How’s life up north? Last time we talked I was getting ready to head to Niquinohomo for my 3 month Spanish language check up. It was a lot of fun to go back to Niquinohomo and meet up with my old training town friends. Spanish class itself was not terribly exciting we just review over grammar structure that we learn while in training. For the most part it was just a review but on the last day we did learn some more complex verb structures which was cool. The nicest thing about was having a week off from school and being able to relax with friends. While I was down there I went to Masaya a couple times went to the beach in Carazo and went to Catarina and the mirador with my friends. After the language workshop a bunch of my friends came back with me to La Dalia. We had a dinner party and then the next day we went into Matagalpa to take in some stuff that the big city has to offer. It was a lot of fun showing my friends around my site and my house. Although I was glad to get back and just relax by myself.
As for life in La Dalia things are going ok. I have had some hiccups like having to move out the house I was renting. Last week my landlord just showed up at my front door and the said there had been a family emergency and that she needed the house back. I wasn’t terribly excited to move out and go through the whole process of finding another place to live especially after we had an agreement that I would live there for two years. Apparently contract law here is not what it is in the US, oh well. I was able to find another place to live with the help of my neighbor without much difficulty. I just had to spend a few hundred dollars to furnish it and it good as new. The house its self is in the same neighborhood as where I lived before, so it’s the same style the only real difference between the two is that this one is less finished unlike the first house this house doesn’t have a second floor and more of the brick is exposed.
In other news last week just by chance I ran in to some Swedish volunteers who were helping out with handicapped children in the area. The group was made up of 5 teachers and 5 mentally handicapped students. My friend Ishmael, the university English professor and I and helped translate for the Swedes while they were in La Dalia. It was great to meet them, and to be able to help them out.
This week I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Luis and my site visit from my boss. However I called Luis Sunday went he was back in the country to find out that the Ministry of Education hadn’t paid him for the month of March; he wouldn’t be starting back at school until the first week of April. So as a result I had to cancel my site visit until both counterparts were available. To make matters more complicated Mariling is going to be leaving on maternity leave within a week or two. Trying to coordinate a time that is acceptable for all 3 people is proving to be harder than expected. I am really looking forward to working with Luis when he gets back to La Dalia. There will apparently be a substitute taking over Mariling’s classes while she is gone. I am not terribly crazy about that idea although I realize it is necessary. I feel like I am just a revolving door for teachers, who haven’t received any Peace Corps training. With all these teachers coming and going the periodic trainings that my counterparts and I receive don’t do any good. For instance in July after the semester end there is a in-service training which is supposed to gauge how things have been going with my counterparts and I, but I will have been working with only one of my counterparts for the past 3 months so it very confusing. Oh well when it comes to Nicaraguan school every day is an adventure! I could write an entire blog post on just the chaos in school.
As for my new site mate Lauren, she sent me a text saying that she didn’t pass her final language interview and will have to stay in language classes for one more week until she is able to come up to La Dalia. The same thing happened with the trainee that was living with my host family in Niquinohomo. He like Lauren just barely missed the cut off level and has to stay back another week. I don’t quite understand why Peace Corps is being so strict with this group because in our group there wasn’t anybody held back. In any event Alison and I are excited to welcome Lauren to La Dalia. I was joking with Alison that we just need a small business and an agriculture volunteer here and we’d have a whole set. La Dalia has traditionally been solely a health post I am the first TEFL volunteer here and Alison is the first environment volunteer in El Tuma. El Tuma is technically part of La Dalia but it’s more like a neighboring village 20 min down the hill since it’s not actually attached to La Dalia. Lauren however will live in the actual town of La Dalia and work at the maternity house with mid-wives there.
In two weeks is Semana Santa, Holy Week in English. It’s kinda like spring break in the States but with a religious twist. Here everybody usually just goes to the river and hangs out and swims. April is the hottest month of the year so relaxing at the nearest body of water is usually what the locals do. My friend Sara and I are planning to explore some of the natural reserves around La Dalia and then up in Estelí and surrounding area. Alison and I and some other friends were going to make the trip down to the southern part of the country to check out some islands and the San Juan River which is supposed to amazing with all the wildlife and jungle like landscape. However because April is the hottest month of the year here, Sara and I decided explore the mountains instead of going to the jungle where its certain to be hot and humid…my favorite type of weather.
Everything else is going pretty well just living the Nicaraguan dream haha. As some of you may know I have a slight addiction to peanut butter. My favorite lunch is a PB&J sandwich. I like the real peanut butter none of the artificial Skippy or jif stuff. I brought a 5 pound jar of Adam’s peanut butter with me but sadly it recently ran out. Yesterday as I was walking home from school I stopped by the open air market to find raw peanuts for sale much cheaper than the knock off skippy type peanut butter for sale in the supermarket in Matagalpa. I bought two pounds and took them home found a recipe for homemade peanut butter, which said roast them in then take to them to have them ground. Imagine that I would have delicious peanut butter in only a matter of time. However when I took them to have them ground. The ground peanut substance that came out was more the consistence of cookie dough than peanut butter. If any of my readers have any suggestions how to improve upon this please let me know.