The churches draw me in with their quiet tiles, cool air. Their constant ceremony, their everyday, rhythmic presence.
The lights went out soon after dark in the small town of Altagracia, on the island of Ometepe. Drums and horns and slow singing preceded a procession of Mary in a huge conch shell, held on the shoulders of several young men. The full moon and the floodlit statue were the only light.
When they arrived at the church, the men turned Mary around to face the crowd. Someone brought up an effigy of a bull made from palm fronds, with two sticks for the front legs. Suddenly the bull was lit and the boy holding it racing through the plaza, sparks spraying.