The Nicaraguan family is the most basic and strongest support structure of society, and, like in most developing world nations, it is usually large—rural women have an average of 4–6 children, and families of a dozen or more aren’t uncommon. Urban couples, particularly in Managua , typically have no more than three or four children.
In addition, extended families—cousins, in-laws, aunts, and uncles—are all kept in close contact and relied upon during hard times (which, for many, is their whole lives). Families live close together, often in small quarters, and the North American and European concepts of independence and solitude are not well understood.
Nicaraguans’ traditional dependence on large family structures mandates that they take care of stragglers. If, for example, you were stranded in a strange country town in the pouring rain, it would not be strange or uncommon for someone to invite you into their home for coffee—or a bed.