The view of Granada and Lake Nicaragua from on top of Mount Mombacho
People who live in simple homes with dirt floors and open walls are a lot closer to nature than we ever were in Illinois, and they have taught us a lot of the natural remedies and non-toxic solutions that are a part of their lives.
When I broke my foot our first month here, everyone we knew told me to eat mangoes to reduce inflammation. We’d never had a mango before, but they were plentiful and in season here, so our friend Lorena showed me how to wash, peal, and slice a mango. (If they’re too ripe, you just have to peel and eat them like a peach and let the juice run down your arms.) Lorena is the same person who taught us to put garlic paste in all our corners and all around the house to keep out the scorpions.
Then when I had a cold, Marbelly brought me a bag of herbs: leaves of zacate de limon, eucalipto, and oregano to boil in water and make a tea. (You really need honey or sugar for this bitter drink.).
We know that part of the difference is that most people can’t afford to buy remedies from a pharmacist, but our friend Joel, trained as a pharmaceutical chemist, mixed a brew of oregano and honey for his baby who had a cold, so we think perhaps these natural remedies might just be better.
Or maybe handier. Yesterday we took a guided tour of Mount Mombacho, the extinct volcano we’ve looked at for 11 months. We remembered to use sunblock, but forgot mosquito repellant. Never fear! Our guide showed us a broad leafed plant from the pepper family. When crushed, the leaves can be rubbed on your skin and provide a natural repellant.
The view from on top of Mount Mombacho was another kind of medicine, this time for our souls. After months of negotiating the crowded and broken streets of the city, we were thrilled to look out on the lake, city, and volcanic lagoons from another, more beautiful perspective. And we discovered that the volcano isn’t really as dead as it appears. We felt the hot steam rising from fumaroles and smelled the sulfurous gases coming from the craters and vents. We watched a sloth feeding on a low branch, saw a baby porcupine in the path, and touched a rare salamander, found nowhere else in the world. Ah, nature! What a beautiful place this is.
Herbal cold remedies and broad-leafed mosquito repellant