A Nicaraguan Girl - True Mystery in Granada, Nicaragua
Granada is a great tourist destination and the oldest city in Central America. The Nicaraguan city is almost exactly 600 years old. A remarkably aged town in this part of the world.
Granada was once the residence of an American lawyer named William Walker (1824-1860). He conquered Nicaragua 1854 and decided to be a sole and absolute ruler of this Central American nation. After a while, however, he realized that this idea wasn't very 'healthy' for him.
The coalition of Central American armies was advancing. In this situation, Walker and his general decided to escape. Doing so, they set the city on fire placing a sign on the shore of Lake Nicaragua “Granada Was Here”.
I can prove that they were wrong.
Granada is still there.
May I introduce you to Kathy and to Granada?
Granada is a beautiful, well-seasoned, a little bit crumbling, and typical colonial town. When you walk on well used sidewalks full of gaps, holes, and cavities you are aware of the city’s aura, a medieval and colonial mix.
Most of the buildings there, are very colorful, one-story houses covered with huge, deep hanging terracotta roofs. From the street, you often can catch a glimpse into their roofless inner courtyards with ornamentally bejeweled fountains standing in beds of exotic blossoms, surrounded by palms, and flowering plants. Such views are for me always like ‘mountain eyes’, like crystal-clear lakes in high mountains, or like a view on a radiant oasis in a desert. It is always a refreshing and invigorating sight.
In this city lives Kathy (see the image below the title of the article). She is young and strikingly beautiful. It is a very popular girl with many friends and loving family. One day she meets an American. It is exciting for Nicaraguan girls to meet a 'yanqui' (Spanish for Yankee), or they would often call him a 'gringo'. It is an old Spanish word, and it means "foreign" in English. It comes probably from “griego”, which indicates "Greek" in Spanish. In other words, they say, those foreigners "sound Greek to us."
The Powerty in Nicaragua
Nica, it is an official, not offensive, short form for Nicaraguans and equivalent to Tica, a short name for Costa Ricans. Hence, Nica-girls enjoy gringos… Yes, sometimes. Especially when the Yankees aren’t penniless. For the reason that in general Nicaraguans live in poverty, they of course, appreciate the opposite of lacking money, the prosperity. It is understandable.
Why Nicas are so poor? For example, their neighbors to the south, Ticas, are much more wealthy. You even can find many Nicas working for lowest wedges (in my eyes it is a new form of slavery) in Costa Rica. In this way, they are able to help their families left back in Nicaragua.
I still haven’t told you why Nicas are so badly affected by poverty. This is primarily because of politics and wars. Their neighbors to the south enjoyed stable, democratic government and no violent political disturbances in the last almost sixty years. Additionally to it, Costa Rica doesn't have any army. It means, they don't throw they money for useless military away (it is useless in their case, and it could be in Nicaragua's case too).
Nicaragua isn’t that lucky. Maybe you still remember the dictatorship of Somoza family, all the Sandinistas, and Contras. This fighting between all those political groups left the country financially devastated. Now, Ortega is the democratically elected President, but it is possible that he is corrupt… It means that, the situation in NicaLand is slightly better nowadays, but there is still a long way to go.
I didn’t forget Kathy. No, no, no. I’ll never forget her. I just wanted to describe Kathy’s situation for you.
She is a happy girl, although her new gringo friend is much older than she is. Exactly said, her friend is fifty years her senior. “At least he is wealthy,” she thinks. She isn’t materialistic; she is only realistic. After a while, Kathy and her boyfriend decide to marry each other. Kathy looks gorgeous and happy on her wedding day. Everybody else is happy too, including her groom.
And they lived happily together forever after.
The End of the story. :-)
There is something else.
A Story of a Nicaraguan Girl
The fortunate groom bought a restaurant for Kathy. He wanted to keep her busy. It was a good idea.
In the meantime, it’s a famous breakfast and lunch place in Granada, named ‘Kathy’s Waffle House’. They serve ‘down-home’ American breakfast with best vista in town. Across the street, you see the bluish church Iglesia de San Francisco and to the other side you can even admire the Volcano Mombacho. The minus point is that you’ll find here almost only tourists and expats. The native population is represented solely by waiters (all men), kitchen personnel (all women), and beggars (all cute children).
Shortly before I leave Costa Rica for a trip to Nicaragua, I read “The Nica Times”. Nica Times is part of “The Tico Times” a weekly newspaper for English speakers in Costa Rica. This newspaper is published since 1956, and it is the first English weekly in Central America.
Not good news coming out of “Tico Times”. There is flooding on the way to Nicaragua, and a bridge is damaged. It happens quite often in Costa Rica. The bridges there aren’t the safest in the world. The next news I read are even worse.
A few minutes ago, as you know, I’ve introduced you to the young and beautiful Kathy and her breakfast restaurant ‘Kathy’s Waffle House’ in Granada.
“The Tico Times” says that she is dead.
I can’t believe it.
I reread it.
It must be another Kathy, somebody else named Kathy, this isn’t “our” Kathy…
I ask my friends, they read and say, “We also can’t believe it, but it can only be 'our' Kathy.”
If she would die a regular death it would be somewhat acceptable. However, it was nothing regular in this what happened to her. I look at her photography, which is published in the newspaper. A slim, well proportioned, beautifully smiling, great looking, young woman is sunny beaming into the camera.
She was sitting on her thoroughbred black horse named "Lucero" and wearing skinny jeans and well-fitting equestrian boots. Somebody has said about her, “It was a very happy and optimistic, young, pleasing, attractive and hard working girl. A rare combination of beauty and intelligence.” Although there was a large crew in her restaurant, she was often seen mopping the floors herself. She was of course very popular in her hometown. Kathy was a celebrity, one of the most liked and recognized people, and probably a most amazing young woman in Granada.
How did she die?
A Street Procession, Granada by ialivejournal
I Wish She Could Tell us Her Story
She was found by the police, with a big bullet wound in her chest. Her husband couldn’t get through to her because her room was locked. At the time of her dead, she was alone in her room, her husband and somebody else were not far away.
The official version says that the death of young Kathy was suicide. She was the one who shot with Taurus revolver, caliber 3.57. It was her husband’s weapon.
How and who have figured it out that she killed herself? The police did it after the investigation of gunshot residue on Kathy; they checked also her husband, and one other person. Only on Kathy they found gunshot residue.
Shortly before her death, Kathy was seen working around the restaurant. She was like always cheerful and in good spirits.
I know only little about her husband. He is almost 80, expatriate from the US. Kathy was his seventh or eighth wife. A few years ago, he was married to a Costa Rican woman and was living in Costa Rica (not Nicaragua) for many years. He went also there to jail because of possession of marihuana. A colourful life. There is nothing wrong with it.
Kathy’s heartbreaking funeral was four days after her death. It was held in the Cathedral. There, was largest and most abundant horse carriage with tons of flowers and mourners. There was also her beloved black stallion "Lucero" with her boots and ‘sombrero’ draped over the saddle. Her father was broken hearted crying, “Mi hija, mi angel,” (mi Hija = my daughter); her husband was shaking with deep grief, sad over his loss.
A few days later I was in Granada, eating breakfast in “Kathy’s Waffle House”, her widower was there too. He was, as always, greeting and talking to his guests. Business as usual? I don’t know. The breakfast was good. Has anything changed at all?
I've seen Kathy’s dog (see my photography) and her widowed husband. I ate at her restaurant, twice as she was still with us and twice after her death. However, I've never seen Kathy in real life. I wish I would... I feel only somewhat connected to her... I'm sad for her. I'm sad that she can't speak to us anymore; I wish she could.
View from Kathy's Waffle House
© 2011 Maria Janta-Cooper
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