Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rótulos Milton

Well, enough about us. Let's talk about, ... well it's just us. Us, us and more us. For this, I make no appologies. The fact is, if you didn't care about us as much as you like to pretend you don't, you wouldn't be reading this. I know, I know. The title of the blog may be a little bit exagerated, since not all of our adventures are amazing, but you are, in fact, reading it. I also make no appologies for this since you, the reader, will likely have had a hot shower either sometime before reading this or will have one shortly after. By shortly I mean within five months of course.

I made an airbrush yesterday. You can't put me in a third world country, take away all my toys and tell me not to play. I built this little bruiser out of an old ink jar, a radio antanae, a bit of bamboo and a piece of tubing from a broken iron. What you can't see in the photo is that the other end of the tube is connected to my mouth, making my lungs the air compressor. The advantage of this is that I can control the air pressure with my mind instead of buttons and levers. The disadvantage is that my air compressor is encased in a broken rib (the tragic result of playing soccer in a muddy field against fast little kids who have eaten, breathed and slept soccer for their lifetimes, in a pair of plastic-soled street-purchased sandals). Every breath is agony. I am now working on some various tips to refine the spray. I am making them from tapered metal writing pen heads.

Rótulos Milton

Here is a story for you. A friend of ours, María (name changed to protect the people who have never used the internet or a computer and will never see this anyway), sells tacos. Actually, she makes tacos and her sons sell them. Lately the taco market has dropped through the dirt floor and they can barely eat. Her eighteen-year-old son is a bit of an eighteen-year-old. By this I mean that work is for other people who don't have important social lives. He was a member of our Art Club we started when we first arrived here. He has also been participating in a drawing class I have been giving and an English class. The kid has talent. He just needed some direction. Well, I helped him to start his own business. I helped him with the capital and I am overseeing the financial part and guiding him on the creative and p.r. parts. The business is that of making signs. Sounds simple enough, but this is a resource strapped country and sign making generally consists of the person in the house who knows how to write misspelling two or three words on a piece of paper with a pen, which is then glued to the front of the house. The thing is, there are so many home businesses that are unmarked because of this system. We started with a sign for his mother, which was free, to have a sample to show when looking for clients. She repairs clothes, in addition to making tacos. We decided to advertise for her.

We made the sign using used clothes (some of them may even be yours!) because it is cheaper than buying fabric. We can buy used clothing for ten to twenty-five cents U.S.$ per article. "María" now has over 2,000 córdobas of work to do (about $100, also known as enough to live on for a month or two).

With photos of this sign we moved on to other clients. More used clothes.

We have a Mill sign to make this week and a background to paint for a local photo joint. Milton is learning how to balance the expenses and the income and calculate his profit, fifty percent of which automatically goes to his mother as rent, food, etc. I am really proud of him and his work. After a couple more jobs I will step aside and let him run things.

One night while working, he brought a picture of his head and a catalog for clothes that he had cut up. he said that the body on the picture had been damaged and that he just needed a new body to save the photo. This was the only body in the catalog that was the right proportion to his head size. His intention was to have me photograph it and he would have it printed at the photo store to replace the old (skinny) one. Notice the giant sports bra behind him! He wishes! Hilarious. Enjoy this taste of Nicaragua!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Matt and Brooke

Well our friends Matt and Brooke came and went in a torrent of great fun.When they got here we brought them immediately to our site and we made it just in time for them to be the final exam for korys english class. We made beans and rice and homemade lemonade. Kory did show and tell with all his awsome inventions but in fast forward, knowing we were going to leave again early in the morning. Some of the boys from our church came over to pick out a tie that they brought (thanks to all who donated by the way).
Anyway, they came officially to film our training that we did for youth. We (9 volunteers from our region) were given money to do a training for 4 kids each from our communities.Please note the awsome mural kory made in the background, that later served as a backdrop for the photobooth.We spent 2 days in Estelí talking about all kinds of things related to aids. Thanks to some awsome and creative volunteers (also known as Matt and Jess) we stayed up ALLLL night the first night (I want to note that I had to get up and leave on a bus at 5 am and then I stayed awake until 3 am. Suckk!) but it was actually really cool. We called it a lock in because they all had to stay and participate. We had a mini casino in which we showed them the odds of aquiring an STD if they didnt take protective measures, we did a condom water toss, a mural, olympics, a fashion show, a photo booth... TONS! it was exausting and well executed. Matt and Brooke filmed the whole thing and did interviews with lots of people and hopefully will be able to edit us a nice few films.

After all the work was done we brought our kids back to our site, leaving just enough time to allow M & B the pleaser of chopping down a banana tree with ripe bananas, and the next day got on yet another bus to Leon. Leon is a pretty Tuanis (cool) city here in Nicaragua and we walked around for the night. It is also one of the hottest places on earth.. or so it feels. I think the matt and brooke almost died. Us desert dwellers, we cant live well in the humidity. Kory went on a shopping spree of used clothes and the next day we were off to the ocean. Brooke said.. ¨now this is vacation¨ and boy was she right. We had worked our tails off and spent about 18 hours on buses during the week. So we sprung for a couple of $20 bungalows that on high tide were about 20 feet from the water and relaxed. We were going to go and do turtle patrol all night, we even bought flashlights, but then it started to rain and we couldnt do it. All in all it was a great vacation. For more info on the matter you should check out matt and brookes blog and matt and jess´s blog. (see right hand column.)
I just want to add a special thanks to all the people who helped donate stuff to send for us. We have been having a ball with it. Eating gummy eyeballs, chocolate, and other delicious unmentionables. With the spices mom sent I whipped up a VERY convincing and delicious vegetarian sausage for my cookbook and some banana bread as well. The ties and clothes have been extremly valuable and the books as well. THANKS SO MUCH! It should be known that no peace corps volunteer is complete without the support of friends and family. Knowing that I sound like a complete idiot... you are the wind beneath our wings. hehe. Thanks agian. We love you all!PS, this is the traditional nica photo we took in front of two backdrops, please note the dirty door. LOVE IT! (sorry I couldnt turn it on this program... but it adds the nicaraguanness of it.)