Trail? What trail?

Trip Start Sep 04, 2009
Trip End Feb 19, 2010

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A little update on the working life:
    This week was pretty eventful. Again, lots of dengue and babies.. but on Thursday I was working with the Minsitry of health or "Centro de Salud", and helped them take a census for vaccinations. This consisted of another guy and myself walking door to door (89 houses in total) making sure that all children under the age of five were up to date on their vaccines. This is important information for the government because vaccines are paid for by them, and they need to make sure that the money sent to individual clinics to purchase vaccines is appropriate. Anyways, to give you a further idea of how many babies there are in this country, maybe 10 of the 89 did not have any children.
This experience was one of the most profound so far. Some of the homes did not have car access, as they were located in what used to be a ravine, consisited of one room enclosed only by tin sheets, and inside lived the entire family plus whatever livestock they owned. Malnourished babies and puppies crawled on dirt floors, competing for speed against ducks, chickens and pigs. It is homes like these that motivate governments to pay for vaccines, because without them, most of these children would not make it to their first birthdays given the living conditions.
Any children who were not up to date on their vaccines were vaccinated on site by the guy I was working with. Next time, it will be me holding a needle!

Weekend Life:
    The crew headed out to Ometepe Island this last weekend. The island consists of two volcanoes, La Concepcion (active) and La Maderas (inactive), and is located in the middle of the largest lake in all of Central America, Lake Nicaragua. What a beautiful place. The only access is by ferry, giving the island a true rural feeling since it is fairly secluded from the rest of the country. The first day we hiked up to the Cascada San Ramon and frolicked around in the cool water. Unfortunately our group's timing was a little longer than expected, and we had to walk back to our hotel in the pitch black. I will carry my headlamp at all times from now on, because roads there are not paved and it was pissing rain. We looked like we had tromped through a swamp once back at the hotel.
    We rose at 6am the following morning in order to climb to the peak of Volcan Maderas. We needed a guide because in 2005, two men got lost in the jungle and died. The first two hours were pretty straightforward, but then the trail turned into a vertical climb up rocks, over trees, under roots and across swamps. I felt like a monkey since it was absolutely impossible to make it up without hoisting yourself from tree to tree. After 5 hours we made it to the Laguna, which is located in the heart of what was once an active crater. I would usually have swam, but the bottom was quick sand and I was exhausted from the climb. We managed to make it back to the hotel before dark this time, which was good because I may have lost my will to go on and just passed out on the side of the road. 

I am missing you all very much and sending you love from Central America! Adios mi amores!
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