Monday, June 30, 2008

We finally leave our site!

We are in Managua right now, finally ... leaving our site. It feels great! We have a language training this week and get to go back and live with heathers host family in Carazo. That will be fun! Today is korys birthday.. not just his birthday but his GOLDEN birthday.. which means he is turning 30 on the 30th! Yikes! He looks cuter than ever! We are at the peacecorps office and have forgotten our camera card so I cant put pictures on. We will update more about this week later. We had a really great AIDS tournament and I will talk about it when I put pictures on. It was a riot! Well, update to come. Love heather

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Peace, Solitude and CRABS!!!

Well, Kory and I are settling in to a very slow paced and stress free life. Sometimes it is like time is standing completley still. Cheesy to say I know but its the only way I can describe it. So slow that you can conciously make every single choice of how to live or act and every word you say. Like slow motion. It should be quite solitary and annoying, but its strangley comfortable. Where to start for the week or two.. sorry about not writing last week. We tried to upload a video tour of our house. It took forever and then failed. Twice. So we didnt have any time left. Lets start with finding a crab in our house. It was a black sea crab for heavens sake! ¿Qué Diablo? It was purched on top of our back door. Ever stranger, the next day we found one dead in front of the house like it had slid off the roof.

This photo is on our anniversary with Mike another volunteer, while at a meeting in Matagalpa. We were on top of the building. Things here are looking INCREDIBLY green! You cant even imagine how lovely it is.

We have now recieved three long lost packages from my family. All containing seeds galore. I counted 69 total. Needless to say that I cant possible use them all so I am sharing them with the Casa Materna and some neighbors.. maybe. We have planted some randomley in our newly fenced yard. We had some chain link fencing kicking around in our house and we bought some pliers and kory spent a few days .. painful ones, cutting away until we were able to put it up. Now our yard is, hopefully free from pigs and lots of the chickens.. (whose presence I didnt mind that much as you could imagine. )

So we unlocked the secret of the CAMPO OVEN. That whole wood burning oven thing REALLY was a fracaso!.. (Failure) We are retarded at keeping it burning evenly and it didnt survive the first experiment. BUT, the campo oven, which is a big pot with a brick in the bottom.. I think I have already mentioned it, is a smashing hit. Here is korys first focaccia bread experiment which turned out to possibly be the best he´s ever made. It was so crispy and delicious you cant imagine what it is like to eat bread so divine after eating such a dull diet as rice and beans and beans and rice.

We also made soyloaf last night and ate it sliced like hamburgers. YUM! Also we tried making some granola.. mostly delicious, still waiting for moms recipe to come through. We plan on making a nice gooey chocolate cake next and some pizzas.
This is our little neighbor Adriana who is writing a letter to my neices and nephew so she can be penpals. We somehow.. or not, came to the understanding with her parents that she should be dumped off at our house every saturday.. I dont remember this but of course, who knows what I said that first month. Anyway, its not all that bad. She is really good and really smart and cute. She decided to have a penpal in the states. So to Anna, Enoch, and Julia.. here she is!

Hi. This is Kory. So I have been trying to get someone to send me a whistle so I could play it here. As many of you know, I am not a patient man. I found the measurements and instructions for building a whistle out of PVC pipe on the internet. I built one and it sounded like a recorder. Feo. So I doubled the lenght from the lip to the foot, which determines the key of the whistle, thus dropping it one octave, giving me a deeper, more full sound. I calculated the percentages of the length between the holes and bored them out with a pocket knife (thanks Clay Geilman). For the wooden plug, the part which fits in the front to direct the air across the lip, I used a branch from the yard which was quite straight and tapered just slightly enough to find just the right size. It actually playw quite well. I tuned it to a recording of me playing one of my low whistles in the background of one of Matt´s songs. It is a relatively pleasant low D whistle which cost me about 40 córdobas. ($2). (no Karol, this doesn´t mean you are off the hook).

Here are some more pictures of La Dalia (downtown). We are hanging some posters for the Billiards Tournament against HIV/AIDS. We have arranged to hold a billiards tournament with one of the local billiards halls. They are pretty seedy places in general. We are working to educate the at risk men in La Dalia about HIV. They don´t usually participate in anything where there is educational information so we have to go to them. Inbetween each game we will talk a little about HIV. During the final round, the two players have to anwer a question about what we have talked about. If they can´t answer correctly, the ball is removed and placed back on the table. In other words, if you don´t learn about AIDS, you can´t win. Our boss is coming up from Managua to watch it. It should be fun. This will take place this week on Friday.

Well, we hope all is well with everybody. Maybe we will be able to write next week. Monday (next week) we will be travelling and we will be out of La Dalia for a week during our language training in Carazo, so who knows when we will write again.

Also, I am very disappointed to hear about the new Indiana Jones movie. What´s with the new Hulk movie? Is that new Hulk, or Hulk again, or sequel or what is going on here? I can buy it on DVD for about 75 cents, but it will be a recording from the theater.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

¡Los Cuatro Años!

First, Heather and I have now been married for four years today! (June 11th). She is currently uploading pictures on the other computer to accompany her last post. I want to say that these have been the greatest years of my life and have no doubt that things can only get better with her. She´s my favorite.

I am feeling much better. Thanks for your concern. It started with an amoeba and the flu, then it was giardia, and finally a bacterial infection, all of which have exited my system. I feel much lighter though. Actually, in all seriousness, I am approximately 20 lbs. lighter than when I arrived. No, it is not entirely the result of my recent infirmities, but rather a combination of things. For one thing, everything in La Dalia is uphill from anywhere. For real. Those old men, you know the ones: not liars. There is no snow though. (But we have mud up to our knees).

The chocolate has come to a sort of a standstill. I tried a recipe last night and all I can say is that it made awesome hot chocolate, but the problem is this. In chocolate processing, the cocoa butter is pressed out of the chocolate to become cocoa powder for hot cocoa, allowing it to mix with water or milk. Ours still has the cocoa butter in it which means it stays separated, but isn´t necessarily grainy. Also, to make chocolate, the cocoa butter is left in, and in fact, more is added (from the cocoa that has been pressed) to help it be smooth and also to help solidify the final product. Anyway, the work continues.

Here is a photo of Heather and the environment volunteer (Sarah, or la Sarita) who works in La Dalia, in our back yard after much effort (possibly hours, I was drugged and sleeping at the time) showing their success at having turned a tire inside out for planting. I know it looks easy, but think again.

Otra cosa. Thank you all for your comments and e-mails. It is easy to forget how fast everything is moving in the states. Here, things are slow. For this, the five months we have been here, although at times seem short, are like a year compared to the speed of home. We really do appreciate you all taking the time to drop a line. We know you are busy.

Also, Kris, I am sorry I never wrote to you when you were in Tennesee. Kim, I am sorry I only wrote to you once when you were in Germany. Those were different times. I get it now okay.

We had a regional meeting today and received some packages and letters (sweet stamps Chad) that were mailed to us in February and April (during trainig). Our Project Director brought them up to us from Managua. Thanks!

Well, I hope the new Indiana Jones movie doesn´t suck. I didn´t see any dragons in it...and I´m not sure what that means.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Well what a week!

I came to matagalpa alone today. I almost got robbed! After I got off the bus I was walking in front of the market with my backpack on, I felt something and turned around to find a very small man unzipping it. I caught him red handed! Since he didnt make an effort to run, I decked him in the head with the backpack, full of books. I was proud of myself for hitting him. I wish though, that I had used my fist. It would have felt great!

Kory took a turn for the worse yesterday.. no he doesnt have cancer but thats what it sounds like doesnt it. I mean that he was treated for something nasty, the name of which escapes me right now, but it didnt help, so doing another test, this time pooing in a zip lock baggy because we have plum used all the stool/urine sample cups we had, the test determined an infection and he is treating with antibiotic. The humorous thing is that we are so much a part of eachothers lives now that we cannot be sick alone. If one of us is sick, the other one is too. So, I had sympathy sickness yesterday.

We had another banana tree down, unfortunately the only one with little bananas on it. Sad. The rain is turning down for a minute which we fully appreciate, but when its not raining, all kinds of beatles fly in our house. We have two kinds at the moment (and fyi all the chicharas have died, I have since found that the english word is Cicada just in case you know what this is). We have the Stupid Beatle- a 3/4 incher, kind of cute but really stupid. All beatles seam to be stupid, but this beatle has no redeaming quality. They are green and have huge butts. Next we have the Rhino Beatle- a 1 incher, black that has a rhino horn on the front. Its pretty sweet. Both beatles fly around until they fly into something hard, fall to the ground and knock themselves out cold for a minute, during which time they are scooped up in my homemade bug catcher and tossed into the rain.

I also found a big black leech crawling up my wall. And I killed two mice. Boy, you probably thought you would never hear that from me, but they are seriously a problem in the house. There is poop from hell to breakfast as some would say. I found they little cute poisoned bodies in my paper pile to burn, and threw them out into the streem. I do feel bad. Trust me.

This week we set up an HIV-AIDS billiards tournament. Kory went type the announcement up at our neighbors and he went completley nuts telling him how dangerous it is to go to a billiards hall. Needless to say the guy is COMPLETELY nuts!! Kory left without typing after an hour of lecture. BUT, we are very excited for the tournament. Its an opportunity to talk to men, which is a sect of the public lacking in health education since they do not come to the health center nor any other former trainings. It will be super fun! We will send pictures, and trust me its more dangerous walking on our street. Also we found an art school here that we will working with for fun.
We did an activity with our classes where they had to write 5 things about who they are, what kind of person they are and who they want to be and hand them in to us. Kory found this to be one of the papers the students handed in. It says :I want to be your lover, call me, you enchant me. Well. This is the second time kory has had teenagers ready to marry him despite me. Funny.
This week we also made a garden at the casa materna. We had to dig with a pick ax. It was fun as you can imagine. The seeds were sprouted the next day!
Thanks for all the people who responded last week to the blog! I really enjoy hearing from people that I havnt heard from in a long time. Em, I cant wait to get your package and hear your good news! I dont think we need any more seeds, my mom has sent us a buttload.

Well, I figured out how to make a campo oven yesterday and Im dang excited.
I couldt get my leña oven to work because people here can magically light large logs with no kindling. I absolutley cannot figure it out. So I figured out how to build an oven out of a large pot, a brick and my gas stove. I cannot attach pictures this week because our camera card now has a virus. So I have to see if I can get it burned before I erase it. Sad. I have some good ones fromthis week. Well. I must jet. love you all. heather

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hi. I ditched Heather today to come to Matagalpa. Actually, I am here to drop off a poo sample to the laboratory so they can check it and tell me what kind of animalitos are living in my body. Heather is feeling better and working hard in La Dalia. Thanks for the chocolate Teresa! However, since my family never sends me any mail, everything is addressed to Heather all of the time, and if I come here alone, they give me hell to pick it up. I had to take the slip and go get a srawberry soy-milkshake while I forged my wife´s signature on an official post office document! I may just eat all of the chocolate before I go back to La Dalia.

Anyway, all is well. Teaching in the schools is basically hell on earth, but managable. We have a big regional meeting next week (on our four-year anniversary!) where we are going to try to arrange to get free condom boxes for the bars and hotels arround La Dalia. We are supposed to promote condom use to prevent the spread of HIV but the "free" condoms in the health center are a real hastle to acquire.

As far as the rain, I have made a discovery. Heavy rain on a tin roof is only romantic in movies on Lifetime. In reality, it is more like a freight train driving through your skull, ... in a big hurry, ... like it´s late for the ark. ... yeah, Noah´s.

Speaking of Noah´s ark, any idea where I can get my hands on the plans, or at least a conversion chart for cubits? You know, just in case....?

Speaking of plans, I am working on plans to build a ceiling fan that is operated by swinging in the hammock. However, since I could see my breath this morning, I am in no big hurry.

Speaking of hurry,... just kidding.

Well, I hope all is well with the world. It would be nice to hear from some of you.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sickness and hurricanes

Well, as you know I became ill while writing the last blog and we were both sick all last week. The flu. Vomiting. Diarrhea. Bladder infection. Nausea. Fever. Chills. Skin hurts. World is sad. But the good news is that we are feeling better than ever.. almost. We survived our first hurricane. For those of you who did not know there was a hurricane in nicaragua.. because not one person seemed worried about us enough to even ask if we were ok, we assume you did not know. Dont worry. We did not live through any treachury. Our freshley washed underware that remained wet on the line, unsuspecting of hurricanes, for two days. We just had a crazy amount of rain. Its funny how the first day of the rainy season was a hurricane. We did have a banana tree down though which was quite sad. I did however take the opportunity to try out my new rainboots and machete to chop it all up and compost it. I also found that my machete sharpening skills were somewhat lacking. I sharpened it the way you think you should sharpen a two and a half foot blad with a small stone, not the way my brother taught me back in woodruff to sharpen a pocketknife. I think it takes a lot more time and patience. Kory took the machete out immediatley looking for a branch to chop to make a pullup bar. Our crazy neighbor Enicifero was over the fence yelling instructions for him. Since we can never understand him, and other nicas cannot as well, we just laughed. We did make out that he was saying ¨hard, hard¨! We thought that was obvious. We are thinking of asking him to show us how to sharpen the thing.

Im including some pictures of some activities we did with a youthgroup out in the country, and some of the murals we have made that are in the Casa Materna.

Well not much to add this week. No crazy cooking adventures this week, we only ate white bread and crackers.

we miss you all. Spencer we will send a picture of our bathroom where we spent lots of time. Sorry for the disruption of service!