Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Happy Mother´s Day

¡Feliz Día de las Madres! (Happy Mother´s in Nicaragua) By the way, Happy belated Mother´s Day to all of you back in the states! Today is Mother´s Day here in Nicaragua and they say that it is comparable to Thanksgiving Day in the states in that there is a big dinner and everyone is traveling to spend the day with their mothers. In the elementary school in my town as well as the high school they had a big acto (ceremony) to celebrate. This included poems, folkloric dances, and girls dancing to reggaeton. It was a very moving experience to be a part of this event, especially a part of such a warm community in Nicaragua.

These are all of the students in the school in my town waiting for the acto to begin in the 3rd and 6th grade classroom I teach in.

This is my neighbor performing a folkloric dance in a typical costume.

This is my cat play fighting with the neighbor´s cat. The 5-year old owner of the cat gets mad when they are playing because we joke with him that they are in love and that he is going to have nietos (grandkids).

These are some pictures from the acto in the high school this morning.

Monday, May 21, 2007


The majority of the people in my town either do odd jobs or work in the ¨fincas¨ farms, the men that is anyway, while the woman stay home and mostly do ¨officios¨ housework and take care of the kids. In the homes, about 1/3 have televisions and the Nicas are obsessed with their novelas. The Spanish soap operas start from 7 or 8 in the morning until 10 at night with occasional news breaks. So, usually after finishing up the housework which seems to happen around 10 or so being that they get up at 5 a.m. (that´s not including the meals of course) they have the whole day ¨free.¨ So, what do they do with all of this time, you ask? Travel? Well, only a small percentage (maybe 2 percent) actually have private vehicles and there are still some that even though we have pretty frequent bus service only leave town once or twice a month, if that. I can´t speak for all Nicaraguans but I can tell you what my 13-year old neighbor did yesterday for example. Yesterday, she decided to celebrate her birthday since the actual day fell on a weekday. The typical celebration can include anything from a full blown out party to just a simple dinner with the family. Since this is a rather poor family they decided to just have a basic dinner with the family, killing a chicken and buying gaseosa (pop). She told me that she had a surprise to show me and the surprise was that she had saved the foot of the chicken and had painted it´s ¨toenails¨with fingernail polish. I found it a little disturbing, but I guess when you´re bored...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

¿Quién es la niña más guapa? ¡La Virgen de Cuapa! ¡Qué viva la Virgen de Cuapa!

Well, I'm here in Managua and have some free, uninterrupted sit-down time at the computer while waiting for my doctor's appointment so I thought I would give you a brief rundown of the main events taking place in my normally tranquilo town. By the way, the doc appointment is nothing major. Just a little problem I'm having with my feet swelling up.

¿Quién es la niña más guapa? ¡La Virgen de Cuapa! ¡Qué viva la Virgen de Cuapa! (Who is the most beautiful girl? The Virgin of Cuapa! Long live the Virgin of Cuapa!) This was the phrase on most people lips in Nicaragua this May 8th which was the 27th anniversary of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary by a farmer named Bernardo in Cuapa. Each year there is a huge celebration that people flock to from all over the world (around 20,000 people to be exact) and this year I got the opportunity to witness it first-hand. A group of people from my town who made a promesa (promise), which is where the people promise to do a certain task in order to be healed of a certain ailment or maybe obtain a job, etc., decided to walk from my town to the town of Cuapa, about a 17-kilometer walk. It actually was a lot shorter than I thought; we left at 5:00 in the evening so that we wouldn't bake in the sun and arrived at 7:00 p.m. When we got to the appariciones (location of the Virgin sighting) I was shocked at the massive amounts of people everywhere sprawled out in the grass or just relaxing in the hammock they had brought to sleep in that night. We stayed until about 3:00 am, at which point I was ready to crash, especially after our walk. But, I would say the majority of the people being that many either walked there or traveled a decent distance to get there stayed the night. It was a really beautiful and spiritual experience and I can't wait to attend next year.

This is a picture of one of the "buses" taking people to the celebration. It's so full that the people have to sit on the edge. This is pretty typical though.

On the Saturday before the day of the Virgin sighting, there was a processional through my town with the Virgin followed by mass. Here we are waiting for her to arrive!

Here she comes...Oh Virgencita de Cuapa!

Just a random picture thrown in. This is a picture of one of the neighbor kids that lives next door. Everyday he comes to my house to visit and chat and on this particular day he decided to show himself off in his tanga underwear and cowboy hat. How cute!

Another random picture of a woman at the venta (store) giving her daughter a bath.

This is my very first plant. I was so proud, but now it looks like it's dying. My neighbors told me though that sometimes they look a little droopy after first transplanting them. Yes, I did put it outside to get some sun, actually in the neighbors patio because since mine isn't enclosed yet the cows, chickens, and other random animals that pass through my yard would either eat it or trample it. Speaking of, one day after my cat in cajoots with the neighbor dog stole two fish I had sitting on my table and carried it away, a random dog came into my house as I was sitting on the neighbor's porch and left carrying a transparent plastic bag. My friend tried to chase after him but the bandit got away. I still don't know what he took, but so far I'm not missing anything...?

A few Sundays ago, the Mayor took her whole staff including myself and some of the principals on a bus trip to Granada, Masaya, and Catarina. We ended the trip with a stop at the mall and finally a trip to a fair in Managua. It was a really fun trip and a great way to get to know the Mayor's office a little better. They are a really young and energetic group of people!

This is a stop we made to one of the islands in Granada where we decided to take a dip!

Isn't it beautiful!

That about sums up the exciting events in my life! So, here's your chance to shoot me an e-mail to let me know what's happening in your neck of the woods! : )

P.S. Jen-I got both of your messages and was so excited to hear your voice. Unfortunately, I do not have cell phone reception in my town, but they are in the process of finish a cell tower and we should have service shortly. So, thanks so much for calling even though we didn't get the chance to chat!