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Literacy cultural train in Managua | Jul 15, 2010

Students inside the interactive museum.
Cinthia Membreño

The cultural train, an educational, ambulant and interactive project dedicated to the National Literacy Crusade of Nicaragua, opened its doors at Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) a month ago. The attractive museum consists of a series of videos, recordings, documents and objects that were part of an educational initiative after the Sandinista Revolution, which was developed in 1980 and reduced the illiteracy rate from 50% to 12 % in five months.

Martha Delgado, tour guide of the museum, explained that the project started in 2006. Nowadays, it has visited the departments of Matagalpa, Jinotega, Chinandega, Granada, Masaya, Esteli, Managua and Carazo. "We've had 56 000 visitors (2010 isn't counted) who have learned about this story of courage and heroism. The literacy crusade of 1980 is not a frequent subject in educational institutions," she stated.

The story of thousands of young Nicaraguans who traveled from cities to the most distant communities to teach others to read and write, is shown in only 45 minutes. The museum is constituted by three wagons with modern design and high technology systems. Its visitors learn about the context of Nicaragua back in the late 1970's, as well as the experiences, emotions and fears of those students who once became teachers. Also, a final activity is executed by the end of the tour. Visitors have to reflect on the general content of the wagons and current issues of the country.

The cultural train will remain open at UCA until September 20th. According to Maria Nellis Chamorro, tour guide of the museum, the project will no longer function due to lack of funds, but hope is still alive. "We hope that all the material of the train will be uploaded to a platform. Everyone will have access to this part of Nicaragua's history," she explained.