You are living WHERE?

Trip Start May 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 03, 2009

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Flag of Nicaragua  , Rivas,
Monday, June 1, 2009

So, readers. I have returned after a two-month lapse.  Yes, yes, I know – slap on the wrist for not updating all this time.  In my defense, I WAS in rural Nicaragua, and my access to internet was fleeting and fickle.  Now I have this Herculean task of updating you all on what I have been up to, so perhaps that will be payment enough for my negligence.

My address for the first part of the summer: De donde fue el centro de salud 100 Vrs. abajo, las Salinas Tola-Rivas.
translated: where the clinic used to be, 100m south, Las Salinas, Tola, Rivas, Nicaragua

my initial reaction: I... don't even know where the clinic currently is, never mind where it USED to be...goodness.

however, so goes the Nicaraguan penchant for giving directions in terms of landmarks.

As I scanned the information that I had been provided about my family, it told me that I had 6 host siblings, ages ranging from 26-14,
we have one dog named Neyo, who is really just an overgrown puppy. I have to admit I am not particularly fond of slobbery things, but by the end of my stint here, Neyo blundered his way into my heart... and CHICKENS.  (I don't know why, but I was particularly tickled by this fact)  Definitely wasn't laughing after my first night at the house though... the rustic image of waking up to the crowing of the rooster? totally shattered.  Well, perhaps not completely - I did indeed wake up to the crowing of the rooster... AT 3AM. they just crow WHENEVER they want; sometimes, it even seems like they have crowing duels with the chickens across the street. what a racket. The cows sometimes chime in.  this is the orchestra that I run with nowadays.

I was received really warmly, and slowly but surely getting to know everyone in the family (now that I think about it, I was never really introduced to anyone... I just kind of met them at my own pace) - as you can imagine, with 8 family members - "uneventful" is not a word that ever applies here.

My room is set entirely apart from the house the rest of my family lives - it is fully sealed, so that no mosquitoes can get in (THANK GOODNESS) and really spacious.  It feels a bit odd to have all this space when the rest of the family is in the next house and my host siblings share rooms; but at the same time, it has been invaluable to have my personal space.

My host mom Gioconda has the most adorable laugh and a big heart to go with it.  in the beginning of my internship, I tried to bring my lunch with me - but she insisted that she a) bring it herself or b) send it on the bus (this is the way things are done here... since it's really only one road, you can send things down the road in care of the friendly ayudantes on the bus) because she wanted to make sure I ate a hot lunch... hahaha so I ended up biking back to my house for lunch - it ended up being a better system anyway, because as much as I love the puesto and my work there, it's good to take a breather from the intensity of the place.

My first weekend in Las Salinas, my family took me to their plot of land, where Francisco, my host dad, grows beans, rice, pipiyan (a type of gourd... DELICIOUS) and watermelons - all for the family's consumption.  Thus began the city girl's journey in making the connection between soil to plate.  Planting season had just begun, so I saw rows and rows of little maize, poking their tufts of leaves out of the soil.  On this trip, I also learned how to make a tortilla - and they applauded when I successfully flipped the tortilla without mishap (amazing, I know). 
     Yay family warmth!  feel very blessed to be placed in their midst.
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