A view of the Central Market from the outside.
Again, the fishy part of the market!
Life here in Nicaragua is taking shape now more than ever. I am sorry that this entry is so delayed. The internet has been down and out lately. I received my 25 students to work with individually, got things organized, visited Granada during break, and have a full weekend of activities ahead. I find myself quite tuckered after the day, but it is a good feeling to be working on what I am here to do.
Aula de Recursos (Resource Room)
I am the official Resource Room teacher for the primary grades. This past week I began working one on one with students at the teachers’ recommendation. While doing many simple math problems, sounding out words in Spanish, and doing coloring worksheets, I, too, have been learning a lot. Some of the kids come in at age 10/11 and have never been to school. I look forward to seeing them hopefully progress. I find myself sort of shooting in the dark when it comes to ideas of things to do. Bringing a mini whiteboard and some markers was a good thing and planning a head of time is a must. Copies are at a premium so we use a lot of scratch paper. So far all I know is I have so much to learn. I do realize, too, that in order to have the same position in the States requires one to have a teaching certificate. Here an art degree and somewhat broken Spanish works just as well I guess.
The colonial architecture of Granada was a wonderful visual treat. Set up in the grid system things were easy to find and remember. It is one of the more popular tourist spots and we spotted many fellow travelers. It was fun to get a nod from almost every white person as if we are apart of one big not so secret club. J We stayed at a hostel near the center of town just a hop away from the crazy Central Market and Park. Now, I can say I have been to my fair share of grocery stores and open air markets in my lifetime, but nothing compares to the endless maze of tomatoes, fish, yucca, sparkly sandals, laundry soap, rice, strange cheese, dress shoes, phone chargers, pirated DVDs and anything else under the sun in Granada. The once beautiful building spills into several blocks of crowded and sometimes smelly mayhem. It was exhaustingly thrilling to see. We spent many hours people watching in the central park and saw some of the more affluent side of some citizens. I have decided that one of my favorite groups of people are the older men, dressed well, who sit in the park and talk for most of the day.
After Granada we went to Catarina, which is a small town on the other side of a huge lagoon separating the two cities. The view of the lake, lagoon, and Volcano Mombacho is spectacular and not very well mentioned in the guidebook. It reminded be a bit of one of those Tuscan villages, Nicaraguan style. We also discovered that Cacao is a refreshing drink of ground up cocoa beans and milk.
I have not mentioned yet the ferry one must take to get on and off the island. The Isla is about an hour’s ride away from el otro lado (the other side). Ferries run frequently depending on the strength of the wind, but like most transportation here, it can be a bit of a run around. Five different “ferries” take the normal route. Three of them are sort of small and ask for a vomit marathon. The remaining two are fairly large, my favorite and cheapest is Ferry Che, which has a large portrait of Che Guevara. Sometimes the ferry changes when it chooses to leave, but it is pretty reliable. It is also a great chance to see who is coming on and off the island. Usually there is a group of tourists, but it is nice to see the real, non-kid crowd that inhabits where I live.
La guerra de los sexos (War of the Sexes)
Yes, here on NPH property we have had a two part series of War of the Sexes. On the past two Wednesdays for two hours we have displayed that yes men are from Mars and women from Venus. It was great fun to watch. Ryan was able to represent his team well. In the end the boys took the crown, but in my opinion there were too many relays…after awhile we lost our spunk. What was hilarious to watch was how every result, no matter how obvious, was argued about. The boys would get all huffy if the girls answered the riddle correctly and make accusations. On the same token, the girls would scream and argue when the boys clearly won a race. Good to know some things don’t change across borders.
Ash Wednesday has come and gone and now we are in the 40 days of Lent. For the ashes here we of course had an hour and half long Mass, where I still have not gotten the hang of The Lord’s Prayer in Spanish. While sweating and sitting, I began to contemplate if I wanted to give anything up as I have in the past. Still, I am not sure. I could give up my weakness of trash TV, but we don’t have one. There is always chocolate, but they don’t sell it here. When I called my grandmother on Valentine’s Day this past weekend and I realized how much I missed talking to her weekly, when I think about my Mom’s food, and when I hear about my friends getting together for a beer I realize I am not able to be around some of the things I love most for more than 40 days and that is enough for this Lenten season.