Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My New Home!!

Well, here I am in the last major ¨stage¨in my Peace Corps experience. It´s funny, the time has been going by so quickly because there has been so much excitement and anticipation in these past few months: what country we´re going to, where our training town would be, what our family would be like, and finally, where our site will be for the next two years. I don´t think I´ve ever been this excited about something before. Although, I must admit I have been trying to be extra patient and to not have any particular type of site in mind.

So, here you go! For the next two years I will be living in the Department (like a state) of Chontales. Here are some stats:

Inhabitants in my town: 450 (yes, that´s right!)
Including the surrounding areas: about 3,000-4,000
Distance from Managua: 2.5-3.5 hours
Distance from Internet: about 2 hours (hopefully I will have a signal so I can get a cell phone!)
Basic services: I should have electricity, but that doesn´t mean it´s frequent and I will have potable water, but I will mostly likely have to draw my water from a well and take bucket baths.
Weather: It rains about 9 months out of the year with April being the hottest month.
Work: I will be working in 4 schools, one in my town, 2 that are about 5 kilometers aways, and one that is 14 k´s away. Needless to say, I will probably be purchasing a bike or finding someone to let me borrow a horse.
For the first six weeks I will be living with a family and then, I will find my own place to live (unless I really like living with my family).

That´s all I can think of for now. Friday, we get to meet our counterparts which are the people that we work with in our community that are there to provide us with any help or support we need. Then, on Saturday we will travel with them to our new sites for a week. I am super excited to see my new site, but I am also going to be very sad to be leaving my family shortly. I have grown quite attached to them. We only have about another week and 1-2 with them.

It´s also been quite exciting here with the elections just around the corner, November 5th. Each political party has it´s representatives going around to each town with the trucks filled in the back with huge speakers broadcasting their campaigns. There are also usually hords of people trailing behind wearing their party´s paraphernalia. To my suprise, the Sandinistas have a pretty good amount of support, 35% of the voto duro (sure votes) and that´s pretty good considering they only need 35% of the popular vote to win. It will definitely be an exciting election!

Well, that´s all for now. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail or comment!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Volcan Masaya

Just thought I´d post a couple pics from our Peace Corps group trip to visit the Masaya Volcano, one of many active volcanos in Nicaragua. It was absolutely amazing and breathtaking, literally, it was hard to breathe when you were close because of the sulfur. : ) We had a great time though and it made me appreciate even more the short time I have here!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Home again, home again!

I just returned home from my site visit about half an hour ago and decided to write quickly while everything was fresh in my mind. I went to visit another volunteer who lives about an hour outside of Chinandega city. I thought my training town was hot, but after going to Chinandega I now know what hot really is. I think the only time I was dripping with sweat was when we left and we decided to get lunch in this really nice, air-conditioned, american-like gas station. For a brief moment, I felt like I was home again. : ) Her town was pretty small. In total, they say there is a population of about 10,000 people, but where she lived it was more like 2,000. I definitely liked the size though, maybe would even prefer something smaller because I think it would be easier to get to know the people. She lived with her current Nica boyfriend in his parent´s house which was pretty nice and had t.v., d.v.d., a computer, etc. The didn´t have running water, so they had to fetch in from the well and therefore, bath buckets are assumed. At least because it was so hot there, the water was semi-warm. They also had a pet deer. At first it was interesting, but later became annoying, especially when I had a fresh bag of home-baked cookies that my host family had given me and I returned home to find the deer eating them.

One thing I didn´t really like about Chinandega, besides the extreme heat, was that it was a lot more expensive. Also, the buses were much more crowded. And by crowded, picture a school bus (which is their most common form of transport) with at least two people in every seat and the ailes filled with peole standing. On top of that are vendors selling anything you can imagine from toys, food, and drinks squeezing through the people in the ailes and we can´t forget about the people who couldn´t find a seat and were sitting on the roof of the bus. This brings me to my first story. The bus we took from Chinandega city to her town was crowded as usual. All of a sudden, we hear everyone in the back of the bus screaming. As I look back, I see this white stuff pouring into the window. Apparently, someone from the top of the bus spilled massive amounts of Nica cream and it was pouring into the bus. Several people a few rows back got creamed pretty badly. Don´t forget it´s even hotter on the bus with all the people combined with this not-so-good smelling cream. So, they stopped the bus and the people just got off.

On Tuesday, the 3 volunteers with their trainees decided to meet at the beach, since we were only about an hour bus ride away. We got lunch at this little restaurant on the beach and spent the whole afternoon just hanging out and swimming. We also met another volunteer whose site is about 1 block from the beach. Needless to say, he is leaving in a month, but P.C. won´t be filling his position. I wouldn´t mind the heat if I was right by the beach. : )

The ride home was rather intersting as well. We took a microbus (mini-van type) because it is direct and therefore, much quicker. When we got back to Managua, we were literally bombarded by about 10 taxi drivers trying to offer us a ride. They were all screaming at us at the same time trying to bargain with us and some even tried grabbing our arms as we walked away...which was pretty annoying. We ended up getting one for 10 cordobas each, which is better than the normal 15.

So, now I have to get home. Can´t wait to see my, I´m hungry! : ) Speaking of, one major thing I learned is to take advantage of this time in training because when you get to your site, you no longer have a family that is cooking just for you, worrying about you, taking you everywhere with them. I´m really going to miss that! Bye for now!