Thursday, December 28, 2006

Home for the holidays

For Christmas this year, I decided to return to my training family´s house in Carazo. It´s amazing how close I´ve become with them in just 3 months. I felt like I was visiting my ¨real¨ family who I´d known for years. It´s traditional here, just like the French, to celebrate on the 24th. When I stepped into the house, I felt like it was truly Christmas. The walls were painted green, the tree beautfully decorated with actual wrapped presents beneath it, and lights strung up everywhere! Around 11 pm some of the other family came over and we all ate Christmas dinner which consisted of pretty much the normal: rice, beans, chicken, and pop (for special occasions). At midnight, everyone flooded the streets to watch the fireworks and after about 2 minutes nothing was visible with all of the smoke. It was a joyous night! We stayed up until about 2 am opening presents and chatting with visitors who stopped by.

The 25th was pretty much just another ordinary day here. My family took me to the river that is close to their house. We ended up walking down to this waterfall and hung out there for the afternoon, swimming, eating, and of course having a ¨little¨Nicaraguan Rosa de Caña rum. Needless to say, it was a great time!

Yesterday, we took a trip to Masaya, a touristy town closeby that sells all sorts of traditional handmade items. I wanted to buy a hamock for my new house and they have the most beautiful things there. Speaking of, I have officially found the house that I will ¨hopefully¨live in for the next two years. The mayor´s office near my town has a project where they build houses for families in need. The families just have to pay a sum of about $190 and they own the house. This woman that I´ve become friends with moved out of her house to be with her mother in the house next door. So, she offered to rent me her house. Of course the house is very basic; it´s sepearted into three parts/rooms and the woman is supposed to be installing electricity as well as building me a shower while I am gone. Now, in Nica terms, electricity means a light bulb strung from the ceiling connected to the house next door and the shower will be constructed of black trash bags and of course a bucket. I had to pretty much fight with the lady to give me a price because she said I should be deciding, so finally we agreed on 300 cordobas, which is about $20 per month. Not too bad! As soon as I return, I want to start painting it so that I can move in as soon as possible. I am just really eager to have more space and to be able to cook what I want and get up when I want (not that I don´t love waking up every morning at 5:30 am to country Spanish music). : )

Well, I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and an equally wonderful New Years. I will be spending New Years in Granda with some other volunteers. I´m hoping they will have the traditional burning of the old year´s doll in the streets!

Monday, December 18, 2006

What´s For Dinner?

Yesterday, I went on a hike to a cave located near my town with this family I have been hanging out with. The trail wasn´t too long, but very steep...good exercise and of course there was a beautiful view from the top! If you look closely, that clump of house is my little pueblo!

After reaching our destination we found a shady spot to sit under a tree to cool off a bit and have a little snack. While we were doing so, the guys that came with us decided to see what animals they could find at the top of the hill. When they came back, this is what they found. (See below...I know, I can´t believe I am holding it either!) In Spanish it´s called a garrobo which I think is a spiny-tailed iguana.

After they proceeded to tie it´s mouth shut so it couldn´t bite anyone and declaw it (or at least that´s what it looked like) they told me that it is customary to eat the garrobo if and only when one is lucky enough to catch one, as we were. : )

Well, here you dinner last night: garrobo with tortilla and coffee. I must admitt it was quite tasty, although I could only eat a couple bites because I couldn´t expel from my mind the image of that poor reptile being sliced open. So, for any of you who are lucky and courageous enough to come visit maybe we can try to catch one for our dinner. Bon appetit!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More pics of my new life in the campo!

This is the house where I am currently living. If you look all the way to the left, you can see the room the family built on for me. : )

This is me with Francisca who is graduating from pre-school and her grandmother.

Above is a hen house that we built yesterday with an organization that works in Rural Development.

Here I am on my first day of learning to ride a horse. Beside me is my teacher, 10-year old Noel, a little boy who is temporarily living with the family. Sorry the picture isn´t so clear.

This is me standing in the middle of a field on a hike I took with a family I met in my town. We climbed the mountains surrounding my town and went to an even smaller pueblo of about 30 houses.