Nicaraguan Breakfast, Children and Admiration

Day four at Finca Esperanza Verde (FEV) began with a wonderful, local breakfast, presented beautifully.  The traditional gallo pinto, along with fried plantains, ham salad rolled in a sliced of ham and a slice of local cheese.  With a glass of fresh Jamaican flower juice, hot cup of FEV coffee and fruit, we were fueled for a full morning of activities with local children coming to FEV.

Nicaraguan Breakfast of Gallo Pinto, Fried Plantains, ham salad roll and local cheese
Fresh Jamaican Flower (Hibiscus) Juice with lime and cinnamon

The children were to arrive at 9 a.m. but the skies were dark and it was raining. Nothing.  My travel companions from ERUUF were prepared to do paper crafts, games, and musical activities.  Would the children even go out in these conditions.  Oh ye of little faith!

These children, and their parents, are strong.  They are used to the rain, the muddy conditions and walking miles (truly uphill) to reach their destinations.

Local children begin to arrive for a morning at FEV

Before long, more children arrived on foot, many wearing their much-needed rubber boots, others in street shoes.  After almost two hours, a truck full of children arrived, hitching a ride from a local driver.  We hustled around to assure that we had activities for the 85+ children that were our guests.  Activities included multiple paper crafts, games, music (bells, musical chairs) and more.  The children were anxious to participate in all of the activities as were their parents.

– The children gather for good-byes at FEV

The FEV staff prepared sandwiches and drinks for each guest that joined us for their long walk home.  For the final 35 or so, a local pickup provided transportation back down the long road.  This would never happen in the States.  We watched in amazement as the parents, and perhaps teachers, jammed about 35 children in the back of the pickup to return home.

Children departing via pickup truck from FEV

Reflecting on the morning, I admired the children for their respectful and patient behavior.  Their parents were kind and supportive.  Would our children in the States spend their summer holiday walking miles to visit strangers to partake in a morning of crafts and art?  These families have so little in material things, yet are so rich in community and family.  Perhaps the greatest souvenir from this trip will be gratefulness and admiration of the Nicaraguan people of Managua.

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Plantains…not your ordinary banana

During a recent trip to Nicaragua, plantains (plátano in Spanish) were served as a side dish at many meals.  I recall having them in Puerto Rico a few years ago but these were especially sweet.  When I returned home, I bought two plantains at the local grocery store and let them turn almost black, the key to having a sweeter plantain. The plantain looks very much like a banana but is larger and harder to peel.

Fried Plantains



2 ripe plantains
Oil for frying (olive or canola oil)

  • Slice off the ends of the plantains, using a sharp knife.  Slit the skin from tip to tip.  Peel the skin off in one piece.
  • Cut the plantain in half crosswise, the in 4 slices across each segment


  • Heat about 1/2-inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the plantains, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until lightly browned. Turn and sauté the second side.  To caramelize the plantains cooked for up to 20 minutes on medium to medium-low heat.

Fried Plantains

  • Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the rest of the plantains. Sprinkle with a little salt. Serve hot.

This website is a great link to more information about cooking Plantains: