Disclaimer: These are our personal thoughts and opinions; they do not represent the beliefs of the United States government or those of the Peace Corps

Friday, February 14, 2014

The last few months, in pictures

November and December was a time for graduations....
Sixth Grade Graduation, Haulover Public School

First Graduating Class of Pearl Lagoon's Private School, FADCANIC PLACE
Then Christmas was upon us....
My host family getting ready to go to White Christmas service

Christmas service in the Moravian Church
New year's eve day was spent relaxing on the Pearl Cays with volunteer friends...
One of the many small islands that make up the Pearl Cays

Our own slice of paradise

A monster starfish!
On the road, post-New Years...
The often overlooked beauty of Boaco

Boaco, Boaco: The City of Two Stories

A rice plantation in Walter Acevedo, Rio San Juan

San Carlos, Rio San Juan - The Nicaraguan New Orleans

On the Rio San Juan, heading to Sabalos for an eyecare brigade

Cacao processing center (the trays are filled with newly dried cacao seeds, on their way to becoming chocolate)

A cacao tree (those fruits contain columns of cacao seeds, enrobed in a tangy, white flesh. An open fruit looks somewhat like a soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone)

El Castillo, Rio San Juan

January was a time for first birthdays!

Jancey turned one on January 10

Lexie turned one on January 17

...and I helped bake the cake
Now that I'm in my final weeks of service, life has been more about paperwork and medical exams than about work and time spent in-site. I'm finishing up projects, starting to give away my things, and saying my good byes. While the next six weeks should prove to be extremely busy, I'll keep updating you the best that I can as I finish my more than two years spent in this beautiful, sometimes frustrating, but always fascinating country.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Delayed in so many ways...

Once again, apologies for a long hiatus in posting. My site has been experiencing frequent power outages and loss of internet (what else is new?). I've also been traveling quite a bit, so I'll be sure to put something up about that soon. However, I'd first like to share a post written by my lovely friend Wendy, who visited me a little over a year ago. Wendy is a busy girl, but she finally managed to send along a post for me. Which then sat in my email box for a few weeks, unread.

However, now that I'm in Managua for my final medical exams (only seven weeks of service left! can you believe it?), I also have constant internet access. So without FURTHER delay....

Wendy and Ted’s Adventure in Nicaragua

Nearly a full year later, I finally get my act together to pull together a little post on my trip to Sara’s casa in Nicaragua with my husband Ted. I am the worst friend ever in terms of returning blog posts (and thank you cards) in a reasonably timely manner but if you need a care package full of chocolate and tampons, I am all over that! I know how important it is to have chocolate (and tampons) around when you need ‘em. Priorities. :) 

We visited Sara in late Jan./early Feb. 2013 when she had just switched service and home locations to Pearl Lagoon. The goals for our trip were straight-forward - check out Sara’s new digs, travel around the country a bit, and get some sun and forced relaxation time in while Boston was in the throes of winter. I look back on our time with Sara in Nicaragua very fondly - we had some laughs, only a few tense moments (e.g. chocolate massage with a blind masseuse), and we enjoyed meeting Sara’s family and friends thoroughly. But you know what? Pretty pictures can tell the story so much better than I can (sorry, all photographic evidence of any chocolate massages have been destroyed to protect the innocent) so here you are; enjoy the trip down memory lane with me! 

Day 1 - Bluefields

After purchasing brand-new backpacks (like the ones often bang into me on the T toted by some oblivious 20-something during high-tourist season in Boston) and figuring out to pack them (FYI, it’s a challenge to fit in more than a pair of shoes with all of the other essentials you have to include) + a relatively short and uneventful flight, we arrive in sun-soaked Bluefields! 

Hola, Nicaragua!
And we promptly enjoyed the local refreshments. (Hey, buster, the face is up here.)

Day 2 - Pearl Lagoon
We weren’t in Bluefields for too long before we were whisked away to Pearl Lagoon by “panga”! Pearl Lagoon is an idyllic and peaceful site with gorgeous views of the water. We walked around the community, saw the school and mayor’s office, visited the health clinic where Sara works, and met her friends and family along the way. At nights, some of the locals would leave their doors open to invite both visitors and the occasional breeze.

Zico ain’t got nothing on coconut water straight out of a coconut. Back Bay Yoga, are you reading this? If you’re selling coconut water out of a coconut, then maybe I’ll cough up the $3 that you’re hawking your drinks for.
And we also got to accompany some doctors from Cuba and local nurses on a home visit where they berated/admonished/advised a patient to take certain precautions during her pregnancy. No offense taken on the patient’s end, however, since we’re pretty sure she didn’t really understand the rapid-fire Spanish instructions that the doctors were giving her. Brownie points for good intentions though.
Can you spot Sara? I promise you she’s in this picture.

We also visited Awas, a Miskito community - an indigenous, beautiful but poor community.
Can you guess what type of bird this is? Hint: it starts with an “e” and if you’re as much of a city dweller as I am, good luck (nope, not a clean pigeon).
Day 3 - Pearl Keys
Yeah, this was worth the scary-as-hell boat ride out to the Pearl Keys, a series of small, mostly untouched islands.

Our fearless captain.
Day 4 - A blur of buses with Rama somewhere in between …
Traveling from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, you could really see the country transform from humid tropical rain forests to a dryer, mountainous landscape.

Day 5 - Granada
A city full of colorful, colonial architecture, volcanoes, horse carriages, and rum-soaked cigars!

There was some pretty cool art in Granada!
A symbol of the revolution.
Days 6 and 7 - Rivas and Playa El Gigante
Two full days at the beach - no wifi, no TV - just sun, sand, water, and some rum. 
Ted almost picked up a job at a little surfer shack!
Did you know you can get all this for 150 cordobas (~ $6 USD)? A feast of a giant whole fried fish, salad, plantains, rice and beans on the beach. $6 will get you 1.5 Starbucks drinks in the states.
Day 8 - Masaya
We did a little shopping in the artisan market in Masaya.
Why didn’t I go for a chicken purse?! Looks like plenty of room for my laptop!
Day 9 - Managua
And we wrapped up a great trip with a visit to the local Peace Corps office. 
Thank you, Sara (and friends), for an amazing time and for showing us a beautiful country!