Sometimes words in my native language become far more illustrative when I learn a related word in Spanish. Today, the word pulverize ascends to this new lofty height. Pulverize literally means to reduce to fine particles. Colloquially, we use it to mean utterly defeat or destroy. And the word in Spanish for dust is polvo. Pulverize, taken from the same Latin root, can be taken to mean “reduce to dust.”

In a way, today in León we are completely pulverized. Being in the midst of the dry season, the winds picked up last night and a dust cloud has descended on León. Add dust storms to the list of deleterious natural phenomena that affects Nicaragua.

It is hard to see in the photos, but the discolored parts of the sky are not clouds – or I suppose you could say they are dust clouds. I’ve seen people walking around with face masks, and everything is covered with a fine layer of black dust. Everything, from the floor, my bike seat, plates, and my shiny bald head.

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