Just before leaving Nicaragua I spent a couple of days in Granada. I didn’t really get to see the city as much as I would have liked to, because I was busy studying for my EPSO exam by the pool. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do… But I managed to get a bit of a feel of the town; one of those occasions was visiting Café de las Sonrisas.
Café de las Sonrisas (The Smiles Café) is a project which started six years ago in Granada. It is a nonprofit café which sponsors social actions, like employing hearing impaired for service and youth for weaving hammocks. There are 40 people employed by the project, 30 of them are deaf.
I had breakfast at Café de las Sonrisas and as it says on the door when you enter their courtyard garden, it’s not only about eating, it’s about an experience you don’t get every day. The waiter is deaf, so you need to rely on pointing, showing, and talking with your eyes – and your smile.
There are posters with sign language on the walls and tables, so you can easily learn how to sign ‘thank you’ and ‘an omelette please’ while waiting for your coffee. The atmosphere is really relaxed, there are random bunnies running around the garden; and you can have a swing in the world’s biggest hammock.
As I was told by a friendly entrepreneur whose office was at the next table, the cafe is popular among locals and tourists (so much that the CNN reported about it too), and the concept has also been copied in other places.
I left with a smile. 🙂