Me llamo Morgan
Today began like all other of my days so far here. My 3yr old sister yelling about something, giggling and laughing, with her two brothers in the backround hushing her. She´s a peach and I am fully planning on stealing her and bringing her back to the states with me. So, I woke up in my bed, clean and well maintained like everything in the house from the kitchen to the boys (I have two brothers, aged 13 and then took one of the coldest and quicked showers I have ever taken. I don´t know if I ever will get used to geckos running up and down the shower. I scarfed down some type of meat, salty but tasty, rice (of course), and some french fries, just not quite the ones were used to in the states. All my food is made by my grandmother, who is a great cook and deals very well with my struggling spanish.
So at 8, were off, not too early considering we go to bed at 830 and wake up to the many neighboring chickens at 5. Our plan for the day was to went to visit our potential job sites for the next two weeks. Our first stop is El Chile, only 45 minutes away, but on a road that I am quite positive was never intended as a bus route and soon became the bounciest ride I´ve ever been on.
Our first stop is the house of a scholarship student sponsered by Planning Hope. He has a large number of brothers and sisters and his house is currently covered by a plastic tarp filled with holes. His walls were made of clay, sogging cardboard and wire. Experiencing that as much as we have lately is extremely sad and makes one truly appreciate what they have and have taken advantage of in the past.
The second stop of the day was the children´s school. Last year´s team painted the entire school and this year we will be installing a water storage facility for them. Its a great project and badly needed.
Throughout our trip there the kids were great photo subjects. Extremely sober at first but opened up when Jay and I started taking photos. They were so thrilled by the site of a camera and their own picture. It was extremely refreshing to have such honest enthusiam.
Our next stop was the women´s weaving co-op. We ate lunch packed by our families and watched one of the women weave. There are 8 women that work at the co-op. A rarity in a place where very few women work outside of the house. They do great work and I picked up one of their bags as proof.
On thing I noticed was that the view from everywhere in El Chile was breathtaking and sad. There is a lot of deforestation and all of the livestock seem to be starving. Pretty sad.
Our last stop for the day was Susuli highschool. Santana brought us in and we had the opportunity to play soccer and frisbee with the kids in front of the entire school. Kind of daunting. The kids were great, but I was extremely suprised that our team won. The girls were great at frisbee and got really into it. We had an English class with some of them, and then a couple of the kids sang songs in English for us. Can´t lie but I kinda felt like an animal in the zoo,we were the object of much . We went back to the very long bumpy ride and sang alot of songs in Spanglish... It was hilarious.
But, bed early after that, we have to get up really early tomorrow morning. Hasta mañana.
May 17th, 2009
Hola! My name is Nicolas Choy and I am one of the team leaders for this 2009 NU Visions Abroad Team in Nicaragua.
Yesterday, May 17th, was our second day here in Nicaragua in the little town of San Ramón.
First we got together in front of Doña Edita’s house and then we went to have breakfast in Doña Nelly’s house. The backyard of the house was an amazing garden. There were flowers and trees that several members of the team had never seen before. There were also a few turkeys and chickens running around the house. Mercedes and Beth came with us as well.
We had some fruits with pancakes. I had not had mango in a long while and here in Nicaragua they are everywhere! There was also coffee and some orange juice. The coffee was unreal, it was very tasty. So far one of the best parts of this trip has been the food. It is real food; everything comes from the ground which is great.
After we ate and hung out for a little while, we started the official meeting. First, we had Mercedes welcoming us again and hoping that we can take advantage of this trip and learn a little more about ourselves and our lives. Beth then explained in detail what we are going to be doing during this week. She also spoke about the different projects she had in mind and things to have in our head so we can at least know what is going on.
After the meeting we had a tour in town by two “chavalas” or girls who work with the tourist development of San Ramon. First, they took us to a cultural center owned by Spanish people. They have cultural presentations and dances in there and some other things.
Then we visited every single house of the team members and we had pictures with our families. On our way to the Catholic Church, I bought a “raspado” and I had some members try some. It is kind of ice with some flavor syrup in it. It is really sweet.
We went to a church which was built in the early 1800’s and was made of clay, eggs, and some other cheap materials. It is a very old but very pleasant and pretty church. The last place we visited was the office of tourism of San Ramón. There, some of us bought some hand made Nicaraguan jewelry.
After that, we went to have lunch with our families. Once again, the food was unbelievable.
I got to see a “futbol” or soccer game with my family before we went to Don Carlos’ house to use the pool. I went to the pool with my little brother Johander, and I had a good and relaxing time with my teammates and the guys from San Ramón. We were offered watermelon and ice cream in Don Carlos’ as well.
Around five in the evening, Johander, my brother, and I came back from the pool and went to play “futbol” for like an hour. It was a lot of fun and he plays very well. We came back to the house and went to the church with my mom, Maria. The mass was very nice and very entertaining. Then we just headed back home and watched TV for a little while before we went to bed.
It was a very relaxing day; however, I already feel that I have been here for way more than just two days. I am definitely looking forward to see what is next.
May 16th 2009
I woke up this morning feeling recharged and ready to take on the day. I did not expect to walk so much in the beginning but we ended up walking a lot more than I expected. As I walked and walked I realized how poor this country really is. It makes me wonder how these people have survived so long, but they have and are managing very well.
In one day I learned enough to least me a lifetime. Today when I went shopping. I didn't spend a dollar, it just didn't feel right to buy anything, so I ended up not spending any money. We walked around Matagalpa for about two hours and then we stopped for lunch at a semi buffet. The food was amazing. I haven't had food like that since my Grandma cooked.
After stopping we broke into groups again and roamed around Matagalpa for another couple of hours. After that we met again in a park, then we took taxis to the library called La Chispa. After arriving we discovered that we were going to be part of the student activities.
Ben and I ended up playing jump rope with the kids for a while at a basketball court up the road from La Chispa. After jumping we went back La Chispa for a presentation being help by the students and teachers from La Chispa.
They put on a really pretty show today, they danced and had a little fishy show with the kids who are learning English. An awesome show overall. Then we came back to San Ramon (my home) and we had a short meeting before we split up and went home to eat. I had a good dinner, getting to sit down and talk with my family. I talked to them for a while and for some reason in one night I seem to have fallen in love with this place.
We are in Nicaragua and already I am a little confused. Very excited, but confused. We flew in late but the view of Managua from the airplane was incredible. Seeing the city lit up at night was a fantastic way to start our three weeks here. My feelings about the trip changed a lot all day today, but now that I´m here I am nothing but excited to meet my homestay family.
The welcoming group at the airport was awesome and the fact that they are willing to take the 2½-to-3-hour trip from Managua to San Ramon, on which I am currently writing this blog entry, is a true testament to the kind and appreciative nature that our friends here possess.
I´m going to end this entry and enjoy the breeze of the ride. It´s hot.