It just doesn’t get any better than this.
– helped construct the “House of Hope,” a soon-to-be complex for reforming prostitutes
– played my first games of Nicaraguan basketball, in which my lack of athletic ability was only made up by my superior gringo height
– learned Nicaraguan guitar songs from the adult English students
– two high school English classes
– two adult English classes
– hit my first Nicaraguan pinata
– found out that my nickname “Marco de Bicicleta” means “bicycle frame”
– heard a lecture on Nicaraguan education by Dona Maria Tallez, Nicaraguan professor and intellectual denied a US visa for participating in the Sandanista Revolution in 1979
– helped throw a fundraiser for the Ben Linder House, a common meeting place for Nicaraguan service providers. The house is named after the first American to be assassinated by US-backed Contra forces in the 1980s; Linder was a twenty seren year old volunteer helping to electrify rural areas of Nicaragua.
Up until now, if I had one complaint about my time in Nicaragua, it would have been that, living in the Manna house, I felt somewhat separated from the community that the group is working with. I mentioned this to Greg, the volunteer coordinator, and at his suggestion I moved into the neighborhood last Sunday. My new family consists of my mother Juana (or Juanita), and my two sisters Carolina (28) and Jazmina (20). It also just so happens to be the location of the previously mentioned chocolate-covered bananas, to which I now have unlimited access.
Living with the Solis family has fundamentally changed my time in Nicaragua. Instead of reading more Economist articles on a Sunday afternoon, I’m attending a Nicaraguan mass. Rather than check my email for the fourth time in any given day, I’m sweeping the dirt floor of my room and learning how to make Nicaraguan juices and helping machete the fields around my new house. I’m having endless conversations in my fast-improving Spanish, learning the ins and outs of Nicaraguan culture, and doing what I came here to do: make friends with people that might be able to benefit from whatever I have to offer. It has meant finding a part-time job for one of my struggling high school English students, and (next week, hopefully) purchasing glasses for Carolina.
Despite the fact that it was a slow week with regard to “service activities,” I am more proud of what I accomplished than of any other week here so far here. This week will pick up some – our preschool, feeding program, and adult English class which had all been on vacation will resume this week. Last week I took over the high school English class, which is as demanding a job as I can imagine. God bless teachers everywhere. And on top of that, I will have, in just a few hours, a new volunteer to introduce to Cedro Galan! My friend flies in tonight, and she will hit the ground running with a Managua tour and a choco-banano tomorrow morning!
marco de bicicleta