Saturday, September 26, 2009

The great DONA

Well, we have found the Casa Materna to be in a financial pinch lately, suffering because the economic depression has trickled down to the NGOs and other funders here in the small town. It is also in between harvests. We just had the corn harvest and the coffee harvest.. the big daddy is about a month away. So there is little money to be spent on pulling out that old rotton moler that has been bothering you for so long, or buy some things at the store. (Which are by the way two of the things the casa materna has done to help make money.) Anyway, Kory and I decided to paint this mural to help call attention to services that they offer. While kory was painting on the finishing touches, I heard the sweat screaming sounds of a 3 year old having his rotton, sick, black teeth being pulled out. Ahh the sounds of progress.

Well after a super hard week with a sucky neighbor making lots of trouble for us here in our site, I was gifted with a house full of loving friends, who had come to help make donuts (or dona as they call them here) for a wedding. While we cooked, Kory entertained all the kids with tricks. It was 3 hours of fun and fat, we made 84 little donas and dipped them in chocolate. I felt very blessed this day to see that I still had friends and that they were willing to give service for someone else (the couple getting married). It was fulfilling in a deep way.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wheels of progress...

Well, we havnt updated the blog in a few weeks. This is very sad I know, but its because we are busy, which is happy. I dislike being idle. I will make a small account of what we have been doing. We went to Jinotega a few weeks ago to review our big Charlas Listas project with the bosses and they loved! This is good, but we only got half way through. So we need to go back and review the rest. Then we have to have them translated into a language called Misquito. This will take a lot of work. We are also compiling activities you can do to teach each topic. But the bus ride to Jinotega is one of the most beautiful in the country and we stopped on top of the mountain to buy vegetables and get some bids on plants for the garden in the casa materna.I (Heather)also finally learned how to make a few things with corn. Each year when they harvest corn, they make all kinds of different things with it. Things made with fresh corn smell and taste very sweet and delicious. I had been waiting through 2 harvests for someone to teach me how to make these things and had not had the opportunity until the other day. This is called Atol, and it is a pudding made with the fresh corn. Basically you cut the kernals off of the cob, and then have them ground into a paste. For atol, you add a little water to the paste and mix it good, then you strain it through a cloth. What you get is some delicious corny flavored liquid and REAL cornstarch! Its crazy! Then you just cook it until it thickens with a little cinnamon, then add milk and sugar. It is steller. The next thing we made was GuirĂ­llas, which are sort of like tortillas but they taste sweet. These are one of my favorite things to eat in all of nicaragua. And when the guirĂ­lla ladies get on the buses and the whole stinky bus starts to smell like sweet corn.. mmmmm!!!!! They are served with cuajada, which is a simple crumbly salty cheese. Anyway, to make them, you just take the ground, raw corn and spread it into a griddle full of melted butter and then turn it over after it cooks on one side. I was hoping that someone from Utah could try this with your corn there and tell me if it works. I know the corn we have there is A LOT sweeter and may be too different to make these, but they are sooooo delicious, SOMEONE should try this. I will for sure when I get home. This is our reading group. It was a smash hit the first week, but the second week it started raining and only one person came. Ahh nicaragua. Today we will try again. I really hope this works, we are going to try and tempt them into good attendance by rewarding them with a party and some cool t-shirts. They can at least all identify letters and such, but they cannot read well. They are all women from our church, and it is hard to teach them in church when they cannot read. Anyway, as literacy is part of the womens organization of our church, AND nicaragua has an outstanding history of literacy programs, we decided to jump in. During the somoza period, the sandonistas held literacy classes in hidden places at night to try to help elevate the people. Then when the sandonistas came into power, they made a program where they sent all the young people in high school out to the country to teach people to read. Today, the highschool students all teach people in their community. Its pretty cool. The only funny thing is that each year after they complete the literacy course they declare their territory ¨Free of illiteracy¨ which is a complete joke, otherwise they would not have to continue year after year. Hehe. Here is one of the signs-Kory has been working very hard in our back yard this week. After giving a charla about mosquito control in a rurual comunity, he learned that MINSA will fine you for having too much growth in your yard because it harbors mosquito larva and snakes. We have been fighting the nicaraguans about our yard grouth for a long time. They think it is a barbaridad, but we LOVE it. BUT, now since we could be fined, and seeing as how we dont want to be causing mosquito problems, kory sharpened the macheti and went to work. He battled against this big.,. no, huge beehive that was in our lime tree. He had all kinds of schemes to try and smoke them out including homemade darts, levers, smoke rings, torches etc. Finally he got them out, only being stung 4 times which is miraculous, and cut the branch down. The next day we went to harvest our limes before our neighbors did, and found the bees busily rebuilding. Horrible little creatures. Why cant they be cool bees, that give honey? Anyway, we got the limes and found that we had lots of bananas growing too. The next day kory build the COOLEST rake you have ever seen out of bamboo. I love that kid. When my sister came, she said it was like swiss family robinson, and its totally true.
Yesterday was the 14th of September which is Independence day here. They always do this big old presentation in the stadium. The highschool kids practice their drums for about 2 months before, tossing aside less important topics in school like math and reading, and pound the SAME rythms every second of every day. Every little child, aspiring to someday play the drums, gets a stick and water bottle or peice of metal and pounds endlessly the rythms. It really makes you want to die. Being as how whatever happens outside, happens inside, we had to tell our little neighbor boy Yader, last night, from our bed to be quiet. He was on the other side of the wall and had been pounding for about 2 hours on a plastic bottle. Anyway, the actual presentation is pretty impressive, and makes you real proud to see all your students, and littel friends out there dressed all nice and in all kinds of silly uniforms and dancing, throwing batons and playing drums. There were tons of people.

In other news, my grandfather passed away a few days ago. This is very sad for my grandma.. I think. I have been trying to call her for two days and have found her phone line very busy, true to her cute gossipy self. Anyway, he had lived in a nursing home for many many many years and i hope he is free and happy where he is. As for us, we will continue working on. Thanking God every day for our health and energy and being able to be in this wonderful difficult place, learning and learning and learning about oursel