In Nicaragua the process of initial submersion took a rather short time. From day one the country’s raw beauty and intensity were jumping at me from every corner, breaking through the mildly colorful, "ready for international tourism" surface. On our fourth day in Granada, at around 4:30 in the morning, we were awakened by the most cacophonous religious procession. First, the sound of a multitude of horns each carrying a different pitch, seeped into my dream, and turned it into a weird nightmare. Roused from the depths of my subconscious I cursed the Catholic zealots and began to grasp how the sound of horns could actually destroy the walls of biblical Jericho. These frightful sounds made me laugh, they made me cry, and finally made me get the hell out of bed and run outside with camera in hand. The moment I stepped out barefoot and half naked into the street, I realized I wasn’t going to capture anything – it was simply too dark. A pity – the scene in front of me was well worth shooting. Annoyed, I stood in the dim morning light, observing a tragicomic felliniesque procession. A group of sleepy, disheveled children dragged themselves down the street, blowing horns, beating on drums, making an awful dissonant ruckus. From behind they were pushed by two, no less sleepy, old priests in robes who, in the interim, were pushed by a beat up Volkswagen bug equipped with an antique loudspeaker convulsing strange, distorted music. Passing in front of me was a sad looking religious circus straight out of Luis Buñuel's early films. But underneath all that humor I could smell oppression, darkness and fear. Nicaragua is one of those hard-suffered countries (I felt the same thing in Cambodia) where violent death and heavenly salvation happily coexist under one roof. The remains of a torturous past and the reminders of a promised afterlife were everywhere – revolution and death, death and salvation. But Nicaragua was more than that. It was the paradisiacal beauty of the land we traveled and the distinct character of people we met every day. These were the survivors and the real heroes of the story. In the very short time spent in Nicaragua I began to feel the pulse of the “in context”, which became the structure for this book. Clearly, this travelogue /essay is only an initial step in a chosen direction.
Andrei Rozen is a photographer and filmmaker. His work has been published in a variety of magazines around the world. Presently Andrei Rozen lives and works in New York city.