Friday, November 28, 2008


Home.. Do I mean Utah or Nicaragua? Im not really sure myself. All I know is that we were there and now we are here. Safely back in Nicaragua after visiting home for a gluttonous week of nothing but food and family. We are fat.. well, some of us are, and here that is a complement. Anyway! We wanted to say a special thank you to all of those who helped us out, lent us a car, came to visit us or stayed up late with us. We are VERY sorry that we didnt get to Gramercy... so sad, but we were pretty packed. Dont think we dont love you gramercy peops.. we do!

Sorry that this is the only photo. there were many many many mishaps with discs and computers. We are not acustomed to all this equiptment and technology, so we had a frustrating week that way, but are glad to have had access.

Well, we will hopefully be starting two murals this week, making progress on our national HIV/ training at the army bases, progress on our national casa materna charla project which heather has temporarily named "Charlitas Listas" (ready made discussions), and starting a community bank with a group of women in a rural community. A community bank is when the people get together and save money every month for a series of 6 or 12 months, and they borrow the money and pay it back with interest, and then they all divide the interest at the end of the period. They learn about saving, about the strength of community and gain access to funds that they would otherwise never have access too. We are just learning about it ourselves and have to teach it! Yikes! Well. Thats the lowdown. We would like to

Sunday, November 23, 2008

home sweet home, from heather

Hello all, I would first like to apologize for not having pictures, our card reader was ripped out of the computer and ruined. We were foiled by our own efforts not to forget the reader and leave it at an internet cafe. BUT, luckily we are here on american soil. Utah. Frost, brown, family. SUV's, cars, wide paved street. No potholes. Mormans. Weddings. Family again. Food. Thanksgiving. Good smells, good hot chocolate. Moms. Sisters. Pedicures. Nieces and nephews. English. Friends. And its like we never left. Like that little cement house somewhere in central america where kids are constantly peering in our window and giant cucarachas navigate the dark, is all a dream. We feel quite disconected from it all. Its as strange as we imaged it to be, but perhaps we will be renewed and ready to work "nuevamente". Holy cow i cant spell in spanish here. Wierd. Well. I will add more pictures later. love heather

Sunday, November 16, 2008

wembly out, family in

Well. A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. Heathers friends and family have all chipped in to buy her a ticket to come home with kory for karols wedding and thanksgiving. You are all so incredible! Thanks for this gift. As for the darling wembly, he had to find a new home, and fast. In one day heather called all the volunteers near us and found it a home. Luckily because of the elections and violence in Managua (I say luckily tongue in cheek because there were two deaths) we couldnt travel for a while and therefore wemblito got to live with us for 3 weeks. He was absolutly adorable and we loved him to death. He lived on heathers shoulder when he was not trying to get warm behind the fridge. If he wanted up on our shoulders, he would cry and cry and cry like a baby and then mount us like a rock climbing wall. He cried so much that he had wrinkles under his eyes. UGGGGGGHHH how sad! Can you believe heather gave a kitten away!

Well. Having said that, we are daaaaaannnnngggg excited to have a break from nicaragua(ns), and have some comida rica, homestyle. Food, Kai, other neices and nephews, family and friends... here we come. (ps, kory wants me to identify myself.. heather as typing this blog)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Los Gringos del Gato

That´s how it goes Matt. Notice it is singular. Gato.

Well, here he is. Of course it didn´t take long for Heather to meet, fall in love with, purchase, and at last pledge her undying love for, a cat. We found an orange one for her, which she has always wanted. I guess the orange fellas get lost and starving and wander to Heather´s doorstep in Woodruff often enough for her to have had one by now. Allow me, if you will, to introduce Wembly. Yes, like the fraggle. Doesn´t he look like a fraggle? When he is in trouble, which you can imagine is almost always, his name is Wemblton. When he is cute, which I´ll admit is also almost always, he is Wembles or Wemblito. He is the most codependent animal I have ever met. He is so needy and cuddly. It is quite cold here right now as we are in the middle of winter, and when we got the cat he was so malnurished that he has really thin hair and is tiny. He is about 4 months old! Tiny.
We will see how he holds up. Or how we hold up.
I will probably be doing most of the blogs from now on because with Heather´s church calling she usually has meetings after church and we still don´t really come into town on other days. I will try to be fair and express her honest thoughts along with mine.

Today is el Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. This is a heavily celebrated holiday in most of Central America. It is kind of the Central American Halloween counterpart, except there are no cute kitty cat costumes and princesses. In Mexico people dress up as skeletons and parade around, for example. For those of you who know what Halloween is to Heather and me (Which reminds me, we will have no more talk of Halloween candy on this blog. Thanks. Just kidding, we love to hear about all of the yummy things that are available there) you can probably guess that this holiday is one of those events in which we have always wanted to participate. However, much to our chagrin, Día de los Muertos here is a lot like Memorial Day. People visit the cemetary with flowers. That´s basically it. What a drag. Happy Day of the Dead

As I said last time, we have been having some adventures around the house, partly because of the rain, and partly because it is about this time in our service that it is normal for us to be completely disenchanted and utterly frustrated with our work and Nicaraguans in general. This makes for a lot of time in the house and what we call "secondary projects." Here are some of them:

Flat Stanely.
We recieved a letter from my nephew Braxton a few weeks ago. In the letter was a paper cutout of a person colored with crayons. His letter explained that in school he was learning about the world through Flat Stanely. He sent us Stanely to photograph in various Nicaraguan activities and send them back with the cartoon. Here are some of them:
Stanely and the neighborhood kids
Stanley and a neighborhood chancho (pig).
Stanley and a view from the calle.
Stanley and "deme una foto" Anger in the market.

The cabana.
Remember the Indian queen pagent that I got to judge? Well, we went to the school a couple of days after the event. They had also built little huts from which to sell traditional foods. We used the oportunity to carry several tens of pounds of bamboo back to our house. It nearly killed us. We used it first to build a lovely cabana off the back of the house on the patio. We have yet to acquire any palm leaves for the roof, but it is in the works. Here is a picture of "Flat Stanely" helping out.

The tools.
Bamboo is a very useful plant. We have also taken some of the smaller pieces and carved some candle holders (vital since we only have power for a few hours a day right now, and rarely at night), chop sticks, wooden mixing and cooking spoons, tortilla flippers, and marshmallow roasters (we are going to make smoors tomorrow on the wood stove with marshmallows and these lousy cookies that have some chocolate frosting on one side, yikes).
Heather has the memory card with all of the photos on it so I am hoping that she gets done with her meeting and gets here with it soon.

We may not be able to check the internet for a little while because next weekend we are being put on "stand fast." This is the pre-level one security stage which means we can´t leave our site in case they need to consolodate us. This is because the Mayorial elections here will be taking place on the 9th. The Sandinistas have a tendency to get a little rowdy if they don´t win, or in the process of making sure they win, or when they win,...whenever. This shouldn´t be a problem for us because La Dalia is predominantly Sandinista. Which means for the few Liberals there it is sort of like being a Democrat in Utah. Not gonna happen. (In case anybody has not heard anything about Nicaragua since the 80´s, the Sandinistas are just a political party which happens to be in power. They are no longer a rebel force fighting the army and killing gringos.)

Our site-mate Sarah, the environment volunteer, is going home this week as she has completed her service. Here is a picture of Sarah, Wembly, Heather and me celebrating Halloween with some carmel popcorn and glow in the dark vampire teeth! Bye Sarah.