Monthly Archives: July 2015

Day 149

Today was my first official day of work! I didn’t have to take a bus, I didn’t have to worry about when to get up or eat lunch. It was pretty straight forward. I had to classes back to back in the Institute in my town. One class from 12:15-2pm and the other from 2-245 pm. One class was decimo or tenth grade, the equivalent of American 11th grade and the other was undecimo or eleventh grade, the equivalent of 12th grade. They don’t have 12th grade here and it’s normal for students to graduate at age 16.  I have decided to observe three classes before beginning to co-teach and make suggestions on class activities. I saw one class was very calm, excited to meet me and attentive to their teacher despite their excessive energy. The other class had a lot of boys and consequently a lot of trouble makers. I can tell I am going to have to rule with a firm hand there. From the moment I walked in the class, the boys whistled at me and cat called me. During class, they intentionally dragged desks across the ground to see what the teacher would do at the screeching sounds. My hope is that I will make the class so much fun they won’t focus on being a distraction. My teachers seem oblvious to the idea of co-planning once a week for the following class but hopefully they warm up to the idea. Afterwards, I presented an idea of having English tutoring for 7th ad 8th graders to the Principal. She told me she would collect a list of students who need it. My Spanish tutor told me students don’t start learning English until 7th and 8th grade here and it’s often hard for the students to understand. I am excited about the idea. It will help me understand the needs of my students and how Nicaraguans like to learn. It will also give me an opportunity to practice my Spanish as I teach them English. Can’t wait to see progress in a few weeks! 

ALSO, two new women came to my yoga class this week! I love those ladies. 

Day 147 & 148

Day 147: Today was supposed to be my first day of work. SUPPOSED to be. But, one of the things I love/hate about Nicaragua is the laxness of time, I missed my bus. I waited for an hour! No amount of words can explain how sad I was and disappointed because, I am truly months behind for co-teaching. I feel like every day I am not teaching, I am letting myself and my teachers down. I texted my teacher and he was understanding. It doesn’t help that all my schools are 1-2 hours away and a taxi ride is just entirely unaffordable. Sigh.. day fail. I shall try again next week and it seems that I’m going to have to leave really early on the bus and skip lunch. 

Day 148: Since I have no class, I’m traveling to my nearest city (1.5 hrs away) to go to the bank and do a little shopping. Since it’s so far away, I don’t want to be longer than an hour so I can get home before it’s dark. I’ve decided to find something beautiful everyday. Today, I think seeing Coke bottles with names and quotes in Spanish was beautiful. Because, the magic of Coke with your name wasn’t limited to America. On the bus ride back, I sat next to a little old lady. She reminded me of my Granny. She had the Nicaraguan equivalent of a Cricket phone. It was beautiful to see, despite the humongous buttons and antenna, and know she hasn’t given up on trying technology. Beautiful things are everywhere… just have to open your eyes. 

Day 146

Today im having a chili party. I planned it weeks ago and refused to cancel on account of my sneaky parasite. It’s to be cultural exchange between my family and volunteers! First I learn how to cook beans the Nicaraguan way. Which means outside on a fuegon. First my mom removed the old ashes. Then she cut some of the fire wood info little pieces. My dad showed me how to take little pieces of wood, paper (and to my dismay plastic) and diesel fluid to start the fire. I helped! We had a great time and my dad starts gushing about how he loves cooking grilled chicken out here and I realized THIS IS A NICARAGUAN GRILL! Something about men and cooking outside, I guess it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. (PS my dad is also a mechanic sooooo men and cars seems about right too lol) (PSS we did end up having grilled beef for lunch).
Yesterday, my mom told me to clean the beans. I thought that meant just picking out the rocks. As I was washing them she told me I have to had to do more than pick out the bad rocks. That I left a few bad beans. So I had to clean them three times over. Then I washed the pot or Olla. It’s the pot dedicated to cooking beans, that’s why it’s colored that way. It’s not dirty. It also has soot build up from cooking so much outside so you only wash the inside. Then you cook the beans in water, covered for two hours. 

Two hours later, I drained as much juice as I could without a strainer, cooked the meat, added it, onions, green peppers, a cut tomato, tomato sauce and seasonings. It was just short of perfection without chili powder but the paprika made up for it. Nicaraguans don’t really eat spicy food so they said my chili was really spicy BUT everyone loved it! There wasn’t any left over. Which hurts my heart because I just know I’m going to crave some tomorrow. My site mates mom baked two pans of maísapan or cornbread and together the meal was delicious! The friends we invited brought cake to celebrate my other site mates birthday. We plsyed games! The pin the tail on the donkey was classic, the musical chairs (from what I heard, a little dangerous) and limbo was a hilarious game to share with the Nicaraguan. We also danced, what Nica party doesn’t include dancing?! I missed taking pictures of musical chairs because I was washing dishes. We ran out of silverware (see my previous post during training on the shortage of silverware in Nicaragua). The party members were quite understanding and patient for clean plates and forks. Afterwards, we cleaned and took a quick hike to see a cross. It was beautiful. My chili party was a success and I met new people. Not sure when I’ll be having another.. hosting parties is stressful! I’m not sure how my mom does it. 

Day 145

Sugar had her babies! There are six. They’re super cute. I’m a little concerned though because Sugar has no interest at all of being a mother. They’ve been calling her “mala madre” (bad mother) and chasing her around the house to put her in the box with her babies. It’s strange. I thought child birth was laborious. She doesn’t look tired at all. She doesn’t look any different. If I hadn’t seen the babies myself, I’d think she was still pregnant! I guess it’s true what they say, any woman can have a child but not every woman can be a mother. 

Day 144

The loneliness is what really gets to you. Think of your support system. Think of the people that matter the most to you. How did they come to be in your life? Are they family members? Maybe friends of the family? Maybe you went to the same schools. But here, it’s different. My coworkers aren’t my age. They all have families and obligations that don’t even come to my mind. My potential students are max 16 years old. Considering extreme age differences in relationships isn’t a big deal here, I wouldn’t even consider getting too close to my male students and would be a mentor to my female students. I don’t know where to go or how to know what’s real. I know I’ve only been here awhile but a friend could change the tide. Being sick, hasn’t made me physically hurt as much as last time. I caught it very quickly. But it has caused me to think and reflect. I have a huge obstacle of work to get over, but I’d rather try than do nothing. 

PS. It’s hard being sick and I realize it’s been making me less vigilant in my writing but know that I’m dedicated to sharing my story, even in my sickbed. So ignore any possible spelling errors you might see. ☺️ I’ll be fully well soon and back to spell checking on a computer. 👍🏾

Day 142

For the past two weeks I have been saying, “I don’t feel 100%.” Well today revealed why. The revenge of the parasite. I woke up and had déjà by. Literally as before, threw everything up and my stools progressively turned to liquid. Yesterday, my stomach really hurt but after I had a bowel movement it felt a little better. Today it’s hurting in the exact same place. After throwing up again, I asked my host family to take me to the city, where the nearest laboratory paired with Peace Corps is. After waiting several hours in the sun, it was confirmed I have two parasites. One is the exact same as before. Apparently, the hospital only treated my symptoms and I was supposed to take a pill to kill my parasite when I left. Sigh… No one communicated that to me and now I’m sick and again pushing my work farther behind. Thankfully we caught this before I got dehydrated! No more hospitals for me. My mom made some kind of slime, sludge like jello stuff for me out of camomile and cinnamon. Surprisingly, it’s staying down. So that’s what I’ll be eating with Nica homemade soup… And sleeping. Darn you parasites. 

Day 140

It’s so quiet. How could I not sleep in, when did the first time in a very long time, the house is so quiet. No one is blasting the TV, there aren’t any drunk men outside my window and the typical animal is keeping all its noises to itself. Sleeping in felt great. Thank goodness today is a Nicaraguan holiday. They are celebrating 36 years of liberation from the dictator Somosa (I think I wrote that correctly). It was a huge celebration and I got a small history lesson into my there is a little hostility towards Americans. Apparently, like always, we stuck our nose where it didn’t belong and supported the dictator, causing him to rule a few more years than he would have. Nonetheless, the celebration was beautiful, full of colors and songs. There were prayers and rituals. For such a small country, they showed out in Managua. And I’m grateful, because my house is quiet. 

Day 138

I saw a wedding! Well the procession of a wedding. I was sitting, eating breakfast, per usual when my host mom said, “come to the door! It’s a wedding.” I stood in my night clothes watching a group of people walking, a make shift parade. I didn’t realize until too late I should have been taking a video! Suddenly, in the midst of the crowd I saw her the bride, full veiled and in white walking amongst the crowd of people to the church. I asked who the people were. They’re her family and people of the community, standing and walking her to her soon to be husband. I couldn’t think of more beautiful sentiment. Still in my pajamas, I ran behind them to the the church and hid in the bald sneaking a few pictures. I was terribly underdressed and didn’t want to dishonor this moment with my tackiness so I quickly left. Hopefully another wedding happens in my two years here so I can record it as learn more about the cultural differences! If it does, I’ll know because the church is right beside my house. I’ll hear the Bridal Chorus!

Day 136

My sitemate Megan visited the coast. Which is totally awesome and rare here because Bluefields, Nicaragua is about 8-9 hours away travel including buses AND rickety boats. She brought fruta de pan there and invited m over to watch it be cooked and eat it! Well who am I to turn down a cultural lesson? So I went. It’s a fruit that’s very starchy. Once you cut into it you have to leave it sitting in water to preserve it. We cut it into squares an fried it and it ended up tasting a good middle between French fries and sweet potatoes fries. I liked it. She shared it with her and friends and her bosses because it’s a rare fruit, only on the coast, and most Nicaraguans never travel that far. She’s so kind and I met new people. Today was a good day. 

Day 135

Noise. There’s so much noise here. That’s how I know I’m back in site. IST ended and I, after scrounging the awesome PC library walked away with three GRE practice books. I’m so thankful. My intention is to study for at least an hour a day until I take the exam.

Every time I am feeling less than my best, God shows me that I matter AND I’m doing a good work. Here things run at such a slow pace. It often feels like nothing is happening, but it is. My tutor asked me why I’m here. I was explaining the different sectors of peace corps (small business, health, environment, TEFL) and how my primary goals are to teach youth entrepreneurship to 11th and 12th grade and teach the curriculum to the teachers here. Promoting the understanding of the financial concepts and curriculum is most important to continue the understanding of how to start your own business after I’ve finished u service. My excitement was uncontainable and she asked why was I here if I had so much knowledge and excitement about entrepreneurship. My answer was easy, “I am here because I see possibilities here. Nicaragua is an amazing opportunity to make a real change and teach people who truly need the information.” She was touched and shared with me she had a business idea but has been too scared for years to implement it. We talked in depth about cultural changes that we need to do and what the businesses in my site need. Whenever you’re unsure about being in the will of God, just look for Him to give you a wink.