Saturday, November 22, 2008

In case you were wondering...

I made some changes to the layout of my blog, including a Wish List because people have been asking me what I'd like sent. Really any food-related item is awesome, my diet in Nicaragua is pretty much either rice or pasta with beans, a smattering of veggies, and some random fruits. There's not a lot for variety but really I shouldn't complain because I have a lot more variety than a lot of volunteers.

Anyhoo, flying back in the morning! wee!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spoke too soon!

Another lesson in Don't Make Plans in Latin America: I may have been cleared to go back to Nicaragua by my doctor but due to violent protests in Managua my return trip has been delayed to Sunday, when Peace Corps Nicaragua believes things should be calmer in the capital so I can get in and get back to my site where everything is normal.

Two days doesn't seem like it's too important, but those were two precious days to me that I was planning to spend with roommates who will be leaving on Monday as well as buying the needed stuff for my house (aka Everything! Refrigerator, gas stove, bed. When they say 'unfurnished' in Nicaragua, they mean unfurnished) before we have to be out of the house, which would be Monday. And that means that I will need to use Monday to do moving and buying of things when I'd really rather be at school trying to organize some kids for a summer English class I had been thinking about before I left. Needless to say, I feel a little stressed and I'm sick of being here by myself so I'm just ready to go back to Nicaragua.

As for these violent protests, unless you've been reading the World section of the Washington Post or specifically looking for it, I don't think anyone knows what's going on. Municipal elections were held on November 9th to elect new mayors (Each department/state in Nicaragua is divided into municipalities that include many towns so mayors in Nicaragua have more responsibility than those in the U.S. Plus there is no equivalent of state government, so there you go.). The Sandinistas (the party of President Daniel Ortega) is claiming victory in about 100 of 146 municipalities and have been accused of voter fraud by the opposition, the US, the Catholic Church, the Organization of American States, and lots more people. The elections in Managua and Leon, two of largest cities, are particularly contested and protests have been violent at times, but from what I've heard things in the rest of the country are fine. Right now volunteers are supposed to avoid going to Managua except for emergencies.

That's the basic rundown. If you wanna read more, here are a couple articles I found online:

The Economist

This Washington Post article is a little sensationalist in my opinion, but it's got some good points

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Adios a Panama!

I got the ok from my doctor yesterday to head back to Nicaragua, so that means that I will hopefully be flying back on Friday! Keep your fingers crossed that things go as planned because my roommates are moving out of the house this weekend so I'm cutting it pretty close for getting my butt back there. Since Andrea left last Thursday I really haven't done much that's worth writing about. Saw a movie, did some shopping (tons of cheap stuff in Panama!) to replace the clothes that have taken a major beating over 6 months of hand-washing, caught up on pop culture (watched TV), and ate some good food.

I'm excited to get back to my friends and my work, but school is ending next week so I won't have classes again till February. What will I do with my summer vacation? Hopefully teach some community classes, get moved into my house and meet my neighbors, and maybe see some more of Nicaragua. All I know is that I'm psyched to move out of this hotel!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Adventures in Panama Continue

Went to see the doc on Friday and things are moving along well. Unfortunately my next appointment isn't until the 19th which means I have to miss our in-service training which starts on the 18th :( I was really looking forward to seeing all my friends but I'm hoping that with the holidays coming up I'll get to see people. Hopefully I'll be heading back to Nicaragua shortly after that appointment.

My medevac buddy, Andrea, is going home tomorrow so I'll be left to my own devices for a while. But we've had some good adventures, here's what we've been up to:

Made two trips into Casco Viejo which is where Panama City was started for the second time (after pirates destroyed the original settlement). It has some cool old churches and various forms of architecture. I could wander around there all day!

And we went to an island! Isla Taboga:

Lastly, here's a diablo rojo (red devil) as the Panamanians like to call the buses that run in Panama City. They're all colorful and I think they're pretty cool:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


That title has more than one meaning. #1 I'm free from doctors for a couple days (and doing well, btw, thanks for the concern!) and #2 I like our new President/my boss.

I just got back from a fun-filled day of touring around Panama City and my tummy hurts a little from my dinner of a waffle with tons of Nutella, creme, and ice cream. It was amazing and totally worth the minor indigestion. My mind is continually being blown here, yesterday I went to a supermarket and probably stared at the cheese section for a good 10 minutes. There are American-style supermarkets in Managua, but cheddar cheese is really expensive and still doesn't taste quite right. This stuff was right on the money and is half gone already. Some more stuff I bought that I can't get in Nicaragua or is really expensive so I never buy it:


There's a business volunteer here in Panama as well, so we hit up the Panama Canal today:

Then we went to a big mall. Not a big fan of malls in general, major overstimulation and the malls in Managua aren't that big so this one was a little woah for my brain. However, we kept ourselves entertained and sane (you be the judge) by taking pictures with the giant animal statues that marked the different sections:

I'm amazed at how similar Panama City is to any American City, it's so different from Managua which doesn't have tall buildings or a sensical transportation system, let alone a Dunkin Donuts. My next doctor's appointment isn't till Friday so I can't wait to go see more of the city.

Last night I happened to turn on CNN en Espanol right as Obama was named President-elect. As you may have guessed, I'm happy with the results. Part of me really wishes I was in the U.S. right now to join in the celebrations, but part of me is also really glad to be representing the United States in the Peace Corps at this moment. I don't expect Obama to be the perfect President, I'm sure he'll make mistakes especially considering the domestic and international situations he's inheriting. But I feel like America has shown both itself and the world that we're ready for something different. More than one person in Nicaragua told me prior to the elections that America wasn't ready for a black president and I can't wait to get back to my site to find out what they think of the fact that we apparently are. And it can't hurt that he might help us get some more funding for Peace Corps, which it desperately needs right now. *The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone, again*