The walls of Quaker House include social justice quotes and heroes, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Nicaraguan national hero Augusto Sandino — the man depicted in the small painting with the yellow background.

What does justice look like? What can we do to live justly? We’ll spend a lot of time answering these questions throughout our lives.

Our history lesson this morning, with Mark Lester of the Center for Global Education, gave us a lot to think about.

Lester has lived in Nicaragua since 1985, originally coming to the country through his work as a pastor. He was a wealth of information about the important dates, players, political system and impact of United States influence in Nicaragua over time.

He told us about influence of the United States occurred even in the 1800s, when the two political parties curried favor with the US to get support for their unique agendas. There were U.S. Marines in Nicaragua in 1908 and from 1912-1933, Lester explained. Decades later, the U.S. involvement played out in what we in America know as the “Iran-Contra Affair” and what is known in Nicaragua as the insurrection. Most here believe the Revolution is what occurred from July 19, 1979 until 1990, when the Somoza dictatorship was overthrown.

Lester told us about the continued U.S. involvement here, and how many of the same tactics used to convince the American people of the need for involvement in Nicaragua in the 1980s were used — by many of the exact same people — to make the case for invasion of Iraq.

While who the “good guys and bad guys” are continues to be murky today, our history lesson gave us an awareness of that murkiness, of all of layers of truth and reality involved in something so complicated. And we will hopefully be ready to question more, and deeper, when something just doesn’t feel right.

This afternoon we will visit several historic sites and take in even more. I think it’s safe to say our transformation is underway.

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