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Written on: Sunday September 20th, 2009

A journal entry from: Cycle Mexico - Panama

September 11th - 15th

Andy´s uncle Peter was working in Managua as a UN interpreter on a UN mission concerning food aid for the region. We had been in contact and decided to go to Managua to meet up. Eventually we found the hotel that Peter was staying in, and that he had booked us into as well. It was great to see him, and as he mentioned, a little surreal. We had a nice dinner that evening with Peter and some of his colleagues, including the UN special rapporteur on Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter. It was great to stay in a really nice hotel as well!

Luckily for us, the next day´s field trip had been cancelled, so we could go on a sightseeing tour with Peter and his colleagues and some of the local UN representatives. We were followed everywhere by some armed guards, as this is UN policy in certain countries. First we went to visit Volcan Masaya, which was incredible with smoke pouring out of the crater, and a strong smell of sulphur. After that we continued to Granada where we had a delicious lunch consisting of fresh water fish from the Lago de Nicaragua just by the restaurant. After lunch we continued into town where we had a look around. Granada is another pretty colonial town with nice cathedrals and other interesting buildings. On our way back to Managua we stopped at a small village called Catarina, famous for its handicrafts. We found ourselves a ceramic bowl that we liked.

It was a nice change to be taken around a few tourist sites in a comfortable vehicle, with no hassles or difficulties. It was also very interesting to meet and have a chance to talk to the UN people and to hear their views on the historical and political situation in Nicaragua and the whole region.

There had been a press conference at our hotel the previous day (before we arrived) involving the special rapporteur. He had talked about the UN mission and its findings. He was dissapointed to have been misinterpreted in the newspapers the next day. Interestingly all the daily newspapers are in opposition to the government, so maybe that is not a surprise. As Peter pointed out it does show that there is freedom in the press.... So it has been an interesting experience and it feels like we have had a small glimpse of how it can be like to work for the UN.

Peter went back home to Divonne and we have stayed an extra two days at the hotel in order to get ready for some more cycling. We will now head to the Pacific where we will cycle along the coast towards Costa Rica.


From Uncle Peter on Sep 15th, 2009

An excellent summary. One minor point: the mission was about the right to food (I direct you to General Comment no. 12 of the Committe on Human Rights)within which wider context food aid is an issue. It was great to see you and be introduced personally to Shaun and Toby. Bon voyage!

From Uncle Peter on Sep 15th, 2009

I should add for those who were not present y para los mal pensados that pressure of work prevented the rapporteur joining us on the excursion.I should like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to his enormous capacity for hard work and long hours.

From Uncle Peter on Sep 15th, 2009

Correction to my comment No. 1: it was the Committe on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which issued General Comment 12 on The Right to Adequate Food.

From Uncle Peter's Daughter on Sep 15th, 2009

Wow! your journey seems to get more wonderful by the minute. I hope to see you back in the UK at some point. All the best - Flo

From From Uncle Peter's Sister on Sep 15th, 2009

So pleased that you met up with Pete and I have had first hand news of you both. Good luck with the next part of your adventure! With much love for you both

From Andy & Yasmin on Sep 20th, 2009

Thanks for the corrections :) Yes, it was really nice to meet up, and thanks again for everything. We had a great time. Next time we´ll see you in Europe somewhere!

From Andy & Yasmin on Sep 20th, 2009

Hi Flo, Great to hear from you. How are things in lovely Canterbury? Yes, we should meet up in UK when we are back! Take care meanwhile :)

From Andy & Yasmin on Sep 20th, 2009

Thanks Uncle Peter´s sister! Great that you could speak to Uncle Peter himself :) Lots of love.