After breakfast, we stop for a look at Granada’s train station now a technical school. In the 1990’s President Violeta Chomorro ordered the rolling stock and rail demolished and sod for scrap after years of steady decline in business and damages sustained in earthquakes and floods. Today all that is left is the station.
A couple of blocks from the train station is a small shop making piñatas and what is unique about this shop are the special needs adults making them. The business was started about 9 years ago by a couple devoted to making a difference in these folks lives by giving them employment. The business has the support of the area with donations of old newspapers and other materials.
Outside of Granada and on our way to the farming cooperative we stopped at a roadside viewpoint to see ash deposit from a 1570 eruption of Mombacho Volcano revealing the layers of ash. The site is now being quarried.
We soon turned off the highway onto a very rutted and wet dirt road to get to the Nicaragua Libre Farming Cooperative for a firsthand sense of how Nicaraguan farmers live and work. It was very slow going on and questionable whether or not we would make it up one hill as the recent rain made the clay surface very slick but as we had learned, out driver was a grand master at driving; we did not have to get out and push.
Two members of the co-op greeted us and gave a little history of their operation and then a tour of the farm. There are fifteen families living on the property. It is a cooperative effort growing beans and corn for the most part but there are also fruit trees, avocado trees, dragon fruit and, of course coconut. One of the young women demonstrated how she makes jewelry from seeds gathered on the farm, of course purchases were made and the proceeds go back into the cooperative.
We sat down with a few members and enjoyed a lunch of traditional Nicaraguan specialties including a beautiful dark red hibiscus drink that is delicious.
This was a very interesting visit but sadly many members of the cooperative are now have to find work in the city to supplement their income; the crops have not been doing well the last couple of years due to changes in the climate.
Back in Granada we took a horse and carriage down to the Malecon to enjoy the late afternoon light and cloud play on the water.
We walked back toward the hotel stopping at a little sidewalk bar for a cold, cold cerveza life is good!