June 30, 2005

En Hormiguera

Today I woke up at Alba´s house (she´s the cook for Bridges to community, the NGO that the gringas work for here), and headed out with Miranda in the big pickup truck to Hormiguera, a place an hour away where there is an outpost with a nurse, Rufina. She was VERY VERY helpful--she gave me the handwritten censuses that had been taken of the area earlier this year. How trusting! just bring them back on monday. And we figured out there´s about 17 communities in the area that I am going to try and get a sampling of. some people have one cow, some have 300, so it will be interesting to figure out how to sample. perhaps every 5th cow til i´ve used all my stuff??? Margarito is a Nicaraguan guy that is really really awesome who is going to help me for the first couple of weeks. He is very patient and helped me today with my spanish, and gave me pointers. He is a vet tech, so that´s helpful too. Back in the day, there were bandits that came through here and stabbed over 30 people, 3 of whom died. Because he had knives and blood on his shoes, the authorities put him in jail and blamed him. The whole community knew that was bullshit, though, and that the blood was cow blood, and bailed him out. I´m psyched he´ll be helping me. We´re still trying to figure out this student thing too. A bunch of students from the university want to accompany me but I have to pay for their food, transportation, rainjackets and boots! So I told them no more than 4 total, 2 at a time (for 2 weeks) to cut down on cost. "Airplane" the dog that lives at Bridges House (he has ears that stick out so his head looks like an airplane), just waltzed up to me inside the cyber room. hee hee. It pours here for a few minutes every few hours, so it´s very very muddy. We took a bunch of plantain roots to another community from hormiguero, literally til the road ended at a river. the people there had sheep, a rabbit and a pet fawn in addition to the normal cows, swine, horses, dogs and cats. I looked at the roaring river and saw my first dugout canoe. Neat!

June 29, 2005

El Segundo dia en Nicaragua: Siuna

Spoke with Nohemy last night in her home, she told me the history of Nicaragua, all in spanish, and I THINK I understood most of it...the war, the two party system that have a pact between eachother so the people really don´t have a voice anyway, why she loves nicaragua anyway, what is so difficult in Nicaragua to live here, etc. Her daughter, Franci, named one of their kitties "blanco pelusa, rojo nariz" which means white lint because of the hair she leaves around and the pink nose she has. cute. I went to the airport in Managua again today which is no bigger than Lunken field in Cincinnati, and flew out to Siuna, an old mining town (in a triangle of 2 other mining towns, Bonanza and Rosita). There was a man whose carry on baggage was a decorated cake. no top covering it or anything. WHOA, sketchy! I would have dropped it in a second. My plane was a 12 seater, open to the cockpit, and there were only 3 other passengers. Flying over the campesinos...very cool. Flew through a rain storm. Landed on a gravel runway with dogs and kids running around. The airport in siuna consists of a man who wears an old beat up "official" aeropuerto shirt, 4 orange cones for directing the plane, and a handheld fire extinguisher. Crazy! The people I´m with here are very very awesome and welcoming. Laura and her boyfriend Jesse are here as well as Miranda (all gringos) and then Kenya is Nicaraguan. I am staying at Alba´s house, which she has been saving and saving for. Alba will cook for me and wash my clothes and her grandmother and 7 year old son live there too. No one says the Ss here (not a lisp like in spain, but simply not said at all) so understanding is a bit more difficult than I had anticipated, but slowly I´ll get it. Today is teacher´s day, and Jesse is a teacher so they had a celebration at the school for my arrival and his teacherness. The two men who were supposed to go with me to Bosawas reserve aren´t because one broke his foot and the other found a job...so i´m spending the next few days finding some appropriate helpers. One possibility is an "almost veterinarian" about my age who is "not vulgar"...we shall see. the university here looks very like the elementary school i taught at in ngurdoto, Tanzania, except with electricity and glass windows. everyone has electricity it seems! that´s awesome! funny i have to come to central america to watch bad tv. ha ha. the frogs here sound incredible. tonight we're going to the disco. misunderstandings are funny. i told Nohemy last night i was ten fifteen instead of 25. oops. hay muchos caballos aqui. off to see what´s next. love!

June 28, 2005

La Prima Dia en la Nicaragua

I have arrived safely. Flying in over mountains that snake along the green floor and almost meet us in the clouds. Land of lakes and volcanos. Nohemy picked me up, smiling face and abrazos made for hugs... She talks and I listen, missing every 3rd or 4th word which means i get the general gist of the story she tells me, but sometimes i miss crucial points. Luckily we are face to face and I can respond with the corresponding facial expression or gasp or laugh, and that seems to be doing okay for now. She took me to her house, corrugated tin roof, painted yellow cement house with white filigreed metal to keep theives out. Her mother, neice and daughter as well as a dog (who barked at me and then peed on the floor), 3 little cats and a green parrot all greeted me. They turned the TV on, but it stopped working after just a couple minutes and no amount of banging could turn it back on. I told them it was okay and I didn´t even have a tv at home and they laughed and somehow seemed relieved. They are very nice. Just got here so not a whole lot to say except that it seems strange that this new land is so CLOSE to america, and I´ve never been here before. I will learn so much I think! it´s hot here. I was nervous coming here because everything has gone so wrong for me this year, and it just felt like this would go wrong too, but so far things seem dandy. The busses here are hand-me-down school busses from america. Love to you all!

June 21, 2005

get ready

it's what I gotta be doin. get my apartment ready for an onslaught of new treasures salvaged from my grandparents' house. get my kitties ready to live at Davis' for a few weeks. get ready to speak Espanol, or rather, Castellano for the next few weeks. get myself all together and ready to leave central Mass for the rainforest of Nicaragua....the Bosawas Reserve. Daunting! get ready for seven weeks there alone, thinking about my life ahead of me, being productive with my research there, getting good at needles+cows. get ready to meet a new class and to demote myself from V'08 to class of V'09, swallow any pride and think of it as a fresh start. Fresh start. yes.