Hello again! Sorry it has been so long since I´ve written but as the time passes it just seems to get harder and harder to find the time to write! Anyway, we are just beginning to get back to work after a lovely week of vacation. Practically everyone in Nicaragua had the week off with the exception of the mayor´s office, banks, etc. I really ¨had that ¨don´t feel like going back to work¨feeling, but thanks to our new president the holiday was extended until tomorrow which means no work today either! Thank you Daniel!
I must admit, this has been one of my best weeks here. It started off with two birthday parties on Saturday. Here is a video clip of us singing Happy Birthday...in Spanish of course! http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5724107462527390593
We started off at the birthday girl´s house in Cuapa, which was followed by a trip to a local farm where we continued the party at a friend´s ranch house. We had a beautiful view of all of Cuapa, including the Rock of Cuapa and had bar-b-qued lamb. We stayed there until late evening at which point we were invited to another birthday party that night which included kareokeing(spelling) to ranchero (Spanish country music)...interesting to say the least. : )
A view of the Cuapeñan landscape.
Sunday, I started off with mass at the local Catholic church. Lately, for some reason I´ve felt a little disconnected from the ¨big guy,¨ so it was nice to get my church fix after not having gone for a while. Following mass, it was off to the barrera (bull ring) which is quite an event in itself, very different from those in Spain; here, they don´t really hurt the bull at all. It mainly consists of men (only men) inside of the ring, some on horses, other just clinging to the fence waiting for the moment the bull passes for them to spring up to the top in order to avoid getting gauged by the bull´s horns. What makes for an especially interesting spectacle are the men who have started drinking since the morning and at 2:00 in the afternoon are trying to dodge the bulls. And you thought driving drunk was dangerous. One actually was so drunk he passed out inside the ring. Later that evening, I headed to the dance that follows with some locals from Cuapa. The next day we woke up around 9:30 in the morning, which is the latest I have EVER slept in here. I guess I was just so tired that I blocked out the roosters, cows and other farm animals that usually serve as my alarm clock at 5:00 a.m. Later that day, I attended a baptism of the nephew of a teacher I work with.
After a fun-filled weekend of fiesta-ing, I decided that for the rest of the time I was just going to relax and enjoy my small town festivities. During this time, like I said before, no one works especially in my town considering most of the people (men) work on the fincas (farms) therefore, they can take the whole week off no problem. Everyone is busy in the beginning of the week making typical foods, including horneadas (baked goods), almivar which is a mixture of honey/sugar and papaya, mangos, and another fruit called jocote, pinolio which is a drink made of cacao, water, and ground corn, of course rice and beans with an added treat of sardines. So, basically my week was spent just visiting people since when I am working I either don´t have time or don´t feel like it because I am so tired from walking around in the hot sun. For this reason, I have probably gained about 10 pounds because at each house they offer this yummy treats and it´s harder than you think to say no or that you are full.
This is a picture of two women in my town checking on their horneadas. They were up until about midnight baking!
Another part of my routine now includes daily trips to the mango trees to fill bucket upon bucket with sweet, juicy mangos. We only have a few more months until they start to go bad, so I have to take advantage. Here is a picture of one of the neighborhood kids who usually accompanys me on our trip eating a delicious mango.
I think that pretty much sums up my Easter vacation. I can´t believe we are already well into the month of April. At the end of the month we have our yearly IST (in-service training) in Selva Negra again. I am excited to return again and see everyone, mostly though because it was so chilly that I actually had to wear a sweatshirt while I was there and the food was AMAZING! Hope you all enjoyed your holiday as well! I must admit I definitely missed the chocolate bunnies!