Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The time I milked a cow....

I spent the weekend running around the countryside like I tend to do. Friday I went to Granada and helped my friends paint their house:

Saturday I got up early to go up to Managua and meet up with some friends for a trip to a farm in the central region of Chontales. The trip out took a lot longer than we were expecting but the drive through the mountains was gorgeous:

Even on the main highway it's common to see cows being herded to pasture:

Chontales, along with the rest of the central region, is basically known as cowboy country and a place to get really good cuajada which is white cheese that I can't figure out how to best explain but they make it fresh on the farm everyday and I just couldn't get enough.

Although it ended up being a short weekend, I think we all loved it. We got to ride horses, milk cows, swim in a little lagoon that was seriously amazing, and just chill out.

With my friend Coco:

A little boy who lives on the farm:

Handmade tortillas cooking on the fire:

The lagoon:

My friend Vera & me:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Less than a month left!

I've been enjoying living in Diriamba with my friend Maria, taking the bus over to San Rafael and back three days this week was less fun but not terrible. Actually living with Maria has enabled me to stay up to date on the World Cup which would have been totally lost on me if I'd still been living where I was at. In case the World Cup is lost on you, so far the U.S. has tied England and Slovenia! Not great but not so bad either. Nicaragua didn't make it to South Africa but Honduras did and so far they're not doing great either. Most people I know are going for Spain or Brazil.

Today I had the joy of judging the English Song Festival at Maria's school for the second year in a row. Neither of my schools is really organized enough to do this (actually one might be disbanded if they can't get the discipline problems under control!) but I think it's super awesome to see these kids get all dressed up and even choreograph a little bit. This year the winners were a group of boys in their final year singing "And I Love Her" by the Beatles. Clearly the girls went wild.

They even had a kid playing the bongos!

Eighth graders supporting their singer:

They dedicated the festival to Maria, awwwww:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Technically Homeless

In a complicated and unfortunate turn of events, I had to spontaneously move out of my site yesterday. Sunday night I was staying with friends elsewhere and was woken up at 3:30am by a phone call from my landlady, Claudia, telling me that two men had come to break into my house and fought with the caretaker guy who I pay to stay on the back patio while I'm gone (on the insistence of the Claudia). The positive was that the men had been arrested, but I still couldn't get back to sleep that night.

I was supposed to be doing my close of service medical review which meant 3 days in Managua (visit the dentist, have a physical, poo in a cup three days in a row - not kidding) Monday through Wednesday. So I did that and was in contact with Claudia, who made it clear that she thought it only happened because the streetlamp in front of my house was out so it was pitch black and that I should've left the outside lights on (I was gone for 5 days so I didn't think that was a great idea before I left).

So Wednesday rolled around and I wasn't excited to go back, but I was planning to move in with Claudia and her cousin Linda this weekend and the men were in prison (one was even a neighbor, it always happens like that) so I felt like it would be ok. Well, Claudia called and said the police screwed up and had to let the would-be thieves out which made me have a nervous breakdown. Peace Corps was very awesome and said I could stay another night in Managua and I ended up deciding to just move my stuff out and stay with a volunteer friend nearby because when I spoke to Linda she yelled at me and told me it was all my fault and so clearly I knew I couldn't stay with them.

I went down yesterday afternoon with a PC driver and my friend Allison, got everything out of the house and had a very sad and angry (on their part) goodbye with Claudia and Linda who would not get off the fact that it was my fault and I had to just walk away because they wouldn't listen to any of my apologies. Really, I was very lucky to have not suffered harm myself or to have lost anything, but losing friends who have been extremely generous and kind to me in the past is something completely different. At the same time, as I've seen with more than one person here, the same person who is kind and generous one moment can change into a mean, hateful being in the next and that will never cease to completely confuse me.

I'm going back on Monday with the Safety and Security Coordinator to check out the situation with the police and for now I'll be staying with my friend Maria in Diriamba and traveling for class. Peace Corps also appears to have some work I could do to occupy myself.

To not end on a depressing note, on Sunday I did a zipline canopy tour with my friend Dianne and her mom. It was awesome:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy Nicaraguan Mother’s Day!

The power outage of last week lasted about 50 odd hours, it came back on Friday morning while I was at a workshop with the teachers and a little cry of joy went up when the lights came on :) The sun even came out on Friday so life is pretty much back to normal with clean clothes, cold water, and 3am serenades for Mothers Day….. wait, what??

Sunday was Mother’s Day here in Nicaragua, and it is a BIG deal. The stores all offer sales (which aren’t that common), everyone buys a cake, there are signs all over the place thanking all the Nicaraguan moms, and apparently it is not rude or poor form to wake up your mother (and half the neighborhood) by hiring a mariachi band to play for her at 3:00 in the morning!!!! I heard two such serenades before 4am at which point I put in my earplugs and went back to sleep.


Since the rains started up this year my house has become infested with mosquitoes like never before. Now I do work on my bed (inside my mosquito net) to avoid being bitten and every time I look up I feel like I’m in a mosquito horror movie because I can see them perched on the net and buzzing around trying to find a way inside. It’s really creepy.


The week before last I was invited to the birthday party for my friend’s nephew’s 4th birthday, and also the 1 month birthday of her very brand new niece. So I put some toys in a bag and walked over at the appointed time expecting to see a piƱata and kids running around. Instead I found a bunch of adults and children seated in the yard and a bunch of speakers and a band! Strange, I thought to myself, but as I got closer I realized what it was: an evangelical church service. If I was four and my birthday party was actually church, I would be pretty disappointed but Sebastian didn’t seem to mind.

Here he is with his mom and sister:

And the band: