Where to begin...
It feels like it´s been forever since my last blog, although just a little over a month has passed. Lots to tell, so hold on!
First, I´ll begin with the sad news. My cat, Cusuco who I had come to love despite my initial desire to ¨return him to sender¨ because of his constant mischief, has died. My neighbor´s say I´m the cause because I put a ribbon around his neck which they say was the cause of his 3-day disappearance. After three days of wandering around, probably hungry, i suspect he was led to search out food the only way he knew how, rummaging in the kitchens of my unsuspecting neighbors. When he finally returned home he had been burned from scalding hot water (you make the judgement as to whether he fell into a pot as the gossip was spread or that someone got angry with him and doused him with the boiling water). I had to leave the next day for Managua and the burn didn´t seem that bad, but according to my neighbors the burn was severe enough that he started to smell from the flies landing on him and well, that´s enough details. Being that animals aren´t too high on their compassion list, my townspeople´s sympathy consisted of them doubling over in laughter because I was upset about a dead cat.
This past week we had our annual 3-day AVC (All Volunteer Conference). It is basically a time to get together to see old volunteers as well as meet the new ones that had recently come into country, learn some new information to take back to our sites, and participate in fun events like tug-of-war, dodgeball, the ¨who can stuff your face with the most marshmellows¨contest, and the talent show, but I am definitely glad to be back in my site.
The weekend prior, a small group of volunteers and I got together to explore the island of Ometepe, which is located in Lake Nicaragua (the largest lake in Central America). We spent three days there and had an amazing time. The first day we found a very generous local to give us a $15 full-day tour of the island, followed up by a trip to the rodeo for the island´s patriotic festivals. The next day, we headed out early to climb the Conception Volcano which is an active volcano of about 1, 700 m. (5,600 ft.). It was an amazing hike and after lots of sweating and tears (a little exageration) we made it to the top, well, to 1,200 meters. To go the additonal 500 meters would have taken an additional 5 hours and it was already late. From the top, we had a spectacular view of the volcano, the beautiful island of Omtepe, and Lake Nicaragua. It reminded me a little of San Francisco because the fog would roll in and you couldn´t see a thing. Then, the next the you know the wind carries the fog away and you have a spectucular view. Definitely worth a visit for those of your who are still contemplating!
Right now, we are in the middle of the promociones (graduations). A few days ago after the graduation mass and ceremony, they had the annual graduation dance. I think it was one of my more cherished events here. Before I begin to describe it I have to make a special mention that out of my entire municipality the top two students in the class of 2007 came from...yes, you guessed it, my small, sleepy town, Llano Grande. It was quite a proud moment. If you are reading this, Jess, one of the top was Julith, Ceasar´s daughter. Each graduate that cared to participate bought tickets for their invitees and reserved a table at the Community House in Cuapa. I was highly honored with an invitation to this special event by a graduate from my town. The tables were decorated with flowers, silk clothes, candles, etc. with the common theme of a pineapple as the centerpiece filled with caramelos (candies, such as suckers, marshmellows, etc.) sticking out of it. They also had food, pop, champagne, and the national liquor of Nicaragua, Flor de Caña. It was a great evening and I was proud to be about to share this very proud moment with the graduates and their family and friends, dancing until about 2 A.M.
**Sorry, my camera is currently out of service so I don´t have any pictures to share.