Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Home again

WHO: Essa (aka Vanessa)
WHAT: Peace Corps, Environmental Education
WHERE: Nicaragua
WHEN: Sept '05 - Nov '07
WHY: La vida es un carnaval

I've been back in Nicaragua for almost a month now, and getting back up to speed with work, settling into my new house, and getting my thesis project up and running have dominated my time. My hand is much better now - doesn't hurt at all and is only slightly deformed.

As usual, I've had difficulties uploading all the pics I want to, so until I get it figured out, you can check out the ones below:

My new backyard - I decided to get away from the hustle and bustle of the main highway that runs through town and am now about as far away as I can get while still in the city. It's much smaller, too, which helps cut down cleaning time. The owners, Auxiliadora and Jose Luis, live right next door - so close we can talk to eachother through the walls- are really great and have helped a lot in getting my house in order. I gave up some amenities (toilet and shower)- I now have a latrine and share a stall for bucket bathing in the yard with a neighbor, but did gain a decent sized yard for Gueguense to play in. No well either, like I had at the last house, which will make this summer harder (they say sometimes they go up to a month without water), but Jose Luis spent 2 weeks fixing a 1000 gallon ferro-cement tank in the backyard, so I'm sure that'll help out a lot.

I got a cold last week, and Auxiliadora came over often to chat while I was laid up in bed. She made me breakfast one day - eggs and beans, and demanded that I drink her sure-fire cure to the common cold: A tea of lime juice, honey, cinnamon, garlic and onion. Sounds rank, but the honey and lime dominated so it was pretty good.

This is Megan - she is a new volunteer going through training and she came to spend 4 days with me as part of her training. I think she though the highlight of the visit was the food - she was thrilled to get a break from the typical Nica fare her host family gives her and eat lentils, oatmeal, and tikka massala.

While Megan was here, we went to the school and did a science experiment on what happens when hard boiled eggs sit in used motor oil. (Relates to oil spills and their effects on ocean ecosystems). If you want to know what happens, give it a try at home...

Here's a couple of the 1st graders (David, Fernanda, Azucena) diggin' "Clifford- El Gran Perro Colorado"

Our garden project is coming to an end (as the school year - ends in November). We had...umm...moderate success. The only things that grew really well were pipian, a type of squash. Evidently, 6 had grown really large, and the day before they were going to harvest them, some hungry campesino came in the night and stole them all. This one grew a week later...

Victoria, a woman who lives near the rural school, and her daughters run this little guirila (see bleow) stand that caters to passing busses and Peace Corps Volunteers (meaning me) working in the area.

Every time I go out their they are sitting there, shucking their 1000s of corn cobs. They get up at 3am, which gives them time to prepare enough the tortillas and cuajada for the morning rush of busses going to some of the pueblos in northern Chontales.

This is Victoria's granddaughter, Carla, displaying the guirila - a hot corn tortilla with a slab of salty white cheese. Sustaining and tasty.

Guense's getting bigger!

I have more pics of what my new house looks like, and will try to get them up soon. Thanks for all the cards and packages (Dad, Kathy, Katie and Craig - Guense loves his new much that he finally seems to have abandoned what remains of his paint roller.)


Blogger Anacaona said...

Am I the only one who feels like that? To me, there is something about people like Victoria which I cannot never put in words but that emits calm assurance, strength and courage.
It always seems that they are like a tree that no force of nature can uproot and/or keep them from blooming.
I get my strength from people like her, from my family and friends.

1:44 PM  

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