Category Archives: Werd Travels

Fuego Y Agua

Saturday, February 6, 2016. Day 340 (OMG OMG so close to one year!)  I signed up for a 25K hosted by Fuego Y Agua! They offer 25 K, 50 K, 100 K and a survival run. They also aren’t exclusively in Nicaragua. Always open to travel and experience new things, I decided to sign up and kill 2 birds with one stone. Up until this point, I had never been to Ometepe and had never participated in a marathon. It has always been on my bucket list. I traveled 8 hours and an hour boat ride (including sea sickness) to the island of Ometepe. The race was on Playa Santo Domingo on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua. Although advertised as a 25 K race, they later informed us it was actually 33 K race. Up until the race, I had no formal training. I used the walk to one of my rural schools as a gauge. My school is 8K one way and I was able to do the 16 K walking in 2 hours. So I felt a 25 K would be a challenge but doable. The day before the race, receiving the information about the additional 13 K was a big scary but there was nothing I could do. On the day of the race, I started with two other volunteers with me. One volunteer and I had agreed to walk the entire thing. The other volunteer said she would run a bit. We lined up under the Gatorade advertised start/finish line and raised our right hand as dictated by the announcer then repeated something I can’t remember that ended with, “and if I get lost, it’s my own damn fault.”

Continue reading Fuego Y Agua

Day 325 IST

325 days in, almost one  year since I’ve been in Nicaragua! Today everything broke, I do mean everything. My computer froze, then turned off and then  basically gave me the cold shoulder. It was permanently on a black screen. It tried to start up repair and after doing that 12 times, I knew it was at the end of the rope. My basic Nicaraguan phone looked like a bomb that might detonate at any time. The battery swelled so much, I couldn’t even put the back of my phone on. It sucks that everything is seemingly falling apart but I must believe it’s for a reason. We are at an all included resort, one of the very few in Nicaragua. It had food and drinks, even alcoholic beverages with the right color band. Sports, pool, beach, and hot water in the showers, what could be missing? Wifi. Nope, that’s not included in the ridiculously high bill. For four days, I was stuck, unable to do work without a phone, computer or internet.

All the training was in Spanish. My brain feels as if all the life has been sucked out trying to understand it all. But I can say that it gets better as the days go on. The place was beautiful and the ocean sounds were entirely relaxing. I don’t mind any time near a beach. Another in-service training job well done.

 

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here in Nicaragua. Of course not. I mean celebrating the genocide of a people by having a mass killing of animals and commercialism sounds ridiculous when you think about it. Still, rituals are hard to keep. My sites mates went to Managua to celebrate. Peace Corps has a tradition of being invited to the Ambassador’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. This year they’re opening the embassador’s house and other PC staff.  Keeping in mind the travels I will be having this Saturday (for a PC birthday party), the fact that I will be going to the States THIS (dance party) Tuesday (Managua Monday) and would have to pay to stay somewhere to enjoy the food provided for Thanksgiving, I decided to stay in my site. I asked my host mom to cook fried chicken for me. That’s as close to a Turkey Day meal I am getting. In all honesty, I am ok with that. Last week, we had a Spanish workshop. We stayed in the same homes we were in during training. It was just like training. Spanish lessons all day and an interview at the end to check our Spanish level. I loved my host family and was thankful to see them again. I was received with open arms and was shocked to see that my little nephew is walking now. He is starting to talk and remembered me. Just look at that face! Doesn’t it make you  have all the feels?

2015-11-20 14.38.03 2015-11-20 14.38.06I don’t think another Nica family could ever warm my heart like my training family. My Nica mom even brought Christmas gifts for my parents in the States. So if there’s anything I’m grateful for this holiday, it’s my Nica family in Masaya. I know that if I need anything, am ever in trouble or am sick again my Nica mom will come to support or help me in any way I need. It’s not easy to let people into your heart, but Nicaragua has made it pretty easy.

The Roundup

Here is my weekend plus one day. The roundup of diary entries. Day 226- Day 230.

Day 226

Travel, travel, travel. I went to help the volunteer in my municipality judge for the local business competition. I was shocked at how fast it went by and the innovation of the groups. It made me reminisce on my group and their ideas from training.  There were three groups. One group made tire shine that they claimed improved your wheel durability. It didn’t have a name aside from tire oil in spanish. That took away from their overall brand, but their presentation was great. They came in first place. One group made shampoo called Aly’s and it smelled really good. However, I was skeptical because they put birth control in it. They said birth control helps with hair growth, not understanding you have to ingest it, not just put it on your scalp. The last group made massage oil called their logo. When I asked what their logo was called they said oil in Spanish which is aceite. The logo is a ACT. But aceite is not a good name for a product, it was just a default. They had three scents, chocolate, regular and some kind of plant. I tried the chocolate one and it felt really good on my skin without being too oily.   I enjoyed it and afterward I left straight to Managua.
https://vimeo.com/143282709
Day 227
I was going to the aquatic festival! I left Managua at 9:15 am and the bus trip was hilarious between a man pushing his chair so far back he was resting on Polly’s boobs, Polly getting frustrated with the bus congestion that she pushed a woman by her butt to the front of the bus or me writing with 0 arm space. Finally made it to San Carlos at 3 pm! The volunteer that lives there says that was a great trip because it always takes him at least 10 hours. Heavens forbid! He and his girlfriend are adorable. I can’t remember her name, but they met in his training site. It’s amazing to me how people can meet and date Nicas. Like, I know I’m cute, why no Nicas ever approach me? Because the Lord knows I don’t need those problems. That’s why. We found our hostel and just sat on the balcony awhile because the humidity here is NO JOKE. If my hair was out and even attempting to be cute I know the weather would have laughed in my face.  Straight like, “you tried it.” I met another PCV, she’s Dominican, super cute and funny.  She invited us out to the bar to see a live band.  Her boyfriend is the percussionist. We had a great lunch and quickly realized, everything is more expensive here. But rightly so, San Carlos is the poorest municipal of all the municipalities in Nicaragua. You can see the underdevelopment. I feel bad for them because there’s so much potential here. The nightlife here is seriously the nightlife. The man wouldn’t let us into the bar until almost 10 pm. I was so tired, I tried to stick it out, but I ended up leaving the group at 11:30 to go to bed. Thankfully, the hostel was right across the street. The parties were still live. The streets were well lit and the music was thrumming everywhere. Surprisingly, I slept great. 
 
 
Day 228
I woke up to my toes burning. Literally. It felt like someone poured acid on them. I ran towards the bathroom hoping the cool water would help. It did until I took my feet out. So then I got dressed and walked to the pier. My legs weren’t long enough to reach the water. So then I deferred to the tears and woke Polly. She deduced I should take two Benadryl, wait for a pharmacy to open and explain the deats to them but while we waited we should eat. while walking, I saw a doctor’s lab open and ran in to ask for ice. My toes were hurting so bad I couldn’t think about foot. He gave me an ice pack and after about 45 minutes. They felt good. I called the PCMOs. Dr. vega was pretty useless. He told me to take pictures of my feet and send them to him and not walk around, just keep the ice on it. Well, it wasn’t my ice and I’m at a festival so I’m not sitting still. When I felt I could walk, I met up with the girls for breakfast and put ice cold bottle of water on my toes. Which felt amazing. By ten, the Benadryl was loud and in charge so I went to sleep with my feet on another bottle of cold water. Lunch ended up happening around two and my feet, for the most part, were down to a low-grade stinging. We sat around talking and waiting to party. The other volunteers started drinking so we went back to the room for another nap. By 5, we were ready again. Sitting, we watched the boxing match between Roman Gonzalez aka Chocolatito  and someone else. I don’t know who.  I spent the majority of my time on my phone. My stomach had been feeling weird since I woke from my nap. I then proceeded to have explosive diarrehea. I finally ate dinner around 10 and with water my stomach calmed enough to dance. Everyone was having a great time. Nica’s dance anywhere and to anything. There was this one couple amazing the crowd. They were fast and hard turning and completely in sync. It made me think of the volunteer who just went home. He was a beautiful dancer too. The party never stops in San Carlos, the music was live in two different places with two different stages. So we did the Nica thing and got another table and they drank about 4 more rounds of bad beer. I was shocked I was still hanging on, the naps prepared me well. Finally at 3, we called it a night. I’m so proud of myself and I had a great time. I made up for yesterday when I left the group to sleep at 11pm. The aquatic festival this year wasn’t that great. The locals even said so but the camaraderie after was completely worth the trip. I’ll be back some other time when it’s not a party.
https://vimeo.com/143279906

Only 7 Types of People Join the Peace Corps

I’ve met a lot of volunteers. Inevitably, somehow this one question always comes up.

“Why did you join the Peace Corps?”

It’s the question we’ve been asked since the moment we decided we wanted to join. It’s the speech almost committed to memory.  It’s the spiel we gave our parents, our friends, our guidance counselor and wrote on our application to join. But the bottom line is, only 6 types of people really join the Peace Corps. Continue reading Only 7 Types of People Join the Peace Corps

Buenas Noches Luna – the PC Nica Adaption


In Nicaragua, 
There is a group of volunteers
And a Spanish Dictionary
image488And a statue of –
Sandino in his great cowboy hat
And there were dance festivals and catholic parades
And a pair of socks hanging on a line to dry
And a chisme group of women trying to pry
And deodorant 
And a package my family sent
And a young girl wanting to play with me
And a host mom calling dinner is ready
Buenas noches Nicaragua
17bBuenas noches volunteers
Buenas noches statue of Sandino that’s been standing for years
Buenas noches dance festivals and parades18171339e64663d05cc0da93c388690a
Buenas noches clothes to dry
Buenas noches women trying to pry
Buenas noches deodorant
Buenas noches package sent
Buenas noches girl wanting to play
Buenas noches day
And Buenas noches to my host mom calling that dinner is ready
Buenas noches Spanish hiccups and words I still can’t say
Buenas noches Mom and Dad, I know are very proud I am here 
Buenas noches noises everywhere 

 

The Sounds

The sounds, the sounds

The soundtrack of life

Close your eyes

 

Hear the sounds?

Things you never noticed and missed

While you’re too busy, living and you might…

Be missing the sounds…

Of your own soundtrack

 

I hear,

Door slams at 5 am

The waking, the rising of people

I hear the sounds of the sun calling me

The children rushing off to class

And bands practicing for upcoming parades

I hear barachos sleeping, too early for them to make a fuss

I hear little women sweeping,

On streets owned by us

I hear a community sharing,

Selling the fruits of their work2015-07-26 07.55.36

Avocate!  Tomate, tomate!  And fresco!

Frijoles bubbling, in prep for almuerzo

Fire crackling in the fuegon

 

 

I hear trucks rumbling, motos careening dangerously fast down the street

Cabellos tap dancing past my window, motorcycles puff smoke and niños screaming, “tauni!”

I hear conversations, so many, taking place at once

Teens giggling, TVs blaring, and commercial jingles I can’t forget

There is the sound of rain

Rain on my tin roof

Or is it the sun?

Causing a chemical reaction to the zinc

Popping noises just like the rain,

Background music to my day

Sloshing of hand washing clothes,

Waterfall sprays of bucket showers

Tools clanging on metal,

By the mechanic next door

Trash burning in a gorge in the road

Birds singing

Mosquitoes buzzing

The wind in my palm trees

Hollow thuds of construction that’s always happening

Taxi horns whirling

Peopling calling “Adios” in the streets

I hear the soulful plea, “buenas” in doorways

And me, getting ready to teach

 

I hear piropos,

I hear their humor in my shame

I hear the sun denying shade

I hear roosters crowing, though it’s neither dawn nor dusk

I hear horses neighing, pigs snorting

Dogs barking at anything passing by,

Students writing every single word I say,

Scared to miss just one

I hear greetings and wave when a student says, “adios profe!”

I hear squeaking park swings, youth having PDA

I hear affection, away from adults that accept no other way

Eskimo bells and juice sloshing in plastic bags

Balls pinging off the concrete basketball court

The hard clicks when I text on my chiclero2015-04-17 19.45.08

Bikes tires soft thuds against the strange tiled street

Buses exasperated piston sighs when they come to a stop

And it’s “I think I can” momentum creaking up mountains with heaving loads

Heel clicks and flip flops on the payment

The joyful cacophony as school ends

Procession of energy, uniform colors blending in

Slaps of backpacks and “See you!” lift their sound to my ears

 

Thuds of my bags on the floor,

The sigh of ecstasy when I lay in my hammock

The swaying as my nap takes me, or is that noise just in my head?

The sizzle of food in too much grease

the call sounding throughout my house, “Nae! Va a cenar?”

And my ever resounding response each day, “SI!”

Chairs dragging on the floor, the small sound of give in the hand-sewn bottom of my chair

The TV news, the group of men discussing fútbol at my door2015-09-29 15.44.03

The questions of Ingles, as I check my host brother’s homework

The crinkle of papelografos as I try to make them neat

The cow like sound of my fan, as I can’t take the heat

The ping of my hornita for a late night treat

The music blares in English as my host sister sits right in front of the TV

The dusk of the moon whispering, “buenas noches” to me

 

I hear small shifting of bugs and maybe mice in the night

And the soft protection of my mosquitera’s plight

I hear bar laughter, carried on the wind

I hear karaoke and songs in broken English

I hear announcement trucks

I hear mothers calling for children and cooing infants

Keys jingling to lock doors

Metal doors whining, no WD50

I hear my clothes on the line, waving in the breeze

Book pages rustling

Yoga mats soft collapse on the floor

I hear my final saludos as I close and bar my door

I hear my sheets rubbing, making way for me

I hear early sleep calling,

I hear Nicaraguan routine

 

I hear the sounds of life

Do you hear them?

 

Can you only hear mine?

 

Close your eyes.

Accept your truth.

Disconnect from your phone

There’s a soundtrack of life, you’re missing….

A soundtrack of your own

 

Word Glossary:

Barachos – drunk men

Avocate – avocado

Tomate – Tomato

Fresco – soda, or refreshing drink, usually made of fruits

Almuerzo – lunch

Fuegon – a big stove top outside, made of cement and heated with wood started fire

Motos – moto-taxis, smaller and less expensive taxis, made similar to a dirtbike instead of a car taxi

Cabellos – horses

Niños – children

Tauni – cool

“Buenas” – the audio version of a doorbell

Piropos – cat calls

Profe – Professor/ teacher

Chiclero – small, basic, Nicaraguan phone

Adios – goodbye

Va a cenar – Are you going to eat dinner?

Fútbol – soccer

Papelografos – white posters used in teacher classes

Hornita – small oven/ toaster oven

Buenas noches – goodnight

Mosquitera – mosquito net

Saludos – expressions of goodbye

 

A Cockroach Rant

This is a rant about cockroaches… You’ve been warned.

Note: this post is entirely satirical and meant to induce humor.
 –
So I live in Nicaragua. That basically means I live in the open. I am, essentially, in a tent with a tin roof, which is cool, ‘cuz I got a roof over my head BBBBUUUTTTTT occasionally I have run ins with different species of insecti that I tend to avoid in the states. One such animal is the cockroach. Let me say right now, I am not a bourgeoisie girl. I admit, I can be a little high maintenance but almost living in a jungle will humble anybody real quick! So I can tolerate plenty. But what I won’t tolerate, are these foul creatures called cockroaches or cucarachas.
What an awful bug and who knew there were so fast.
I thought cockroaches were supposed to scatter in the dark. How dare you casually peruse on your way, like I’m not here. The nerve of you to scatter in my direction! I will not stand for such intimidation. Why are you here anyway!? How did you get here? Nobody’s supposed to be here. Especially not you! We had the house fumigated this month. I know God is without flaw and all but if there ever was a moment to lift a brow to the Fatha, this would be it. When I get to Heaven, after I get my angel wings and link up with my people, I’m going to lean back with my glass of iced tea (Lipton, ‘cuz that’s the only way)
tumblr_inline_mnl6102COi1qz4rgp
and say, “so God, I was wondering. What made you create the cockroach?” I mean what is your actual function here? Lizards I get, they eat the mosquitos. Mosquitos I get, they do something useful, I’m sure. But you! YOU DO NOTHING! Except exist as the bane of lower social class and defy nuclear bombs. Got me feeling dirty in my own house when I know it’s clean. Who knew there were cockroaches as big as my foot. Some kind of kingpin he was ‘cuz he had a huge silver circle thing on his back and was walking like he was the man when he came through. I liked to faint at the sight. A child screamed. You know you’re a new low when a Nicaraguan ain’t trying to see you. I didn’t even know there were levels of disgusting, but you have outdone my imagination with your hierarchy of colors, size and overall disrespect of my space. So help me God, you and all your brothers gon’ die. Every. Last. One. Of. Ya. I got a bottle of Raid and I am not afraid to use it. I’m out here raising it like the staff Moses. You will give us free this day. All my life I had to fight! I had to fight this heat, this Nica diet, this language barrier, I won’t let you take me out. Nope. I am more than a conqueror and word is bond me and every cockroach I see got beef. Go ‘head and pour one for the homie that died last night… he won’t be the last to die either.
145137-dr-evil-one-for-me-one-for-my-lgLE

Tomorrow Doesn’t Exist

Where is tomorrow? Nowhere, it is the ever present ghost, a shadow of untapped potential. What would happen if you were 100% present?

Today. Right Now.

Too often we get caught up in planning, thinking two steps ahead, wanting to predict the changes of life and direct our life play, when in reality, no man knows the future. There is  only One who is omnipresent and He is God. I am guilty, so, so, so, so guilty of this. I get caught up in the doing of it and forget the experiencing of it. There is a fine line between “failing to plan is planning to fail” and “going with the flow.”

Life is like a canvas.  I am an artist and everyone’s life canvas is different. Maybe your life’s painting is watercolored, swirls of bright colors, blending together, intercepting each other without bias and subtly accepting every facet of life. Or yours is acrylic, clear in the view point, unapologetically firm in the idea with a full spectrum of colors, expressing darkness in contrast to the light. Some paintings of life mirror oil paints, slippery, wet, textured smears of multicolored abstract views. Whatever you see in your mind, it is the expectations of the future that hinders the true living of today. In the extreme, it is very unhealthy.  Surrender to today. Feel the connection you have to your world, your present, your fellow human beings. Accept your place in today and that you are where you are today, nothing can change that. Then love it. Love your brokenness, love your strength, love your resiliency because you are alive. Nobody but you has full credit for that. Nobody can take that away from you and the present only happens once. Appreciate this very second.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (NLT) ( Matthew 6:34 )
051388e0dfa0727852664d1f874639b9e6f729-wm“At the very root of worry is fear. Fear of the unknowns or what if’s can erode away the security we find in God. Don’t let this fear overtake you and allow the worry to creep in your thoughts. Place your confidence in Jesus that He will provide and comfort you. Then pray.”
This was a daily devotions of mine some time ago from: http://jctrois.com
and it’s real pertinent to how I constantly feel here. One one hand, I’m like ‘ahhhhh I have so many ideas and things I want to do!’ on the other I’m like, ‘patience Grasshopper, you must only be awesome today.” This scripture helps me in remembering to make my service just that, my service. On my time, my scale and my journey. That idea is applicable to any and everything. Work on today. You are doing yourself a disservice focusing on tomorrow.