The finca tour, which Nora explained in more detail, was really amazing. Jose, our lively and youthful tour guide who is 76 years old without a gray hair on his full head of hair, was really inspiring. My immediate desire was to adopt him as my grandpa. He was so passionate about his work and so connected to the land and the nature here. By being the cooperative, he had this expertise of practically the entire coffee production process, whereas Nicaraguans that work in places like sweatshops are members of an assembly line and are expendable. He instead has pride for his work and has a great understanding of the process.
It seems that in general here people are very passionate, even in the way they speak, and have a great sense of community. Cooperatives facilitate that, but so does their value of family. Whereas in the US we strive for independence from our families, the people here generally stay close to their entire extended family, fostering a stronger sense of community. It makes me want to have that for my kids, since I feel like it is something I lack in my own life, and live close to my family in the future.
After the tour, we grabbed lunch, where you can get a plate of local sweet white pineapple, oranges, and other fruits for 2 dollars. Then we began what turned into an hour and a half walk to the beach. Although I did not expect the walk to be that extensive, I would definitely say it was worth it. Upon arriving to the beach, where the sand looked black because it was mixed with volcanic ash, I immediately put on my bathing suit and frolicked into the water. It was a perfect temperature. Luckily, we didnt have to walk all the way back to Finca Magdalena. We hitchhiked on two separate trucks (parents, avert your eyes) and made it back in a fraction of the time. Hitch hiking here has a very different connotation...it feels natural and simply easier. People are really friendly, including the teenage boys we met on one truck who also walked part of the way back with us. They were very willing to talk, and pretty giggly. When we got off the second truck, we stopped by this party where there were people riding horses and bulls. There was also an extremely drunk man who said "mujer" (woman), stepped toward me, then faceplanted in the dirt. I think he fell asleep because I did not see him get up. So then we left. When we got back to the finca, we walked up to our room where there was the most picture perfect postcard-esque view of the volcano with the sun setting and a pink sky. It made me feel like everything was perfect and calm in the world.
Overall, a great relaxing day. Tomorrow should be really interesting too, so keep checking in!