Story about the Esteli, Nicaragua drawing (top left)
I lived in Nicaragua in Central America from 1984-1989 during the Sandinista revolution. It was a very exciting time. One of my jobs was as a translator for the Barricada Internacional newspaper. In 1986, I was asked to design their holiday card and I was given a number of photographs from which to get ideas. I chose a photograph of a farmer with his oxcart in a field in Estelí. The photograph was so small I wasn’t able to copy the farmer on his oxcart. So, I took to the streets of the capital city of Managua that is still very rural to this day in search of an oxcart. I had many adventures along the way. I met a man who took out his ox from his barn so I could draw it. We had lively conversation as I drew and we drank “tragos” of Flor de Cana, the delicious national rum. Finally, I found the perfect oxcart parked for the duration in front of a “pulperia,” (like a 7-Eleven). I set about my task in earnest. Suddenly, I was surrounded by a slew of kids in glee thrilled to watch me draw. Whenever my pencil dulled, they were off lickety split to get it sharpened for me. It was a joy having them as my audience.
There is now a wonderful sequel to the story:
In the winter of 2022, my friend Millie who I met in Nicaragua, told me that she found the photograph from which I drew the holiday card on a website. I was absolutely thrilled. What an amazing coincidence. The photographer is Steve Cagan. His website is www.stevecagan.com. The photograph can be found under his series entitled “Nicarargua 1980s.” He does photography depicting political themes from all over the world. He went to Nicaragua in the 1980s to document the Revolution and one of his photos apparently ended up at Barricada Internacional, but I don’t remember seeing any signature. I was so thrilled, I called him up. I did speak with him briefly. He later contacted me via email. He will be taking me up on my offer to send him a few cards and a print of the original drawing.