Elena Benedicto in Nicaragua

Elena Benedicto (with students Amelia Shettle, Julia Tolliver and Canek Phillips) visited Managua, Rosita, and Bilwi, in Nicaragua to work with the Mayangna Linguists Team on a linguistic, cultural and ethnobotany research project.  Elana share the following about the trip:

This year we are finally seeing a dictionary and a grammar published, all of it in Mayangna, no other language… beautiful!  We are all very proud … Demetrio Antolín and Elizabeth Salomón, of the Panamahka group, and Modesta Dolores, Tomasa Gomez and Gloria Fendly, of the Tuahka group.  They are also processing the data they have been collecting on plants and use of the forest. They have now around 500 different plants documented! They are now completing a one-year cycle, taking pictures of flowers and fruits that are now in show.

We are also working on the expression of movement predicates with some pretty amazing things the language does!

I took the bus from Rosita to Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas) very early on Sunday…. Elisa and I left at 6:30 and happily arrived into Bilwi at 2:30pm… a mere 8 hours for around 70 miles of dirt road … Wasn’t bad all the time, just some spots with holes of about 3×3 feet… Those buses, and their drivers, can do anything!!

The text in the front of the bus read: ‘no soy dueño del mundo, pero sí hijo del dueño – bendición de dios’ (i’m not the owner of the world, but i am the son of the owner’! god’s blessing). Nicaragua’s bus and truck drivers are always very poetic in the text they choose to post in their vehicles!!


Some of you might remember Elisa … She visited purdue in the fall of 2009.


The bus across from ours… but ours looked the same…


The forest between Rosita and Bilwi has been terribly de-forested for cattle production…


The ‘transbordador’ was full with vendors, buses and 18-wheeler trucks …


We crossed the Wawa river in a ‘transbordador’ … quite an experience… the river looked fantastic! Notice the houses on the right … some times the river grows so much that the transbordador cannot cross the river… then people have to cross on the narrow but very long dug outs made of a single tree…


This is the ‘heart’ of the transbordador… and the transbordador finally making it to the other bank of the river… we made it safely across!!


And here is our bus coming out of the transbordador into tierra firme!

Two hours later we arrived into Bilwi… I took a wonderfully cold shower in my hospedaje and took the rest of the day off! 🙂

Elena Benedicto
Associate Professor, Linguistics