Thursday, February 22, 2007

Where does the time go??

I have found myself to be super busy within these last couple of weeks and have wondered lately where does all of my time go. When I signed up for the Peace Corps I thought I would have 2 years of read, study Spanish and French, or just have time to do whatever it was I wanted to do in the states but was too busy to do. However, I find myself just as busy here as I was in the states. So, where does all of this time go being that I am still just observing in the schools. Let´s see...

*learning to play the guitar
*traveling to Juigalpa to do errands (1 hour in bus each way and always at least a few-hour
event due to bus schedule)
*traveling to Cuapa (1/2 in bus) for meetings
*visiting the people in my town (for each person I visit I have to dedicate at least an hour and
1/2 for talking, eating, etc.
--This has been driving me crazy a little because in the beginning I made the mistake of trying
talk to everybody I encountered. You may be thinking, ¨What is the problem? Isn´t that what a volunteer should be doing?¨ The problem is that after you talk to someone once naturally they want you to visit all the time which wouldn´t be a problem if it was possible to do an ¨American-style¨visit (just a quick 5 minute-hello, then you´re out the door. : ) however, this is not possible here, well it is but you would be considered maleducada for being so apurada (in a rush). And I think living in a small town makes it more difficult because I pretty much know everyone. Even though it stresses me out trying to think of everyone I should be visiting but haven´t lately, I think this will definitely be one of the things I will miss the most after my two years, the fact that people have or make time to sit and chat for a few hours.

*birthday parties and other fiestas (which usually take up an entire day re not in my town)

On top of all of the above mentioned activities here are a few more things that have been occupying my time here in Nicaragua:

*This is a picture of a teacher capacitación (workshop) on Participatory Education I along with two other volunteers gave in my town.

*This is us at the famous Rock of Cuapa. It doesn´t look that big, but the climb to the top is pretty intense. (I just had a photo of the acutal rock, but I just deleted it and unfortunately don´t have time to repost! : ) The person to my right is another volunteer from AZ and the others are a super nice family I am friends with in Cuapa.

This is what you see if you make it to the top along with an amazing view!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Finally more pics!

Wow, I can´t believe how busy I have been in the past couple of weeks. A few weeks ago, we gave teacher talleres (workshops) in some of the other volunteers´ sites. It was interesting to see where they lived and worked. A week from tomorrow we are finally giving one in my town. Everyone in my town is so excited to meet other gringos since I am this first volunteer in my town. This past weekend I spent with another volunteer in a town called Comalapa which is about an hour and 1/2 bus ride from my town. They were having their yearly festival to celebrate the Virgin Mary. For three days, they begin with a Catholic mass in the morning of course, followed by a procession where they carry the Virgin throughout the town singing until they reach the house where the Virgin remains for the night and then, of course they pray. This is followed by daily bull fights which I´ve found to be quite interesting. Basically, the ring is surrounded by fencing to of course protect the spectators from any mean bulls that may get a little out of control. However, the inside of the ring is filled with men (most of them drunk) standing around the edges or on horseback. When the bull comes near they all jump up and start climbing the fence. Needless to say, there were some close calls because we all know how refined our instincts are when we have had a few too many. While visiting this volunteer, I also learned about the worm boxes that I plan on starting in my town. Basically, you take these Californian worms and put them in a box with cow dung. In about 15 days, they turn the dung into this rich soil that can be used for planting. It´s pretty amazing. I also learned about these stoves they are making in her town that are supposed to be more effecient because they burn less wood which means less trees being cut down and because they have a chimney people aren´t inhaling the massive amounts of smoke they do with their typical wood-burning stoves. The coolest part is that they are made out of water, dirt, horse manure and the tree bark. I am really excited to see how it turns out in order to determine if it would work in my town as well.

Other than that, I have just been meeting with the teachers in my school and observing classes. I am really excited about working in the schools, especially in those that are a little farther out. You can tell how much they appreciate the fact that I am traveling so far just to help out in their schools. And the teachers are great, so eager to work with me!

Finally, I have some pics of my new home! I have been living here since January 26th and am loving it. It´s so nice just to have my own space and be able to cook and get up when I want. So far, I haven´t had that many visitors which really isn´t such a bad thing I am learning, except of course my neighbors who come over everyday. They are a super nice family, so I don´t mind so much. For some reason though, I just feel more comfortable going to other people´s houses to visit them.

In this picture I am standing with my 5 year old neighbor.

This is my bathroom where I take a bucket bath every morning. It´s been tricking trying to get a bath in the morning because in the part of town in which I live the water comes from 9-10:00. Last weekend, I left for about 3 days and my neighbors told me that my bucket had pretty much turned into a pond when the plastic blew off. They found frogs and mosquitoes beginning to make it their new home!

This is my letrine. Yes, it´s as far as it looks. Although, I don´t use it at night for fear of the cockroaches that I´ve found crawling around when the sun goes down. If you look closely, behind the latrine is the hill that I climb if I need to make a call from my cell phone. You get excelent reception (although I guess anything is excellent compared to none at all : ).

This is my living room/kitchen. In the corner is a table I am using for the meantime, but it´s getting pretty cluttered so I am going to try to make some kind of shelves to store things on.

My bedroom...I love the color! It took us about 2 days of painting (and just one coat) because since the walls are made of cement they just sucked in the paint. It´s a pain in the you-know-what to hang stuff though because the nails to enter the cement walls very well and when I finally get them to stay, there´s a strong wind that constantly blows through my room and knocks everything down.

Finally, this is my cat, Cusuco (amardillo in Spanish). He has his own bed but seems pretty comfortable on my backpack! And, he killed his first insect the other day. I was so proud, but completely grossed out as I could hear a crunching sound as he devoured it.