Universality Time (Quantification)

Through my experience Nicaragua uses AM/PM time.  They often will use the expression “por la manana or por la tarde or por la noche” after telling the time to specify morning, afternoon or night.

When living in Nicaragua “our aunt” would always say she would pick us up after her work event/meeting which she could never give an exact time because it all depended on when people showed up that day which determined whether a meeting or presentation would start. We always kept an open window of about two hours.  If she said she would pick us up at 1pm- we planned on being available between 12:30 – 2:30.  Time is relative not usually fixed, they live in the moment. They like to have the freedom to use their time the way they like, rather than being slaves of time. Have human values vs time values.

Universality Space (Concepts of Boundaries)

Nicaraguenses seem to be less conscious about personal space especially in public places.  For example, everyone shares a cab whether you know the other people or not. A cab will pick up random people on the way to taking you to your destination and you will all squish together in the back or front of the cab.

Also there are a lot of communities formed by squatters.  People moved into areas (a lot of times on top of dumps) where they did not have formal permission to live and then eventually over time the communities would develop and become formalized with the help of  NGO’s and government support.

Universality Action  (Recording Systematization)

Poet, Ruben Dario is highly renowned, “hero” in Nicaragua.  Poetry is a big part of the culture that is passed on from generation to generation.  Also traditional dance and plays are popular. They have strong folklore, music and religious traditions. The pacific coast is strongly influenced by Spain and the people predominantly speak Spanish while the Caribbean Coast is more influenced by Britain and is connected more to the traditions of the Caribbean countries.  The main language of the Caribbean coast is English (Creole).  The music, folklore and other storytelling traditions are differ from the Caribbean coast from other areas of the country.

Point of References Time (Laws and Rules)
I noticed that a lot of areas in Nicaragua reference rainy and dry season because it effects road closures, work etc…

There is also a lot of religious celebrations/holidays as well as an abundance of political events / celebrations that are very important to the Nicaraguan people/culture. When I would tell people that I was going to be in Nicaragua in July the first thing people would say is something in reference to 19 de Julio (July 19th), Liberation Day/FSLN Revolution Day (big celebration of the FSLN political party).

Point of References Space (Descriptions)

Little less than arm distance is normal. Kiss on the cheek greetings and shaking of hands (business settings) is normal. More touching and closeness occurs between good friends and family. Women need to be a little reserved especially with unknown members of opposite sex because minor actions (non-verbal communication and spacial relationships) could be interpreted as romantic advances. Machismo is prevalent in Nicaragua.

Point of References Action
Nicaraguans value relationship building and harmony so it is important to avoid hard
selling, pressure tactics and any sort of conflict or confrontation. Although, you sign contracts in business (corporations, public sector) and in other facets of life (individuals renting an apartment, a car, gym, buying properties, etc…)  Compared to other countries I’ve traveled, I noticed that there was a lot less pressure by people selling things on the street and in the markets to buy. The vendors would not harass you as much as in other countries.   Generally, if you said no thank you, they would usually leave you alone.

Structuring Time (Future Orientation)

Live in the moment- don’t feel the pressure of time- except when dealing with westerners at times they are pretty punctual.  Also I think that they are past oriented and future oriented -meaning that the revolution, wars and political events of the past are still very much in their minds and a big part of the way they think/act but since they are the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere they have to look to the future for hope and advancement.   When we interviewed people all over Nicaragua,  politics and past events were inter-weaved in their answers to “everyday type” questions but they also had a lot of hopes for the future.

Structuring Space (Planning)

It seem that there is a lack of planning in some urban centers. For example, Managua (capital) does not have a downtown or city center.  It is spread out instead of up.  Also it is located on a major fault line, because of lack of planning. Managua was more or less planned /formed around a political debate between the liberals in Leon and conservatives in Granada.  Managua was agreed upon as a compromise because it was in the middle of Leon and Granada.

Structuring Action
Because of the poverty conditions (second poorest country in western hemisphere), I believe they have to live more in the moment than plan because you never know what is going to happen. For example, if someone in the family gets sick, the kids will stay home from school and help the family with work.  Little goes as planned and plans often times change. Very flexible in their plans. Except for some key holiday / political and religous celebrations- these are often planned and consistent.

City planning and infrastructure poor.  There are a lack of fire hydrants which lead to insufficient methods (firefighters have to get water from the lake in Granada), often problems with garbage pick up etc…