Saturday, September 30, 2006

yes.. today we broke down after training and went this restaurant with a few other trainees and had the most wonderful 3 pizzas ever. It was a nice break just to have something familiar. Afterwards was also fun, because we got to sit on a bus at the bus station waiting for it to leave for like an hour. We were able to make it home just in time for the youth group meeting I was supposed to have with the kids in my town, which ended having to be reschedule anyways. Tommorrow is exciting because we get to go on our volunteer visit together. We are going to visit another couple so that be good to get that perspective also. Its only about an hour bus ride for us, but some of the other trainees are going to visit volunteers in areas near honduras and have to ride on multiple buses for as long as 8 hours. Everyone is really excited to get out of there training town and experience some parts of Nicaragua. Hopefully we will have some new pictures to put up after the visit.


p.s. kara and paul we got both of your letters yesterday so that made the day a little more exciting! thanks!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

When it rains, it pours!

Me, Jeff, my dad and bro swimming in the laguna!

A picture of Volcan Mombacho which you can see from my site.

My backyard. This a view from my bedroom window...minus the bars on the window. It is also where the monkeys live! Theres at least 3 that I have seen.

Jeff and his training group, Loehrl and Tony.

Uploading photos to Blogger is hard work and takes a long time so please forgive me that these come in waves of 4 or 5.

Anyhow, right now it is the rainy season, until the end of November, early December. It is usually really nice in the daytime and really really rainy at night. Its good because it totally cools it off and it is easier to sleep. Also, I go walking with the other 2 girls in my site in the mornings, and it is cool then too. However, when it rains at night, you cant hear anything because of the tin roof. It is crazy loud. Also, I have 3 smallish holes in the ceiling in my bedroom and when I wake up in the morning, there is generally a small to medium sized lake next to my bed. Gracias a Dios it does not rain in my bed!

Also, Jeff and I have been given so much more work lately which actually is good because it makes the time go by so much faster. The first 2 weeks were the slowest two weeks of my life and actually I was really sad for the majority of the time. However, now things are going much faster and we are doing so much more. I have started planning a teacher workshop with 5 others that will take place in 4 weeks, one of the weeks which I will not be here! I'll be visiting another voluneer with Jeff. Thanks for all of the planning time.....but Im sure it will turn out great, everybody here is pretty motivated and excited.

Well, thats all for now. Glad to see that the Twins will be in the playoffs. Wish I would have brought my Twins T-shirt to wear around. Miss everyone and cant wait for visitors. Im already ready.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Semana 4

another week, another cordoba, as the saying goes... Things feeling pretty normal here, i already feel as if this is home. This week is really busy everyday as we really starting getting into things: working on our youth group project, observing english classes at the secondary school(instituto), 6 hours of spanish a day, homework, and then traveling to other cities for training 2 days a week. My family is great, My "parents" are more like grandparents, they are in their 60s. They are really good at talking slow enough so I can understand while still talking about complex things. I sit and talk to my father on the front step a lot. Hes got lots of time to talk to me because hes retired and he tells me about the history and different time periods in nicaragua, the politics, whatever. Last weekend when Jenny came to visit he took out his guitar and played a little for us while it was pouring outside. At the end of this week is the big volunteer visit. Jenny and I get to go visit another volunteer together somewhere in the country. We dont find out till friday where that will be though.

As for my parents, i dunno if you have tried to call me again, i know the phone works cause it rings often, but it is located in the shop so let it ring a lot. If it still doesnt work, I will give you Jennys families number because i know that works, and i will be there this weekend some, so you could call me there.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

More photos

Me and Kat at the famous Mirador.

Jenny hangin out a Jeffs in a rocking chair...rocking chairs are everywhere!

Jeffs room! Mosquito net and all.

Some pottery sold in Jeffs house.

The front of Jeffs house.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


jenny and the other volunteers in her town, laura and kat

front of jennys house

jennys family

This is a picture of the laguna de apoyo from the top, we hiked all the way down to it, as noted in earlier blogs.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More training, just what I need...

I think that I have not really worked for the past 3 years, but instead sat in the same 3 or 4 trainings 20 times each. My AmeriCorps friends know what Im talking about. Yeah you do. Okay, so its been different trainings, but yet, they all seem so related and similiar. How many different icebreakers, energizers, and teambuilding activites can there really be? Im being to learn, not that many...but here they are called something else, but so similar. However, we have NOT played shake a tailfeather yet, which I am waiting for so I can figure out what to call it in Spanish.

Our training in the Peace Corps Nicaragua is community based, and weve been told its an amazing training program. Community based means that you have your language classes in a house where you live, you work in the community doing a youth group and we work/observe the English teacher in the pueblo. As part of our training, we are required to start a youth group in the town that we are training in. Those of us who are learning spanish, slowly, get to work as a group to complete our project. The group is supposed to be roughly 10 or 15 kids and you are supposed to complete a service project. We have 10 weeks to do this. However, you are gone for 2 of the weeks on site visits. It is week 3 and our first meeting was this Monday and we only had 6 teens show up to our first meeting. Most of them were family members that we bullied into coming. Because we didnt have very many kids, we are having our second meeting tonight to try and complete what we started on Monday. Hopefully, more kids will show up. Our project is based around drugs. Not doing them, but prevention of using as we explain to the kids who giggle every time we say were doing a project on drugs. We were told that it is a problem in this pueblo, and then again that it isnt and by others that yes indeed it is. So, we think that is what we are going with.

Also today we had our first meeting with the English teacher at the middle/high school which is one and the same. Actually, weve observed him once but we were there to talk to him about when we were going to work with him, what he wants from us, what we need, ect. So we get there and low and behold, he did not come to work today. My second encounter with Nica time. So we left a note which Im sure is hilarious because its probably terrible spanish and were supposed to be educated people working with him to teach English....yet we speak spanish like 5 year olds. Such is life.

I was going to upload my pictures today but I cant find the port on this computer which is fairly newish and I dont know how to ask. Im sure I looked ridiculous as I looked for it for like 10 minutes as well. Im sure theyre thinking, what is that crazy whitey doing?

Also one note on the food...I really like the rice, however I found out that eatting a lot of rice and beans and plantains is NOT nice to your digestive system. I think that I almost never go to the bathroom, which sucks because I have stomach aches all the time. And I really dont like most of the veggies here, or the cheese, or eggs. I have been known to be somewhat of a picky eatter. I feel bad because I dont want my Nica mom to think that I dont like her cooking, but I really am just picky. She has stopped feeding me the cheese because I never eat it. Imagine the saltiest cheese in the world. Now a little saltier. That is what the cheese tastes like to me. I would kill for some white cheddar right about now. Or Thai food. Or Stir Fry. Or the Pasta Fresca from Noodles. Or that tofu that Beth cooked at Menogyn. But beans and rice, not that bad, but not that nice for my digestive system at the same time, if you know what Im sayin...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dennys I miss you!

Oh how I miss the Minnesota Twins. I get to see the stats in the paper sometimes and even saw a few minutes of a game at my house! Thank you for all of the updates. Its just not the same hearing about the excitement and not getting to be there. I miss the Twins, Bert, the hormel row of fame, Twingo, dome dogs, more dome dogs, and free tickets.

Last weekend was full of fun. Jeff and I went to Masaya with my fam. Masaya is the next biggest town near my pueblo. We went to 2 mercados. One was the old mercado which was really clean, selling arts and crafts, food, clothes, and hammocks. The other mercado, known as the mercado, was full of whatever you could wish to buy. So many shoes and clothes, mosquito nets, shampoo, watermelon, fish, and more. Everything. When people own a pulperia, a small store, they go to this mercado to buy all of there supplies. It was interesting, and kind of scary at the same time. There were so many people jammed in there and you could be robbed very easily.

On sunday we went to the family farm which is much more like a jungle than a farm. There are coconut trees, other fruit trees, an avacado tree, and many many many plants. We drove there with my dad who is an amazing driver. He puts the car in neutral when we are not going up a hill. Its sort of scary actually. But on our way back from the farm, we got a flat tire. Fixing it included trying to put on a different tire which I am still unsure why we didnt use it, trying to blow up the flat tire with a pump that they tried to get power by connecting it to a power line, going into some random persons house to use the power, which wasnt strong enough, and finally walking home while my dad rolled the tire to the next biggest town to have it fixed and put back on the jeep. All in all, this took about 2....3 hours. But everyone was in a good mood the whole way through, and it was more funny than anything.

All in all, a good and productive weekend. Only a few hours a day of sitting and doing nothing, and going to bed really early. Jeff and I got to sleep in a twin bed together, which actually is more comfortable than it sounds. The monkeys decided to take the weekend off and didnt wake us up at 5:30 like they usually do. That was sweet of them.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

brief musical update

For all you Air Supply fans out there, book your flights now!! At the end of the month they will be playing in Managua. There are commericals for it here all the time. Unfortunately, its 80 US dollars!! Who knew that Air Supply could charge that much. But it is true that you get a buffet dinner with that price, so I am assuming its a pretty large buffet. I dont think Jenny and I will be going, since we make about that in 1 month! And Luke, if you want to send us a check in cordobas please multiply whatever you were going to send in US dollars by 17, so its actually worth more than a few bucks!

Friday, September 15, 2006

mosquiteros and more!

This thursday and friday are special days here in Nicaragua. Thursday was the celebrating of the battle of San Jacinto, which I was told was similar to our Alamo except for the fact that it was the Nicas fighting off the Yankees. Friday is Independence day for all central america countries except Panama, i think. Early in the week, we had the torch for independence come through our town, it was a nice addition to viewing the torch in that we were also without power. there were a lot of people running with the torch carrier, it got a little hectic by the church so the police that were driving in a truck in front of the torch carrier had to take the torch for a bit. The torch goes all the way through all the countries in central america, im not sure if it was going up or coming down though... Life is good, some of my favorite activities including being able to take a nap in the hammock in my house after a long day of Spanish class or watching people from my front steps in one of the rocking chairs. Surprisingly im not thought of as lazy, as far as I know, that would be reserved for another volunteer in my site, Tony. I live on the calle principal (the main street) so i get to see a lot going on. Spanish classes have been going good, i can tell that im starting to relearn things little by little, but its definitely a big process. People here speak with a lot of slang, and the also don´t use the Tu form of verbs that often, only Usted or the vos form, only Nicaragua and Argentina speak without the using the Tu or so ive been told. Other than that, i am slowing learning the bus system and where the different cities i have to go to are. So far i havent gotten really sick, except from the Malaria medicine we have to take. Paul, im sure you already heard this from Jenny but thanks for the letter, when i figure out how to buy stamps or send a letter i will do so too. Hope everyone is doing well Win Twins!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

hot dogs and more.

This week is the week of Central American Independence. What a week! Yesterday morning I was awoken to fireworks, which are just as loud, but not as pretty, at 5:45 in the morning. 15 minutes later, a marching band walked by my house. So I got up to see it and I´m pretty sure that I was the only one. The rest of my family contintued to sleep. And no neighbors were outside..stupid gringa! Basically, I have sen 3 marching bands today and heard so many bombas, as they call these fireworks.

Also, some spanish words rock and should be added to the English dictionary. My favorites so far are chunche...a word that can be used for anything you want when you can´t remember the word you are looking for. Hand me that...chunche. Enana which supposedly means short but I used it to describe myself to my nica mom and she laughed at me and told me it was a word that was used to describe short people, midgets even though that word is not PC. At least thats what I think she said....
Hot dog said with a spanish accent is also amazing. But then again, so are hot dogs. I think I could be a ¨vegetarian¨ but eat hot dogs as well as the only meat. But only on the grill, never boiled. Or cold. That just gross (Andy B.) Maybe boiled if I was desperate, or hungry. Or bored.

Things are going well. We learned about Degue today which apparently 1/7 of Peace Corps Volunteers in Nica get. I´ve got to say that I´m not really looking forward to it. Sounds pretty horrible. We also learned about Malaria and as long as we take our pills for the next 2 years we should be fine. Usually.

V: tried to email you but it gave some message that I didn´t understand. Also, I would like to email everyone reguarly, but my email is really really slow most days. I WILL do it though. The next 2 days are holidays so we will be in touch after that. Nothing will be open for those days. I would also like to say that Paul Stootman, tall paul, was the first person to send us mail so he pretty much rocks. And I would like to give a shoutout to another PC trainees mom, Lucian, because shes a reader! Hey Lucians mom! Hope you´re doing fine with your son being gone. Alright, 1 minute left. Talk to everyone soon!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

hardest walk of our lives

Hola! This was our first full weekend in nicaragua. We are lucky enough to get to spend the weekends together. We trade off familys so that we don´t have to put economic hardship or show favoritism to either family. Yesterday, we went on a walk to the laguana near my town. Me, Jeff, another volunteer, my dad, and brother. It was our first encounter to nica time. We were supposed to leave at 9 which actually ended up being more like 10:30. no worries. So we start walking and its through this forest, jungle mountain. Soon, i realized that this was going to be a lot harder than I had thought. It took us about 45 minutes to get down this mountain and we walked over this really slippery fruit on the ground...keep in mind this is down a mountain of slick mud and rocks...with plants around you that you have no idea. Is it poison ivy? Maybe its something i don´t even know about yet. So we get down there, we are soaking wet with sweat. It was dripping all the way off my nose and head. I really needed a sweat towel. I sort of felt like Shaun. We go in the water and it was amazing. It was like HOT the first 3 inches or so and underneath was cold. Which was amazing. We were there for about 1.5 hours. On our way up we decided to take the long route which was on a road. We walked for about 30 minutes straight up. It was so hard. Then we ran into a friend of the other volunteer who gave us a ride within 30 minutes of our town. Then we walked for another 30 minutes straight up. It was seriously the most difficult walk of my life. We then hitched another ride with someone my dad new, thank god or we might have died. My nica brother and dad were fine but us gringos were hurting! But it was super beautiful and totally worth it.

We are doing well. This is the staring of week number 2, I can harding wait. Our spanish is better, but still terrible. Hasta luego!

Jenny and Jeff

Monday, September 04, 2006

My new home!

Hey everyone. I have gotten my placement for the next 3 months. I will be living around the Masaya area in a pueblo. I have 2 sisters and 2 brothers. One of the girls is the cutest little girls that I have ever seen! Seriously, ever! The food is good. Alot of beans and rice, and more rice dishes. And chicken. And really good juice. My mom and dad are really nice but they speak soooo fast. I feel really dumb. I don´t understand what people are saying to me...they don´t understand what I say. It´s really hard. But, I am lucky enough to have 2 other girls in the same town that I am in. They both live about 5 minutes away, walking. We have our spanish classes in each of our respective homes.

My room in my house is really nice. I have a mosquito net, a dresser, a bed with 2 pillows, a cute window, a lock on my door that doesn´t work right now. The bathroom is right next door with a flush toliet. Yeah! Jeff is right down the road in another pueblo. I haven´t spoken to him since I was dropped off at my new house 2 days ago. I´ve actually been a lot more sad that I thought I would be about it. It´s really hard hanging out with people who don´t speak your language all day long. I am really tired by the end of the day. And we´re not supposed to speak english with our friends in our town. But obviously, we do. There is so much to say that I don´t know the words for in Spanish...since I don´t know most words in Spànish! I also feel sort of like an alien. Everyone stares at me, I sleep under a mosquito net, I don´t speak the language, they have to boil their water for me, I don´t eat certain foods. It´s wierd.

There is an internet cafe close to my house. It is twice as cheap to use it for one hour than to call with a calling card for 15 minutes. Dad: I tried calling you 4 times. 3 from the hotel collect and once while I´ve been in (edited for sercurity). It says that your number is disconnected. The house number! So I don´t know what to do.

During training, we go to spanish classes 3 times a week for 6 hours a day. 2 other days are technical training. I dread the weekend when I have to hang around and not understand much for 2 days straight! However, on sunday I took a walk with my brothers and sister and we say the laguna by my house. Its really pretty because it overlooks a volcano and another town. We went their today with my group as well.

Well that is it for now. I am going to try and upload some of my pictures. Hasta luego!


Saturday, September 02, 2006

first day in new town

hello again!

i am writing from (unable to say for security reasons), which is actually the town Jenny lives in. One of the other volunteers, Loehrl´s mom brought us here, because we are not allowed to walk around town alone since we are new. I live in the town called #####. It is literally a 5 minute walk from Jenny´s town. There are 3 volunteer in my town and 3 in Jennys town. We are grouped by language ability so obviously Jenny and I are in the 2 low groups. But we are learning a lot. My new family is very nice. They have had 15 volunteers stay with them in their lives and my mother is the mother of our language teacher. The town I am in is town worldwide for its pottery and it is pretty much a complete artisan town. My house has a store connected to it that sell some of the pottery that my father´s brother makes in a different house in the San Juan de Oriente. We had our first language class today, Survival Spanish. All of our classes are with the other peace corps volunteer in town in eachothers houses. Its a lot of work, but im excited about it. We have spanish 3-4 days a week for 6hrs. and technical training on our TEFL stuff 2 days a week. Foods been good so far, my mother, Ana Maria, cook a good meal with chicken and rice for lunch, and im looking forward to dinner because im always hungry. The fruit here is amazing also, all different fruits that would never be in Minnesota. Today, when we were waiting to come to Catarina to use the internet, another volunteer, Tony, and I spent some time sitting on the outdoor patio in rocking chairs eating a fruit called mamones, which i cant really describe but its pretty sweet. We also have many juice made from tons of different fruits, including pitayaha, which is bright fusia(sp) its unbelieveably bright. Thats all I can think of right now, tonight will be my first night under my mosquito net in my cama de matrimonio. hope all is well, go twins!