a small villiage of 40 houses in the department of matagalpa!! i am going to be working in four comunities all with a few hundred people.. i spent last week getting to know my site and talking with the members of the community.. there are 4 kids in my new family.. i am extremely excited.. but the place is quite poor.. its a new villiage and there are not a whole lot of resources available.. ill be riding one of my dads horses from place to place for work.. right now.. all the women in the communities are really wanting improved stoves and ovens so that is what it looks like ill be doing to start my service.. right now women and young girls are cookng in the house and the smoke from the fire lingers throughout the house all day.. this is creating respiratory problems for everyone... what ill be doing is constructing and teaching the construction of stoves and ovens that are more efficient.. smoke will go directly outside and the amount of wood used will be at the least cut in half.. this will help with the nearby deforestation and erosion problems as well!... there are few goods able to be produced within the community itself.. with the ovens, women will be able to make much more food inmuch less time and possible start a business selling rosquilllas.. little corn snacks that are popular with coffee.. or anything else that they desire..
i live next door to the teacher of the primary school and she is thrilled with my interest in 1 a school garden and 2 painting a world map... a school garden and compost will be a very easy way to teach kids about how to grow different vegetables and what is needed for constructing a patio garden.. also.. once my spanish improves i could talk with them about environmental processes and possibly teach a science class once a week! wishful thinking for now... withthe world map, some kids know where nicaragua is but many do not.. and giving them a picture of the world, rather than just latin america, they certainly wouldnt be able to find nicaragua.. nicaragua is roughly the size of iowa and is the largest country in central america.. when i show them iowa compared to the size of the states in general.. they are in awe.. some kids.. especially in rural areas would have trouble naming a country outside of costa rica, honduras, spain and the us.... anyway.. incredible opportunities to help shape the minds of kids and give them a better understanding of the world we live in..
there is a seed bank that is already underway amongst local farmers and they really want my help with simple mathmatical help and organization when it comes to meetings.. a seed bank is like a cooperative where every group member decides he or she is going to donate a manzana of land worth of beans or corn to a community pile.. when someone is short on seeds or cannot afford to buy seeds for a season becuase of too much rain or too little from the previous harvest they are able to use bank seeds to plant their next season.. whatever is taken out must be repaid within the time set by the group.. plus interest.. which is also determined by the group.. it is a very good way to enable people helping people but like any system, if abused will fall apart.. anyway very motivated people so my job will be quite easy.. i have a counterpart in an agricultural organization here... inta... and she is going to be great help.. she is very educated with all of the farming problems and what to do in most situations as well so i could not be more fortunate for that..
other possible opportunidades include starting a tee ball league, holding classes for mothers about nutrition, general hygiene especially with teeth, construction of buildings for comunity gatherings, and much more that im sure will come as relationships form..
there is electricity in my site although it goes in and out.. i have cell phone service but there is no running water.. a latrine for the bathroom.. and a community well with 2 showers for the community to share.. becuase there is no running water most of the women are good at walking with 5 gallon buckets balanced on their heads.. to and from the well to their homes.. although this is awfully hard work..it definately adds a social element to the villiage that those with running water do not have.. everyone is extremely friendly in the streets and often times youll have 2 or 3 conversations within a 50 meter walk.. its common for kids to be barefoot.. although most have access to boots.. when all of us play soccer the boots serve as shoes and shin guards as well ha .. for entertainment kids usually take turns racing eachother up and down the hill in front of my house while hitting a rusted rim of a bike tire with a stick all the way... my house is brick with a tin roof.. soon to have a hammock as well as a gift of thanks from me!
everyone in my community is very catholic.. and theyre thrilled that i went to a catholic school as well.. the second day in my comunity i went to mass and the homily was changed to thanking me and welcoming me to the community.. that night.. after word got out that i was in town.. i was eating my usual rice and beans for dinner and i looked up and must have seen 12 to 15 little kids peering their heads around the doorway and windows to catch a glimpse of me ha... most were shocked and some brave enough to talk to me but most ran and came back after i resumed eating.. the next day most were drawing pictures in my notebooks and leading me by my hand house to house to meet their friends.. they also loved to take me to all of thier favorite places to hang out .. like special rocks or trees and tell me about shortcuts to get to and from homes.. there are many fruit trees and kids are always looking for friends to go eat mamon with.. one little kid named william.. thrilled that my dad has the same name ha.. took me up to a bean farm where we talked about the comunity, ate fruit, and looked over all the hills to see mountains in the background.. incredible views..
i couldnt feel more safe and taken care of in my site.. at the meeting where i met all the members of the seed bank they spent a little bit of time bickering about why i was going to live in one community for the full two years.. they all want me for 6 months each.. ha.. after a little more discussion my host dad.. valerio stood up and said this kid .. 22 years old.. has left his family everything he knows to come help out the people of our communities.. he barely spoke any spanish coming down here .. the least we can do is make him as comfortable as possible and let him make decisions about where he is going to live... about that same time my brother.. johnny gave me a pat on the back in sign of support for me and there wasnt another word spoken about where i should be living..
i couldnt be happier or feel luckier with being placed in pueblo nuevo.. it is perfect for me
the closest town with internet is atleast 25 to 30 minutes on a bus so i imagine once a month maybe twice will be the max with regards to writing in this blog.. however, i am writing in a journal so that i am able to remember everything and when i do have the opportunity to write it will be packed with information!
hope everyone is doing well! take care
love you all,
ha.. (nica name)