Friday, May 02, 2008

What Have We Been Doing?

Hooray! We finished planning our Trash Treatment project, and you can now read all about it AND donate online at the Peace Corps website. Just follow our handy link here on the right. Now that we have that out of the way, we have more time to concentrate on other aspects of our lives here. Mason and I are both doing the same sort of work in the schools this year. We started the school year off with making compost with the kids. The kids had fun watching it slowly decompose week by week. In the beginning they didn’t believe me when I told them that all of the leaves, grasses and food scraps would turn into dirt! Currently we are working on school nurseries and school gardens. So far only about 40 trees in all 4 of my nurseries have sprouted, mostly because there is a major shortage of water right now, and because the kids are for some reason not willing to water the 6 days of the week that I’m not there! I don’t know why it is so hard to get them to water, but they are just lazy. Even the teachers don’t seem to care sometimes. It’s really frustrating, especially since this is the second time each school has done these projects with me. Often, getting things done here is like pulling teeth.

About the water shortages… here in town we have had water rationing since early February. Our half of the town gets water from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the other half of the town has water in the afternoons. It was hard to get used to at first, but now we are just used to waking up at 6 with the water, washing clothes, watering plants and filling up buckets before leaving to go to work. At night we take “bucket baths,” by pouring water over our heads from a bucket of stored water! We used to think we were lucky because the house we live in has a toilet instead of a latrine, but without water most of the day, we have to flush it by forcefully pouring a pitcher of water in the bowl every time! Not to worry, the rainy season is fast approaching, bringing with it an end to all the dust and dryness.

We had a nice visit from Marilee and Nicole in March. We went with them up to the chilly rainforest called Miraflor. It was wonderful for us to be out in nature without sweating profusely as we do every day here. Unfortunately they couldn’t come down to Malpaisillo, because it was Holy Week (semana santa), and few busses were running. Mason and I went to Leon for Good Friday to watch the parades and processions. They have an interesting tradition (they actually copy Antigua, Guatemala) of making “paintings” on the street using colored saw dust. There are probably about 50 or so depicting typical scenes of Jesus, etc. They are all on display in the evening, and at night, the procession carrying Jesus and his friends trample all of the paintings as they walk by on the way to the cathedral. It’s an interesting spectacle.

Two weeks ago we went to our friend’s wedding. She married a Nicaraguan man named Lenin, and they plan on moving back to the States when she completes her Peace Corps service. She is the first of 4 girls in our group who are marrying Nica men! This past weekend we went to the beach town of San Juan Del Sur to spend time with our buddy Elliott and his family. His dad Jack treated us all to an afternoon sailing trip, which was spectacular. We sailed to a beautiful, isolated beach, and on the way home watched the sunset. Thank you, Jack!

The rest of this month we plan on just working a lot and enjoying our tranquil life here. We’ve really grown to love our days here where we typically work only about 4 hours a day and either read in the hammock, work in the yard or hang out with friends. In so many ways, our lives here are much easier then they were in the states. Sure, the standard of living here is lower, but there is practically zero stress, a tight community of friends and a lot of laughter.

In the beginning of June we head home for a week to go to Emily and Jason’s wedding. The dog and cat come home then too. Poster is set to live with my parents and their cat (who is the center of my dad’s universe), and Clavo is going to be with Carol. There’s going to be a big empty space in our lives without them here.

Only 6 months to go! Things here are really starting to wrap up. Thanks for reading!

At Miraflor looking at the amazing variety of orchids.

Mas, Nicole and Marilee hiking among the old Oak trees in Miraflor.

Taking a cold dip at Miraflor.

A true Nicaraguan revolutionary, flanked by Che and Sandino.

Singing revolution songs around the campfire at Miraflor.

Mas and I enjoying the cold!

The best cook in Nicaragua, our host in Miraflor, Doña Corina.


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