Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Free at last!!

On Wednesday I finally tracked down the counterpart I´ve had problems with since the beginning and, prepared for an argument once again, told her that I didn´t think we should work together any longer. Much to my surprise and complete happiness, she agreed! She said she´s too busy to plan, but she really wanted to work with me, but she´s busy with church stuff, but you know, she really wanted to work with me, but yeah, it´s better if we don´t work together anymore…. even though she reeeeeeeaaaally wanted to work with me (that's basically how the conversation went).

Thursday I had my second site visit, our Project Specialist, Karen, came down for the day to speak with the principals, my counterparts, and the woman in charge of the Ministry of Education in the municipality. Everyone was really positive and the visit went really well and hopefully no one from Peace Corps will have to come down here again until my final site visit in a year.

I was happy to have Karen here when I told my principal that I am finally ending my working relationship with the one counterpart. This particular principal likes to think she has complete control over my work and what I do. Mostly she just really wants me to spend all my time at the instituto so when I started working out in the comunidades I could tell she wasn't happy. In fact, she told Karen that she had given me permission to work at the other school when in reality I hadn't asked her anything and told her only after the fact. Anyway, I knew that hearing that I would be working even less at the instituto wouldn't be welcome news. She tried to tell me that she had to speak with the counterpart because she had a compromiso (basically a promise) to work with me. Karen spoke up and defended my right to drop a counterpart and the issue hasn't come up since.

I spent the weekend in Granada, catching up with some volunteers I haven't seen in ages and got to spend Sunday afternoon chilling on the shores of Lake Nicaragua at a nice little vacation house of one of the volunteer's girlfriend's family:

And when we got back home, we happened to catch the tail end of the hipica (the big thing with horses and beer that I always talk about)! I love hipicas, but at one time had been told that there wasn't one here, then I was told it was down closer to the coast and wasn't any good, but what I saw was pretty nice. Lots of people all done up in their boots, nice horses, and a sound system that pumped music clear to my house for most of the night:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do not leave the dirty clothes you could wash today while there's water until tomorrow, because there won't be any water!!

I have discovered that water distribution in my town is ridiculously unfair. I had intermittent water last week till about Friday and then not again until Monday from sometime in the afternoon till about 6am on Tuesday and it hasn't come back since. Unfortunately I was having some stomach difficulties Sunday night and Monday so when the water finally did come on I didn't have the energy wash my clothes. I say it's unfair because up where my landlord lives they've had water every single day almost all day. Of course this morning when I finally called to see if I could just bring my monumental pile of laundry up there to wash they don't have water either. Figures.

In other exciting news, Nicaragua's phone system is overloaded so today all cell phones add an 8 to the front end and all land lines add a 2. Some volunteers have mentioned that maybe this will mean it'll be easier for international calls to get through, I guess we'll see.

Yeah, I don't have a theme for this week's post.

I've received a couple inquiries about a photo from my last post where I'm holding hands with a person of the male persuasion. In my tunnel vision I didn't consider the fact that not everyone in the world knows that that's my gay friend Moises and not my latin lover. Sorry!

Moment of the week: On Sunday I went with some friends to a river outside of town, in order to get to the farm and intended river we had to cross another river- as in drive through the river, not cross a bridge. (I guess I really shouldn't complain too much about my lack of water because just outside of town there are lots of people who have to haul their laundry down to the river to wash - though it might come to that point for me soon.) A couple guys had parked their truck in the middle of the river and were sitting in their underpants enjoying the cool water. My friend Bernd snapped a picture so I'll try to get a copy to share with you all.

That's all I've got this week, here are some pictures of a cool crab we found during Semana Santa:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I had so much fun it made me sick....

I have officially survived my first Nicaraguan Semana Santa. The first half of the week was pretty normal because most people were still working up until Thursday. Wednesday I went to the beach with a local NGO where I teach English. We fished, we cooked, we laughed, and I even played some soccer. It was a thoroughly awesome day.

This is the director, Rafael, wearing a ridiculous hat and showing off the catch of the morning:

Some shots of the fishing net:

Cute kid:

and the BBQ (this NGO is partnered with an organization in Germany so we even had super tasty German sausages, mmmmm):

Thursday I met up with some friends from Managua and we headed to the center of all things Semana Santa: San Juan del Sur. We spent the day on a nearby beach watching surfers and then enjoyed some of the night life.

The group at Playa Maderas:

A beautiful sunset on the beach:

Friday through Sunday was all spent running around the local beaches not far from my house. At one point I actually saw a temperature gauge and it was 40 degrees celsius which is, bum ba da bum, 104 degrees! Holy crap was it nice to be at the beach. More highlights:

Chillin on my back porch:

Lots of people at a beach that's normally deserted:

Out with friends:

Overall it was quite the week of celebrations. So much so that virtually no one showed up to school on Monday so we gave one class to a group of 8 students and then left. I also now have a cold. The week also ended on a bit of a sad note because one of my neighbors passed away on Saturday night, supposedly he fell and hit his head but that doesn't sound like the whole story to me. This guy lived next door to the NGO I mentioned above about a block from my house, he was always a little off his rocker but definitely quite the character. My first conversation with him went something like this:

Mario: German!!!
Me: No, actually I'm American.
Mario: Welcome to my country, here's a gift to remember it by (gives me a rubber band).
Me: Thanks.
Mario: Would you give me your ring to remember you by?
Me: Um, no, this ring is very important to me. I'll give you your rubber band back if you want though.
Mario: No, keep it.

That was quite some time ago, recently he took to simply yelling "Hola, Chela" (Hello, whitey!) at me when he walked past my house. He shall be missed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Semana Santa

We are just beginning the big holiday week of Semana Santa (Holy Week) here in Nicaragua. School's are out all week (woohoo!) and pretty much the whole rest of the world (minus the service industry of course) will go on vacation starting Thursday. Almost everyone heads to the beach and I'm excited to see my local one llena de gente (full of people). I will write more next week when I have a good story or two and lots of photos, or at least I hope I will. For now, I'm on vacation!