Thursday, April 19, 2007

A day in the life

Since we only write about our fun and interesting experiences, you must be wondering what goes on during an average day, so here goes.

I wake up, usually sweating already. I brush my teeth, wash my face, put on a polo shirt and pants and walk to class. Its about a 25 minute walk and the time that I have to be there at varies by day. Usually at 8:30. On my way to school I am usually harrassed with cat calls or statements about the color of my skin. For example, oye chelita, GRINGA!, chelita preciosa, muñeca, gatita, chelita guapa, and the occational PROFE! or profesora from a kid who knows me.

I either go to one or two hour and a half classes and co-teach with my counterpart. I have 2 counterparts. With one I teach 11th grade, and with the other we teach various grades.

I walk home at noon. When I get home around 12:30 I eat lunch. Then I take a shower. Sometimes I check my email. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I wash my clothes. But I always plan my afternoon classes. At 3:00 I walk to my 3:30 classes. On MW I teach at the TeleCentro which as airconditioning so that rocks. On TTH I teach at Chinatlan, and I teach 2 classes back to back. Therefore I am either done at 5:00 or 6:15...depending on the kind of day it is.

When I get home, we eat dinner. Then we have a number of options. We can either read, play cards, umm....sometimes watch a movie on the computer, um, we play cards...., sometimes prepare a lesson plan or materials for the next days classes, study spanish, or hang with the neighbors. Then we go to bed between 9:30 and 10:00.

Last night the 3 of us got a salsa lesson from our neighbor. It was fun and a break from the ordinary. Jeff and I are planning to practice and become salsa masters. We´ll see how that works out.

Just a taste of an ordinary day, which most days are! Did I mention I sweat all day long and worry about how I smell?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Climbing San Cristobal

Well, yesterday we climbed the tallest volcano in Nicaragua, San Cristobal which is located in the department of Chinandega. (where we live, lucky us!)

Jeff and I got up at 4:15 to fill our water bottles, eat a little bit of oatmeal and put on our hiking clothes. A white t-shirt turned out to be a bad idea, but I didn´t realize how dirty I would be by the end. We walked over to Ernie´s house to meet everyone else and left in Javier´s truck. It took about an hour to drive there. We picked up our 18 year old guide on the way, watched the sunrise and we were ready! We drove until we couldn´t drive any further, for a stupid rock and I grew to hate on the way back..., and we started hiking at about 6:15 or so.

Here is a view from the car on our ride over.
Early on the boys and guide seperated from Annmarie, Javier, and me. It was fine, we hiked at our own pace, and I sweat A TON. My clothes were soaked in about an hours. SOAKED. And I was already really really dirty, but not as dirty as I would become. So at about 9:30 we made it half way up, up to this base area where you can see the point of the volcano. About this time I was wondering what I had decided to do.

Well the boys seemed to run up the remainder of the base, Annmarie and I took our sweet time. There was 2 times where I really thought I wasn´t going to make it. Halfway up the to the point, everything turns to volcanic rock and you take one step and slide back 2. It was frustrating and sucked. Then about 100 meters to the top, there is all of this cactus and you feel like you are in a video game trying to avoid everything and make it up to the top. Well, finally we made it, and were rewarded with a stunning view of the crater.

The crater, though it smelled pretty gross.
We stayed up there for a while, took some pictures, had some lunch, and then headed back down which was by far the worst part. This picture is Javier, Jeff, Travis (our new sitemate), Ernie, and Paul (who is new to Corinto).

So we started to head back down, and everything slides out from under your feet. All the rock, and your feet so I spent the majority of time on my hands and butt. But not everybody had so much trouble as I did. I couldn´t stay on my feet and fell, and fell, and fell. It sucked. I was sooo unhappy. Luckily, once you make it down the peak part, it just turns into a normal hike down, instead of some super steap, volcanic rock ridden hell. This is Jeff and I once I made it down the peak part. We still had about 2 hours hike down from here.
So we countinued down, and once it was getting flatter all I could think was WHERE IS THE DAMN CAR? I thought that for about an hour I would say, until finally it appeared and I was so happy. We rode home, and arrived at about 5 making this a 12 hour journey. When Jeff and I got out of the car our neighbors about had a heart attack and laughed really hard at how dirty we were and how I couldn´t walk normal. I think they were impressed.....

It was totally worth it. Would I ever do it again? Hell no.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Burning Up in Chinandega

After a week of traveling with our friends visiting from MN, we are back in Chinandega. Luckily, everyday we are greeted with the ever constant heat of the sun. I feel like I am back in Arizona, minus the air conditioning. I don´t think there is a moment when I am not sweating. Our vacation was a nice break from the heat and chance to show Nicaragua to our friends. I think that they had a good time here, although the buses were overwhelming and tiring, even for me at times. We visited San Juan del Sur, where we got to visit some beaches that you had to take a dirt road to and were unbelievably beautiful, Granada, including the isletas and the laguna de apoyo, and for Todd, Ben and I, Matagalpa, we got a break from the heat and got to relax in the mountains and visit a coffee plantation. We had an easy week getting back to school, there was no class on Monday because most of the students don´t show up the following Monday after vacation. Then on Tuesday at Jenny´s school they started to strike and my school followed Thursday. The teachers are asking for more money and supposedly it is a nation wide strike, so we will see how long that lasts! Sunday is going to be another exciting day as we are hiking Volcan San Cristobal, the highest point in Nicaragua, with some other volunteers and our friend Javier. We have to wake up at 5 a.m. and it is about an 8 hour day in total! Hopefully we get some photos from the top.