Tuesday, April 28, 2009

La Tormenta

Well, it has been rainy here for a good week and rainy season doesnt start for another month. Things are still going well for us, except for our maldita computadora (excuse the language). But, hundreds of dollors and a new hard drive later, we are still having problems when we format discs and save things wrong like a couple of idiots. We went to a long awaited meeting with our team of professionals in matagalpa to revise our charlas and when we got there, the pcs would read our jump drive because it had been formatted on a mac without telling it to cross platform, and the day before that we saved over a file that newer than the one we were saving, so we lost an entire days work. Ya know, stupid stuff that makes you laugh and vomit at the same time. So we are plugging along designing. So far this week, so good. Here we are posing for a couple of drawings for the Personal Higene Charla. How it works is that we shoot photo references and then kory draws them and colors them on the computer.
Yes, I know we are allowing you into some things you may not want to see.. but at least we are fully clothed, which will not be so in the drawing. Im showing that women should wipe from front to back, kory is supposed to be peeing in public.. which of course, we DO NOT recommend. I know your probably grossed out, but you have to be very very straightforward when you are educating here. The pictures must be very clear because they are for people who cannot read. Maybe I will share the drawings with you too in the future. Today we are finishing our fourth charla out of 11. We hope to have them done by the beginning of august. ¡Ojala!
I took this picture of this beetle a fews weeks ago, but I am not sure if kory elaborated on it. It flew into our room one night and was crawling around on top of our mosquito net making a horrible ruccus with those giant 8" in antlers (together they measured that) so, judging by the barbs on the antlers, I didnt want to chance getting up in the night and having fly at me. And, not knowing about any of the bugs here, I felt I had to get him out. But I ended up spraying him with cocroach spray which was against my personal morals and especially emotionally painful because he screemed for a few hours and didnt die until like 24 hours later. I dont think I will ever do that again. I tried looking for info on bugs to see which ones really are dangerous, but couldnt find anything. Anyone know what this is and if it was dangerous? Im quite sure I have seen a speciman at hogal zoo.
This kitty is my neighbors 5th kitten since we have lived here. They all die. Unfortunatly im becoming quite attached to ¨Tigre¨because he comes over all day and pick the flees off him and clean out his ears and give him a snack and cuddle and then send him on his little way. Im quite sure my heart will be broken by the death of this little guy. One day I went out on the street and the little neighbor kid handed the kitty to me and said, ¨Eva, he is your same race.¨ I thought that was really funny. We do both have similar color hair.
So we have weekly baptisms in our church here and this missionary was here for 12 weeks. He always reminded me exactly of my (heathers) brother. Isnt it crazy? (For those of you who know what my bro looks like). They baptize in the river near town that is soooo contaminated.

I included a picture of how people who live near there wash their clothes. You can see the stacked up rocks, that are white with soap. Its really a hard situation because really these people have nothing and no way to not wash in the river.
Speaking of hardships, this week I have been visiting a lot of people from my church. And being really close to them and in their homes, the realization of exactly how much I do have is a reality for me again. This reality comes in waves and then goes away when I try to ignore it. It is so overwhelming. What is really frustrating is that there is virtually nothing I can do. I can change anyones life. I cant favor one peson when EVERY SINGE PERSON here is in such dire necesity. I wish I could. Heres a list I had at the end of saturday:

Jessica who is pregnant had her here electricity line ripped down by a drunk driver. She has no electricity, and no job and needs $200 dolors to fix it. Her pregnancy is also high risk and she has to do another ultra sound in may which costs about $7 that she doesnt have. She will also have a cesarean section.

Lizbeth is a 21 year old mother who lives in a shack of wood that is crooked and falling. It is divided into two rooms, the living room, kitchen and the bedroom. 7 people sleep in this house. Her baby has a baaaaaad case of scabies (I think that is what it is, but I hate to diagnos .. not being a doctor or even a nurse) and she has been to the health center several times and nothing works very well. His feet are covered in scab and pustuals. And it looks very painful.

Karina is a 15 year old mother, and the daughter of Rosa, one of the midwives at the Casa Materna. They just built ahouse out of sticks and plastic. It has no electricity or water. Her baby has a horrible skin infecction of unknown type and he has these big oozy blisters all over his body. He just got this a week ago and she said he crys until he throws up. She has also been to the health center for help. They said it would go away. I personally think it could be because they bath in the little stream that passes through our property and is full of garbage and black water from everyones shower and laundry and litter. Rosa recently fell and hurt her leg. he hobbles around with an umbrella and a broom.

Kenya has cronic arthritis and cannot affort asprin or tylonal or ibeprofen.. any common medicine that might help because she doesnt have the money.

Zaida and Juaquin are a great and smart couple. Juaquine hasnt been able to find a job for months now.

Esperanza cant find a job, she sends her son to sell stuff (unknown) at the highschool between class.

Soo, as you go home as I did this day and looked at all the peices of colored paper that I had just to use whenever I wanted, that my family so lovingly sent us, or the extra blanket we bought, or the pictures we had printed to remind us of home, or the extra 3-4 spoons and forks we have for when guests come, know how we are so blessed. You dont know what poverty is until you realize the absence of any material item inside a house. A dirt foor, a table and absolutly NOTHING else. We are all so blessed. I pray to be able to find a way to help my friends here and others in a way that will continue to give for their whole lives, and not just fix the problems they have today.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Well, I hadn´t checked their blog for a while, but I was sitting at the computer and had already deleted the junk mail from all three of my email addresses, so I thought I would have a look and see what was new in Nicaragua. I typed in their obnoxiously long blog address (three times because I miss-typed one letter of like 40, twice)...reminded myself to bookmark it so I don´t ever have to type it again, and waited. Finally the page opened and low and behold there was a new entry. I could tell right away that Kory wrote the entry (even though he usually leaves the heavy writing to Heather) because he never starts his blog entries with things like "Well, I hadn´t..." Anyway, this is what was on their blog:

The first picture was a little bit strange. I expected to see photos of pregnant people or jungle plants. Instead it was somekind of construction equipment on a dusty street. I assumed it was Kory and Heather´s street, but I hardly recognized it for all of the construction and dust. He said that the government was working on developing the street. I guess down there they just start tearing things up and mixing cement in the street. They leave the bricks all over the place and people sneak out and steal them while the workers are on lunch. It is strange how people try to develop their country while consistently shooting themselves in the feet. I don´t know how those two deal with it. Kory said that they are pouring a sidewalk that will cover half of their front gate, which means they will have to open it inward and will have neighborhood kids level with the kitchen window. Sounds fun.

He was somehow able to avoid mentioning the fried macintosh that has put an abrupt halt to their work on the Familias Mejoradas project. It must be really hard for Kory not to gloat over Heather about how Macs "never crash or have problems." He´s a bigger man than I. To be quite honest I was hoping to see a picture of Kory unleashing all of his fury and throwing the bloody thing out into the street, right into the cement mix where it could be a semi permanent addition to barrio Las Colinas ( I say semi-permanent because apparently the cement that is mixed on the dirt of the street is not very stable and will likely deteriorate before the paving stones are laid in the street.

Then there were some pictures of them on a journey to visit the farm of a friend out in a community called la Esperanza. It looked like fun. I bet it reminded Heather of Woodruff, except that there were banana trees. There were even some shots of La Dalia from a distance. In one of them I think Heather was supposed to be pointing to about where their house is. Kory told the story of how when they got there, there was a big sow, or mother pig, in the process of giving birth. She had already dropped two little piglets and had three more stuck in the uteris and couldn´t get them out. Doña Isabel, a nurse from the health center wrapped a plastic bag over her hand and went in. I will spare the gory details but the effort failed, (even after she tried it without a bag) and pig and its babies were condemned to death. They eventually decided to bottle feed the two that had come out and try to save them. Knowing Heather, I´m sure she had a part in the lobbying effort. Afterwards they helped to extract the rusty seeds of ajoche from the pods. A messy work. Kory played some cards with the boys and that was that.

He mentioned something about Easter and an Easter egg hunt he sent Heather on and that was the end of the entry. Pretty boring as far as blog entries go, but since I was sitting there at my computer, which works, in a developed country thinking about all of the stuff I could buy for myself, I felt obligated to have a look and at least give it a read. I like to see what they´re up to anyway. I bet they sure miss their friends and family sometimes and it made me think: maybe I should get my friends and or family together tonight and order a pizza or something, because we can.

Anyway, I hope next time I check out the amazing adventures of Kory and Heather, Heather writes the update. Something nice about pregnant women and church activities...

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Lord Giveth and Lord Taketh Away....

So, I, (Heather) won teh biggest Peace Corp honor that can be given! The highest honor possible in a volunteers life! (Ok, maybe im exaggerating.. but still) Meet litte Eva.. my namesake! (In case you dont know, people here know me as Eva because they cant say Heather)... This baby was named after me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This week I was also passing the Health center and found this girl, Gladis who had been in the casa materna for a month. She was very smart and good to have in charlas. She also asked me questions about sex.. which of course, makes me feel good that she trusts me. (Besides thinking I know a thing or two.. hehe) She had been there for almost 10 hours in labor that seemed mild and was only dilated to a 3 so I told her I would come back with some food in a little while. Meanwhile a pregnant girl from my church sent her sister over and asked if I could make her some lunch as she was on bedrest and also that she was feeling a little worse. I got the midwife from accross the street and headed to her house. She was showing several signs of danger and so we made her go the health center. So I was bouncing between Jessica and Gladis. Jessica turned out to be fine and went home after the doc told her not to worry. I was with Gladis and she had like 4 bad contractions and then she said go get the doctor. The doctora was bouncing between two women in active labor adn a guy in the emergency room. So I didnt want to bother her if gladis was just in a lot of pain, but gladis, being a 3 time birthgiver said, yes she was ready. When I came back we walked her to the trusty birthing table and the head was already showing. The doctor hardly had time to strap on some gloves and she ruptured the sack that was showing and found that little Eva had pooped already. She told me to run and tell the ambulance driver not to leave yet because we didnt know how she would turn out. So I ran to the other side of the building adn arrived just in time to tell him to hold on. I ran back and the head had already came out. She pushed little Eva out and that was that. Eva was healthy. The doctor washed her off and kicked her off the table so the next lady could come in, which she did and gave birth right then. They always just leave the baby in the bed until the mom comes but I took her out because it was about to be occupied again. So I was the first person to hold her. I also got to dress her because Gladis didnt care. Then I asked what she was going to name her and she said "Evita" and I said "Really?" And she said that she had thought about it already. I didnt really think she was serious, but I suspected she was because Nicas dont joke that much. But when we came back the next day to take these pictures she said it was true. Can you imagine?!!!! Bomb!!

Here I am making butter in a jar in a hammock. I had wanted to try making butter but cream is scarce here. Then I thought that I should ask the ladies that sell milk out of their houses if it comes with creme on top. Turns out yes it does, so I bought some and decided that I would try it out. We have a blender but its the weekest little tuffer youve ever seen so I doubted its ability. I was remembering an activity that I did in Utah history in like 5th grade where we dressed like pioneers and walked around the school ground. But we had some cream in a jar and had to shake it all day and we had butter at the end. So I put my cream in a jar and sat in the hammock and shook for like 5 minutes and wam blam thank you mam! BUTTER!
Here is a baptism I attended. It was really pretty down by the river but you couldnt pay me to get in there with all that contamination.
Here is a member of our church posing for one of our charlas on personal higene. We will be explaining how germs are passed so we need to draw up some examples. This was my favorite. Although I still havnt posed yet for the one that says not to urinate near the house. .. I will be posing for that one.. No you cant see it.. well... maybe.
We went on a trip to matagalpa with some people from our church. 4 1/2 people threw up at one point during the trip. It was a challenge. But very nica. We will never forget it.
And what with all this wonderful news could possible show what the lord has taken? First our computer is broken, which is the most important instrument to our project right now and also we had a real tragedy this week.
We were at the internet cafe by our house the other night and we heard that someone had drowned. When we left we saw a group of people gathered watching them load a body covered by a sheet on a stretcher onto the back of a truck. I was saying how sad it was. But it wasnt until we walked a block further and were chatting with a neighbor that she told us the name of the girl. It turned out to be a girl that had been in our radio group last year. We were absolutly sicked, especially because we had seen her that morning. It never occured to me that it could possibley be her, even though it was at the house that she worked at that we saw them loading her body. She had gone swimming in the river and had drowned almost immediatly after she got in. People were attributing it to holy week (because everyone goes to the beach or the river to swim adn there are hundreds of deaths in the country every year).. but it wasnt holy week yet. It was just sad. Needless to say this put the computer thing in perspective for us. Im greatful for all of you whom we love and for my husband and the opportunity to be here. So many blessings. No need to sweat over the dumb stuff.