Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chagüitillo, Nicaragua

I'm here...finally! I'm in a little internet cafe surrounded by the northern Nicaraguan mountains. There's an Eskimo ice cream store accross the street and my 89 year old grandma's house is just down the road. The street (yes...there is only one actual road here) is dirt and rocks. And everyone knows eachother. It's awesome. Pretty much everyone here is family. Everyone's family lives with everyone else. The best way to describe Chagüitillo is as a tiny revolutionary commune. All the teenagers walk around in Che Guevarra shirts and hats with a single star on them. And there's fresh fruit juice every day. There's also fresh coffee. When I say fresh, I mean that my grandma roasts the beans in her yard. It's that good. I'll run through what I've been doing REAL fast and what's been going on and what the near future holds.

I was in Managua for only 2 days and we visited all of the sites that everyone goes to see (and the ones I visited on LASP...it made me miss you guys a lot). We had few conferences and charlas (short talks) on history and economy of Nicaragua. Then we went to the coast.
We were in Pochomil for 4 days (I think). It is soooo hot on the coast. We were sweating all day and all night. We had some relax time and some conferences and stuff. Oh! We went to Masaya (an older town about an hour outside of Managua) before we went to Pochomil and did an activity on what it might be like to live on $2 a day. We were given $2 and sent to the market with a ficticious family situation. We had to get food, medicine, and school supplies with $2. Needless to say, someone's needs were missed. It was powerful, and I'd like to write about it, but that's for later.
After Pochomil we were eager to get to our homestays, but the 3 of us in the northern region of Nicaragua had to wait. I stayed the night at our program director's house and talked with her children and had good times there. The next day we packed 7 of us into the Kia Sportage (it's totally normal for us to put 7-8 people in a cab here) and went to a restaurant for a meeting, and then the 3 of us and 2 supervisors set out for the north. After 3 hours, we got to one site in Estelí. Then we set out for Chagüitillo. We got here at sundown. There is another intern here in this town with me. We'll be working on separate projects, but it's good to speak English now and then. We went to our family's houses, and finally...I was at a house. My family here is super nice. We "have" electricity and water. The water goes out pretty often and the electricity is sporadic. I've taken one regular shower since Friday and the rest have been bucket showers. I've played 4 pick-up games of soccer, watched a lot of the Euro Cup (Go Spain!) and eaten mountains of rice. I've ignored roosters and had to move to the side of the road so the cows could pass. I start actual work next week. This week is getting to know the community and the organization. I'll be doing a lot of work at a farm that the organization owns. Tomorrow I get to go see the petroglyphs (cave art wall drawing things) that this community is known for. There is a lot of poverty here, and I'm still internalizing it while I'm getting over culture shock and getting accustomed to speaking and hearing spanish all the time again.

I love you all...and I think about LASP so much while I'm here. I love you mom and dad!! =)

-Joel

7 comments:

Swigz said...

Joel! That's awesome, man! I'm wicked excited to see that things are going well, though they may just be beginning. I'm excited to see your progress :-)

Be safe and keep us posted :-)

Jon

Anonymous said...

Joel! It's Paul! Great to hear everything is exciting for you! I am keeping you in my prayers for all that you have to do and keeping you safe.

It's been too long that I haven't seen you! haha, Enjoy and don't do anything I wouldn't do!
Love and miss ya bro.

-Paulo

Leah said...

Oh, mi amigo! Te quiero! Now, should I use Spanish, or English? That sounds so exciting! You know what? I kind of miss bucket showers. However, if I were to do that here, I think the neighbors (who pretty much hate us) would take pictures and black mail me! haha. (Y todo la gente que lea esta está pensando, quien es esta chica loca? jaja). Entonces, fui a la iglesia y todo? Fuiste/Vas al restaurante nico en Managua también? No recuerdo el nombre... el restaurante con el jugo extraño! El jugo morado! ja. Ok, ya esta tarde, entonces, me voy. Buenas noches y cuidate!

Anonymous said...

ay mi joelito...

sounds like you are having an amazing experience! i'm so happy for you! try not to miss lasp too much. i miss you so much, but i'm excited to read everything you're doing down there! te extrano!

-amie.

Kerry said...

Im not going to lie...I didn't read all of that post, but i read most of it. Summer = lapse of any intelligence i may have once possessed and lack of literacy skils. You were in my dream last night.

What i did read, it sounds awesome. Im so jealous, especially about the fresh roasted coffee. You have such an amazng heart and have been given such an incredible opportunity. I know that you will do amazing things and be changed for the better, as if you could get any better.

When you get by, ease your shock by immediately coming to my starbucks where i can charge you 6 dollars for a drink. I hate working for the man.

Hannah S. said...

Joel, this sounds incredible. I'm crazy jealous of you, but I'm so happy for you because you're perfect for this. I can't wait to read about the awesome things you do and the awesome people you meet. Have fun, be careful, blah blah blah. We all miss you here in Nashville.

Anonymous said...

pure life man, pure life
-jarret