Sunday, September 02, 2007

2 months to go...

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

I finally got to put together the video footage I took on the chemical volcano building day at the school last March...

Here are some pictures I took from Environment Week we celebrated at the school - we collected lots of trash, had a clean yard contest with members of the community, and learned about proper waste management and personal hygiene with some support from the government ministries of the environement and health.

Here's the whole school in front of the banner we made. It says, "We're responsible - we throw trash in it's place - do you?"

Peace Corps volunteer wedding fever

To date, 5 of the 14 elegible bacholorette Peace Corps Volunteers in my group have either married or are to be married soon to Nicaraguans. Could be a new record. Here's Lindsay and Luis after taking their dancing followed!

Santa Lucia

A small group of my friends decided to take a weekend trip to a nearby beautiful town to take in the sites. There is some spectacular - and strenuous - hiking around the area. Most of the towns people have their plots of land they use to grow beans and corn, but we could see that they are using plenty of good farming techniques - erosion barriers, polyculture, and alternatives to burning fields.

Here's Fatima, Sarah (PCV), two of our many children guides), and Henry. Sarah came down from up north to my site to visit for a very busy weekend. Fatima and Henry are some of my best friends here in Nicaragua - Fatima is Nicaraguan and has finished her master's in sociology in Managua, and Henry is from Sweden, but has lived here for 6 years or so. He is finshing his degree on-line in permaculture. They have bought some land a few hours from the city and are currently having a house built. As their farm grows - using the farming techniques that Henry is learning about now - they would like to open it as a training center for other small farmers - focusing on more sustainable and lower impact farming. Currently, until Henry finishes up, they are starting a small scale jam business here in town.

Cactus along the way.

Henry told me these, in English, are called Ice Cream Beans. You don't actually eat the beans, but instead suck off the slightly sweet cotton candy like fuzz surrounding each one.

Some of the great views from above.

Noemi in our prison cell-like room for the night.

Hiking Volcan Telica

A tour operator in Leon offers a moonlight hike up one of Nicaragua's volcanoes - called Volcan Telica. It is still active, and it's last eruption was in 2000...I think? A bunch of us decided to go up it - here we are before starting out at about midnight. There were about 35 people in the group. It took us about 4 hours to get to the top, but really it's about 3 hours over almost flat land just to get to the base, and then one hour or so up.

Here's the same group at about 5 am. The big draw of the hike is to see the lava in the crater - it shows up really well in the dark. Unfortunatley, there was too much smoke coming out for us to get a glimpse down the crater. One of the benefits of hiking a volcano in Nicaragua is there are no safety restrictions - you could easily sacrifice yourself, or someone else, if you wanted to.

As the sun came up, we got a better view of the's very peaceful and quiet up there.

Crossing through one of the bean fields.

Finally, looking back towards the volcano.


Alberto Gutierrez is an old timer practicing a forgotten art. He carves figures into rock walls near his home. Many show Nicaragaun historical figures, but there are also lots of wild animals and some religious alter type art as well. He's really a character - and he loves his work - he dedicates 4 hours every day to carving and has done so since the earlly 70s. He explained nearly every piece he's done, and after each explanation, would finish with a little self-depreciatory giggle.

When we were leaving Gutierrez's home, I sighted this strange "phenomena" in the one I've shown it to knows what it is...if you do, please write me!

Ramona's 19th birthday

My neighbor Ramona celebrated her 19th birthday and invited me to eat with them. She's on the far left, her husband is next to her. To my right and left are my landlady, Chilo, and Ramona's 15-year old sister, Elda. The husband usually only comes on the weekends, and Ramona and Elda and I share a backyard, so we've gotten close. That happens when you accidently walk in on someone in the latrine. It is good to have them near me because they always seem to be happy. I always hear peals of high-pitched Elda laughs coming through my walls.

Close of Service Conference

At the end of every group's service, Peace Corps holds a conference at the swankiest beach resort in Nicaragua for the soon to be RPCVs (return peace corps volunteers). All you can eat food and drink, and very very cold conference rooms. Logistics on how to get out of the peace corps is carefully explained ad nauseam. Everyone just wanted to get out to the gigantic pool with their Nica libres in hand.

Time is winding down for us here. Among our group, talk has turned from Peace Corps projects and living overseas challenges to what's coming next...


Blogger Anacaona said...

Neat video with the kids learning about volcanoes and those carvings are awesome!
Thanks for sharing.

12:43 AM  

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