volunteers, one USAID worker, two Israeli bicyclists that just happened to find themselves in Nicaragua during Passover, a group of New York high school students that were building houses here for a week, Nicaraguan Jewish families–some from the Atlantic Coast, others from the Pacific, an Australian couple working in Managua, the owner of the Imagine Cafe in Granada (I took a photo of it once while passing by), as well as our fearless leader, Carlos, who was kind enough to open up his home to all of us during Passover.

The Passover included all of the usual elements of a Passover Seder, but sometimes, with a distinctive Nicaraguan twist.

There was the standard Seder Plate:

The Hagaddah (with Spanish in lieu of English):

And a long dinner table (even though la luz se fue una vez and sometimes mangoes fell from the tree above the table.)  This is Alyssa and me when the lights went out:

And of course, there was a spirited round of Dayenu. You can see Carlos waving the horseradish in the background at the head of the table:

When Alyssa and I left, we were driven by the Israeli diplomatic presence, Arthur, to a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a USAID worker’s home in Managua to stay the night.  Overall, was a really great experience and I hope to make my way back next year. Plus, when I went back to site, I went equipped with my own box of fresh Israeli matzah. Que rico.

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One Response to A Very Nicaraguan Passover

  1. betty says:

    Hi Lauren,
    Your stories are incredible! How amazing that you were able to link up with the Jewish Community for a Passover Seder! It must have felt so good to be surrounded by your new community in such a familiar way!
    We love reading all of your posts. It makes us feel so connected to you! There is nothing exciting here compared to what you are doing! I’d love to hear more about your position.
    Tyler turned 4 months old last week. He has become very interactive….he smiles and belly laughs! Evan still loves him and is looking very grown up these days! Matthew is finished with classes today and then has 4 finals over the next two weeks. He is doing great and is still with Kate. She is a very sweet young lady. Matthew and Kate went to Virginia a few weeks ago so that Matthew could meet her father. Kate’s mom comes here every few months on business so they have met a few times. Gregg and Jess are fine. Jess went back to work 2 days a week from 4 – 7. Gregg continues to work like a maniac. We are headed to Alaska for 2 weeks with Carol and Marty Wiadro and one other couple. We are very excited!
    I’m sending you hugs and kisses!
    Take Care of Yourself!
    Love, Betty


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