Watching Karate Kid.
Dishing out gallopinto, salad and cheese.
The finished product of cake. I have never seen a cake that big with my name on it!
Tio Julio at the stove.
Handing out gifts.
Tio Juan Pablo, his son Pablo Issac, his brother in law Duglas...and Ryan.
Nadine and Verena at Juan Pablos.
Alex and I.
Karina and I.
Tia Maria Jose with Bryan and Roberto.
Bryan and I.
The Director, Yader, dancing with the kids.
Cake out of the oven.
Marlon being tranquilo, tranquilo.
Putting it in the oven.
Volunteer dinner complete with fish!
Eduardo making a print.
My buddy Bryan.
Traffic jam on the way to Sacramento.
The Church in Sacramento.
Marbely and I.
Brother and sister, Bayardo and Reyna.
Kerry with his art.
Roberto was very proud.
Brothers Alex and Juan Ramon.
Art workshops, organizing, writing final reports, movie watching and a special activity with my section filled up the past 10 days or so. I have learned a couple of things, which have been valuable. For example, to teach an art class, smaller is way better. Also, I finally feel like my Spanish is at a level at which it has not been before, and I have once again been reminded that all the little details that one can get wrapped up in aren’t that big of a deal.
Copy Machine Magic
I have much more control at the school than people have given me credit for. Why you may ask? Well, I have access to the only working copy machine on the entire property and probably this part of the Island. This happened by a stroke of God inspired events in which my little classroom is right next to the copy machine room. Teachers, the administration, other volunteers always seem to need copies, makes sense to me. What does that mean? That means I have learned its quirks and I have been called upon at 8 p.m. to make emergency copies. Anyway… I decided to use some of the magic a copy machine makes in a little art lesson for the little kids. They all gathered 5 or so leaves that they liked, we put them on the copy machine bed, and whalah! out came a cool composition that we then colored and was just theirs. We talked about the shape of leaves, how you can make interesting shapes with the leaves and sometimes when you add color to black and white it can make it the picture more interesting. It was a success, mainly because there were 8 boys rather than 35 kids. The copy machine also fascinated them all. The only drawback has been now that they have seen it in action, every little thing they find the urchins want to make a copy of it to see what it looks like. I can’t blame them.
Accompanying Santa Ana
Apparently, every year an image/statue of Santa Ana, the grandmother of Jesus, makes her way around the Island. Every Catholic Church receives the image, has a special mass, and then passes it along to the next church. At the end of her voyage there is a fiesta in her honor in Moyogalpa, the main port town, and that basically means a day off of work and school for the Island entire. No complaints here. This past week, it was NPH’s turn to receive and pass. The pass part though, was quite the hike. Sacramento, the next community, is very close, but its church is on the lake. So all the kids and everybody from Sacramento took the main road then the dirt road to Sacramento to accompany the image. It was very nice and I had a nice chat with my friend Marbely, but the walk was at least 3 miles round trip, Nicaraguan pace, so it took about 3 hours. All the kids were pooped, but it was a cool night. The little church at Sacramento is precious to say the least as well.
Obviously, Nicaragua has a deep history with Spain. Well, it continues here at NPH. A family from Spain has been here for about 2 months or so and is implementing a pretty cool project in which they are teaching the kids to grow their own plot of tomatoes and cucumbers. Then the kids are taught how to sell them and they receive the profits. Thumbs up on my end. The personalities, however, that have come to light have been problematic. I am being purposefully vague, but with the good comes the bad and there have been many meetings, strong discussions, and in my opinion, just plain wrong decisions. Simply said, their presence has been quite the hype. My hope is that things calm down and in the end people remember that the kids are what are most important.
The two new volunteers that have come in the past three weeks are very cool. Ryan and I have been wondering why they were not here before. Oh well. Marie, from Bordeaux, France has her masters in Wine Making and is very disappointed with the lack of wine selection here in Nicaragua. She’s here to perfect her Spanish so she can work anywhere that needs a French, English, or Spanish speaking wine maker. Pretty awesome. Because her English is very competent she has agreed to take over Ryan’s English classes, which is wonderful. Angie, from Switzerland, is the new nurse here, and is very welcoming and warm. The kids have already taken a huge liking to her. A new and third volunteer, Marilke, from Holland is coming at the end of the week to take over Carmen and my position. Lots of change here at the volunteer house.
Grandes I – Operation Special Activity
As sort of a Goodbye, Birthday, early Christmas party for everybody in my section we had a special activity on Sunday. We made a cake together, watched the new Karate Kid with Jackie Chan (pretty awesome movie) ate special food, and exchanged words of thanks and love. Making the cake was a gas. I had to make up my own recipe sort of on the spot because the kitchen ran out of butter, so we used oil instead and maybe too many eggs, but in the end it was good. The boys, though, had more fun cleaning than making due to the batter eating. In the afternoon we got the key to the nice visitor house called Casa Azul, where there is a full kitchen and comfy chairs to watch a movie. So I took advantage, and Tio Julio and I made gallopinto with salad, cheese, and avocado with pop too, of course. Later they gave me cards that I had to hold back the tears when I read and I gave them each their little gift of remembrance from me. It was very sweet and I was truly blessed with a lovely group of boys who in the past week have started calling me Tia (Aunt) Megan.
Although I know that the next 2 weeks are going to fly by I am determined to get everything I want in. Carmen, Angela and I have a little self-esteem workshop with the older girls at the end of this week. A piñata party is in order for two weeks and maybe some limbo too. I also have had the chance to make a couple of prints as a souvenir for myself. Every moment has a bitter sweetness that is expected with these kids and the relationships that have been formed. Ryan and I both have been sleeping like crap as we keep thinking about all the loose ends here and at home. We both, however, are excited for new chapters and memories from this one.