Tuesday, July 3, 2012

First Days...

The roosters start crowing at 4am, well before daybreak.  Not long after that radios begin blasting as people all over the barrio ready themselves for work.  I am living in "una casa" a few houses down from the community center/library where I work.  Today I spent the majority of the time hanging out and helping out.  Its amazing to see the progress that has occurred in 10 years.  When I left Nicaragua in 2002, the library was only 3 small rooms.  Now, there is a second floor, a beautiful balcony, a patio and a kitchen/cafe.  The number of young people served has tripled if not quadrupled.

The morning is a bit crazy as the majority of students here do not officially start school until 12:30pm.  Today a group from the states, "Global Glimpse," stopped by with about 15 American students all around 16 or 17.  They ran a few activity centers and the kids really had a great time.  I lent out a few cameras to some little boys and they quickly became a hit.  It got to the point where kids were trying to grab every camera they saw, even out of the hands of the American students, thinking it was part of the activity.  I let them know that my photography classes will start next week.

My host family is fantastic.  My host mom, Fatima, speaks very slowly and is very easy for me to understand.  My host sister, Gema, is a very serious student.  Last night a storm knocked out most of the electricity for the neighborhood and we had to cook and eat in the dark, well with a single candle.  Gema sat right next to the candle and studied furiously for a test she was having the next day.  I wish my students could see that!  Even with no electricity she still managed to study!

My host house is refreshingly simple.  There is not much furniture, a clay floor and no running water.   Outside in a tiny secluded courtyard are the water basins that hold the family's water.  There is a toilet in one corner surrounded by a black plastic tarp and piece of cloth for privacy.  Cleaning yourself is done with a bucket of cold water and a bar of soap.  Its cold.  Really cold.  Especially in the morning before the sun has come out.  I couldn't get up the courage to wash my hair this morning- that will have to wait until tomorrow.   My host mom graciously gave up her bed so I could sleep by myself, instead of on the floor with Gema.  I wouldn't mind sharing, however I am petrified of spiders or other creepy crawlies getting into bed with me.  I know this fear is unjustified, but the last time I was here, I found a tarantula, and I just can't shake that image.  I feel a bit safer in a raised bed.

Also, I brought WAY too much stuff.  My host family was making fun of me, saying it looked like I was moving in for a year.  I told them a lot of it was equipment and materials for my classes at the library.  That's true, I do have a lot of that stuff, but I also have a ton of clothes.  Too many.  Nothing here is wasted and everyone has just enough.  This month I will really have to reflect on all the "excess" in my life.

1 comment:

  1. I picture you with a HUGE suitcase as usual! hahaha