TANEYTOWN — Come with me, my brother,
to the house of my Father
where there is peace,
TANEYTOWN -- Along withnative songs and accounts of life in Nicaragua, Mendelssohn Davila and Flor Maltez brought a message of peace to Taneytown Elementary's fifth-graders.
"How many of you like war?" Davila asked after describing the horrors of children dying in his native land. "How many of you like peace?"
The vote was unanimous for the latter.
Accompanied by their friend Alex -- a young man from El Salvador who lost his sight and arms during the war there -- Davila and Maltez have spentthe week in Carroll visiting residents, Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown and the New Windsor Service Center.
The members of the Christian Mission First Church in Managua, were here at the invitation of their sister church, the Westminster Church of the Brethren.
"This is not a relationship where we are dependent," Davila said. "We each help one another."
From here, they leave this afternoon to attend a young adult religious conference in Chicago.
"We will discussthe responsibility Christians have to people in the cities," Davila said.
But the conversation yesterday morning, interpreted by Tim Crouse of Washington, centered on how the lives of Nicaraguans were like and unlike those of people here.
The students -- who had been studying the Central American country for the past four days -- learned that the small, triangle-shaped nation is home to 3 million people.
"What are your holidays?" the youngsters called out. "What pets do you have? Have you ever seen snow?"
Davila and Maltez explained that their big holidays were Independence Day on Sept. 14, the festival of St. Domingo from Aug. 1 to Aug. 10 and, of course, Christmas.
"Oh, how cute," the children said after learning Maltez's mother had a baby pig for a pet. And, as for snow, the visitors told the kids that Nicaragua is too warm for such things.
"But we hope to see some in Chicago," Davila said.
The youngsters seemed to enjoy Davila's music the most, clapping and singing with him as he played the guitar for several native Nicaraguan songs, including "La Bamba," popularized by the group Los Lobos.
"You're fooling me," Davila said to the giggling students. "Your lips are moving, but you aren't really singing."
Ten-year-old Jennifer Anderson of Taneytown said she liked "La Bamba" the most of all the songs the duo sang.
"I used to see the video on MTV," she said.
Gary Miller and John Gesell, both 10 and of Taneytown, said they enjoyed the singing as well. But they also said they liked what their visitors had to say.
The children, happy that Davila and Maltez will send Taneytown's greetings back to Central America, said they are looking forward to writing to studentsthere.
"I just hope they can visit us again," Jennifer said.