Peace Corps Tourists
WHAT: Peace Corps, Environmental Education
WHEN: Sept '05 - Nov '07
WHY: La vida es un carnaval
Many apologies for taking so long to update - we've been playing tourist for the past few weeks - there were many times I heard one of my fellow PCVs ask "Are we still in the Peace Corps?" I even had qualms about showing you all what we've been up to...I mean, I know you're all expecting photos of me hauling water, eating my 100th plate of gallo pinto, suffering from dengue...
The day after swearing-in, we were treated (in part - we did have to shell out some cash too) to a weekend vacation on the Pacific Coast - just north of the border with Costa Rica. They put us up in posh accomodations, and one evening we went to a nearby beach to see baby turtles hatching and heading out to the sea. (I forgot my camera that night, so I'll post some friend's pics as soon as I get some). It's quite a sight to see 80 little turtles crawiling out of a hole in the sand...we'd all coach them along as they crawled across the beach. I'd always get a stap of empty nest syndrome as they caught a wave and took off.
We also got to view one big turtle come ashore and lay eggs. The guide said that within the span of three days, 50,000 turtles come to lay eggs on the beach. They often destroy other nests that were previously laid because there's so little space to accommodate them all.
The beach has it's share of soldiers there to protect the eggs from poachers - turtle eggs are a delicacy around these parts...
Our accomodations for the weekend - oo la la!
These are some of closest friends from training - Marcy, Jade, Allie, Noemi, and Celine. Miss them already! The rest of the pics show some of the highlights and scenery from the trip:
Endless Summer - starting in November...
So Celine and I discovered our newfound love of body boarding. Holy cow - what have I been doing all my life!? I can't believe I'd never done this before! My only experience with boards and waves was an attempt to surf with my cousin when I was maybe 13. (Remember that, Glen?) I never really enjoyed the beach - I'm not supposed to be in the sun, kinda sandy there, and who likes salty water? But, body boarding truly was an enlightening experience - can I even go as far as to say "transcendental"?
All Volunteer Conference - Managua
Every year, all 160 some odd volunteers get togehter at a super nice hotel in Managua. Volunteers give talks on projects they've done, tricks they've learned along the way, share ideas. We also had various NGOs and aid agencies come give talks. (Learned all about the controversial DR-CAFTA initiave from USAID.) I actually did get pic of President Bolanos (but it didn't turn out so good - see below) - and I got to shake his hand. He went to the University of Missouri - how 'bout that.
The press were all over Ambassador Traveli after he gave his talk. He's on the news all the time because people want to know his perspective on the approaching election (November 2006). It'll be an exciting time to be in Nicaragua. Daniel Ortega, a die-hard Sandanista, is vying for a spot on the ticket - though it could mean quite a shake up for Nicaragua and international interests, he's lost the last three elections, so I don't think people are too concerned.
Peace Corps Nicaragua Staff. I'd say maybe 90% are local hires.
We also had a talent show to close out the conference. Above is a picture of Nola - she has been in Nicaragua for 3 years, and just got an extension for a 4th. She works with deaf children up north. She also has a column in the PC Nicaragua publication called "Hola from Nola". Volunteers in the department of Chontales (where I now live) did a parody of Phish's "Farmhouse." We didn't win. =====================================================================
Todd, our Country director, invited about 20 volunteers to his house for T-giving dinner. Had the best cranberry sauce ever...as good as it was, I'm sure I'll appreciate it even more in a year. In my excitement to eat, I didn't get a pic of the spread. But this is what was left over...
In Site! Finally!
The day after Thanksgiving, we took off to our sites. Sunsets here are as beautiful as in AZ...
On Sunday, some friends invited me to the local swimming hole called "El Salto" (The Jump) - I didn't do any jumping. I'm too chicken.
This past week, I've had a few meetings with folks at the mayor's office, as well as the natural science library. Things are moving along, but I have a feeling it'll all come to a standstill soon as things close down for the month of December and Xmas. Settling in pretty well here and exploring running paths early in the mornings. It's pretty hot already, but not unbearable.
More soon! Hope all's well out there!