Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Before we start with pictures and fun, I would like to share that we have our plane tickets and we will be returning home on Friday the 26th of March at 830 pm! So get your party ready cause we want to see you ALLL!!!!

In other news, I will be paying the final payment to the contractor to finish the PARTNERSHIP project in 1 hour! He finished 1 week early and did a really great job! I am sooo incredibley pleased! One of the midwives said, ¨It feels like we are in a different country!¨ (That is a nice compliment considering that nothing is ¨pretty¨here.) I made a 7 hour trip yesterday to tell the lady at the nursery that we wanted plants. There is no cell phone reception up on the mountain and so I had to go and tell her in person. It was a trying day. I will have to make the trip again on the 2nd so I can pick up the $13 dollars in plants that was included in the project. (yikes) She asked me why I dont buy more so I could make the trip worth it, which miffed me. But what can you do. We are planning the inaguration of the project for the 4th of february and on the 3 we will spend all day baking breads to share at the party. I hope all works out nicely and that they are impressed by the breads enough to want to bake them and sell them. Thanks to all who donated. I will be sending or bringing home gifts for you from the women here. I just have to think of something cool to do. I will post more pics when we get more plants!
In other news at church our womens group had an activity where we learned to cut hair. I was worried that noone would come, and then the 1 sister I asked to come from Matagalpa and teach us, brought 4 other girls and we had a blast. Hardley anyone dared to try it out, but two of the young women here went right home and proceeded to give their sister a major haircut that was pretty bad. hehehe.
Also I taught the women in the casa materna to crochet the other day and when I came back on monday they had made a WHOLE bunch of little things! I was pretty excited!

ps, I got bit by a dog last week and forgot to mention it. It was all due to the maldito gato. Its probabley better that I did get bitten or my peacecorps service wouldnt be complete. Now I feel like I can come home. It wasnt too bad anyway.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cats, birthdays, progress and homecoming plans!

Well, I (Heather) turned 31 on saturday and it was pretty ordinary, but its good to be alive! Kory and I have started a ritual where you have to earn your birthday or you dont get to add another year of maturity to your life. So on your birthday you must justify it. I won´t bore the general public with details, but just suffice it say, that I indeed DID turn 31 and am proud to be 1 year more mature.In other news, we now have our 3rd orange kitten, who after many days of failed namings and deliberation was given the name Sidecar. Yes sidecar.. like a sidecar on a scooter. Its the best we could muster Im afraid. We dont have any idea what to do with him before we come home, but he has the best spots ever and a really cute face with green eyes, so that is winning him some possible ¨bring home¨points. We have to look into the process first but we will see.

As for the projects, I am happy to announce that both of our big projects and our radio show are going well. We have transfered management of the radio show to a local organization called Rainbow and are now just sort of watching to make sure it continues. We had a meeting with the team of charlas listas yesterday in Jinotega and you can see that the Nicas get pooped out a bit after lunch. Panchita on her cell, and ohh, Kory appears pooped out too. It was a difficult meeting but we left confident that we could leave on the date we had proposed, so we will almost officially be planning on coming home on the 26th of March! So get ready...

My project at the Casa Materna here in my site is going swimmingly as my sister would say. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nada es fácil aquí

Well, we have begun the project at the Casa Materna La Dalia that some of you contributed too. I had the ¨pleasure¨and duty of buying 3 8¨ tubes of PVC piping for our underground gutter. The guy at the hardware store here in La Dalia said, ¨sure, I will have it before you get back from vacation.¨ Then when I came back, he said no, but that he would call again. I waited another few days and passed and he nonshalantly tells me that they didnt have any. So the next day I go to Matagalpa to find the pipes, determined to bring them home before the weekend so that on monday we could use them. I spent the ENTIRE day, working through miscommunications and lies trying to get these pipes. People here say things that they absolutley dont mean or check on. So when I would call a place, they would say, ¨yes we have them.¨ Then after walking for half an hour to arrive at their place, they would go and check and, ¨oh, we dont have any, they are 6 inches.¨ This happened numerous times. I almost didnt make it home that night, but by a miracle and a last minute phone call, I got the pipes ordered and promised for saturday arrival. Well, they OBVIOUSLY wouldnt arrive on saturday, because that would be way too reliable. Then, I was promised monday before noon and ended up waiting until 530 pm and I went home. He called me then and said they would arrive at 830pm and I said fine but I wont be there. I had to leave for managua at 4am the next day so it was in Korys hands. Well, they did arrive and Kory tells me they are already in the ground, so now I wont even get to see them!

It´s a humbling experience to have to fight so hard for every little thing. It shows how difficult it is to get things done when you are poor. On the way home from Matagalpa that day, I was feeling bad, especially because my bus didnt stop for me, but stopped only at the top of the hill and made me run to the top, but I got on. I was standing watching a couple seated with their three kids. When the money collector came by, they didnt say anything when he asked for money (which is the nica way of communicating that they didnt have any money.) He charged a few other people then held out his had and the couple again didnt do or say anything. He finished with the back of the bus and then came back. The man spoke in a very quiet and humble voice that I couldnt really hear but he never made eye contact with the money guy. Finally the money guy just gave him their tickets. I was instantly put into perspective. I had spent the whole day trying to find pipes so I could spend 2700 cordobas when this family did not even have the 22 cordobas for a bus trip. I was reminded that I am here to experience life as they do and that I was ok and I even learned from the experience. I will not take for granted all the available things at home depot or having a car to get there and the ability to pay for things. Anyway. So thats an update. I will soon be puting pictures up so you can see the progress!

Just so you know, if all goes well, which we still dont know if it will, we will be coming home in 11 weeks! Right now the date is the 26 of march, but that could VERY well change as our charlas listas project is NOT progressing. Well. pray that it will.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Well, we left the 26th of december to embark on our last vacation before the end of our service.. and probably the last vacation for a few years. Dont worry, we were NOT big spenders, we spent less than $20 a day on food and all fun items. Our hotels costed between $15-25 for the both of us except the last night we splurged on a place with a mirror, it was a nice place for $50. Ok, now that my financial justification is complete, I want to say that it was a great adventure. When we first found out we were going to nicaragua, I put a picture of Big Corn Island up on the blog to represent Nicaragua. (Feel free to flip back.. its kind of cute.) But we finally got clearance from the embassy to be able to go there. Its two little islands in the Carribean, that are serviced by La Costena air. A tiny airline. Here are our boarding passes. And here is our tiny little one-prop plane. We unexpectadly got the best seats.. of all the 12. We sat right behind the pilot so we could see everything. I thought about my sister the whole time, knowing how much she would have enjoyed it.
Here is the first sight of the island from the captains windsheild as we decended. We later sat on that dock (the little one on the left, watching the planes land. See below.)

At first it was hard to find a clean beach.. being Nicaragua and all. We walked around the entire island the first night. The next day we found this pristine beach where we layed on the dock all day.

We had always wanted to get scuba certified, and we had heard that it was really cheep there, but we didn't have it in our plans until a guy at our hostal said he just finished and that it was pretty easy. So we decided to give it a go. We did a discovery course, wherein if you liked it, you could go on for the next two days and finish the course. The first time I went down, I couldnt equalize the pressure in my ears and it hurt like the devil. I ended up not being able to decend all the way. I was frustrated and almost quit. But kory had the time of his life in those 45 minutes while he waited for me to decend with the instructor, so he convinced me to try again. I figured out eventually that I was doing it wrong. The next day when we went out, I went right down, 10 meters with no problems. It was great! The first thing we saw when we got down there was a giant brain coral.
Here is kory watching the video and studying for the test.
This is us with two other peoples in our class and our instructor Julian. A hilarious french guy who made everything lots of fun. Once when we were down, we started kung foo fighting, but it was like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style because we were flying through the "air". I think Kory is going to be seriously addicted. I liked it too, but got pretty nauseous on the boat. Im super glad we did it though. It made this trip salvaje!
Next we took a boat out to little corn island, 45 minutes of terrifying and drenching adventure. I really thought we were going to be turned over in the waves. We cought air several times and I was dripping wet. On the way home it stared to rain and we held a black plastic cover over us to keep "dry". It was quite crazy. anyway, here is a sandy christmas tree we made to bring in the new year. I know I look terrible, but I was without a mirror for the whole week and in and out of the ocean was unbecoming of me.
That night, on an island so small that there were no motorized vehicles, only wheelbarrows, we became part of a huge party with people from all over the world. Kory was quite social and built a huge bonfire with a guy from South Africa. We tightrope walked and ate a coconut and even danced!
The next day we set to building sand sculptures. This is a very nice sea monster out of a bamboo root. Kory also started making these sand balls and placing them all over. We spent a good few hours doing this. It was very relaxing.

This is our little bamboo hut hotel on the beach of Little Corn.
We found lots of sea treasures and lugged them all home. Here is a nice sea sponge. Below is a pile of conch shells. They were like garbage littering both islands. We brought one of those home too. I dont know if it will make it back to the states, but I hope so.

We slept A LOT during this vacation. MMMMMMM...

The last night when we came back to Big Corn, we stayed in a nicer hotel owned by some Italian people. They were very nice. They told us how the great great great grandson of captain morgan (a notorios pirate, in case you didn't know, who frequented these islands) was the owner of the big house we had seen. They said he was very piraty, which means he probably deals, not in gold, but gold "dust" if you will. They said that there are lots of drug busts, but the dealers just dump the cocaine into the sea (because it is cheap in Cuba). It is usually well packed and floats so when the sea is very choppy and its windy, people often find big packs of drugs. That is why lots of people on the island have nice houses. They find drugs! anyway, it was a good bit of story to go along with the island.
(This is not a pictuer of the great great great grandson of captain Morgan). Well, we are eager to get back to work on our projects and feel sufficiently refreshed enough to do so. So keep updated about the progress, especially those who donated.

!Feliz Navidad!

Well, as you can see, we had a wonderful Christmas. I think the concensus is that it was much better than last year. We decided to do a Christmas Eve activity with our church, so Kory and I put together some ideas and this is what we came up with. We started off by gathering all kinds of stuff around the house that we won't want to take home. Little stuff. We wrapped it up with newspaper and painted a sacko red, attached a letter from Santa Clause in glitter with golden ribbon (sounds like no big whoop to us, but these are kids and adults who never never had a present given to them like this, especially from santa clause.) We spent the morning of Christmas eve making a sort of wasail that didnt use any apples because there are none here. We used pinapple, oranges and limes. Kory made a star that lit up with an old flashlight led piece, and some wings for an angel. Then we decorated the church with a manger. I (heather) had written a small play for the kids and we gathered all kinds of towels, pillow cases and old sheets, then we dressed them up. The poor little guys got really hot waiting for all their late parents to show up to the play. They did a great job, and Korys puppet narrated the whole evening. It was very cool. Then at the end, we sang here comes santa clause in english and we heard a "ho ho ho, feliz navidad" outside, and when we looked out, there was a big red sack full of gifts. But santa had written a very cool thing. he said we couldn't ask for the presents, we had to pick a present, unwrap it, and gift it to someone in the group that would want or need it. We got to go around several times, but by the end, nobody could help saying, "mememe! give it to me!", so we stopped the game. figures. But that doesnt mean we didnt have a great night. I don't think anybody liked wassail. They had never had hot drinks that were not coffee, and it was also, a really hot evening and because it had pineapple, which EVERYBODY knows, you should never eat after mid-day. So .. We still have quite a bit to drink. Kory loved it. But it was sooooo fun for us to prepare surprizes, which to me is the funnest part of christmas. So we went to bed with dreams of sugar plums dancing in our heads and we woke up and low, sant had visited us too!
Kory got a new hoodie and some SUPER cool jeans, mountain dew and doritos. Heather got a cute new jacket and a darling little necklace with a hand carved turtle in it. Kory also made me a little wooden turtle out of bamboo. Its on a stick and the legs move. Its very cute.
Now the thing that really made Christmas, the best, was the food. We decided to have lots of yummy food to graze on all day. We made homemade soynog, which was WAY better than the real eggnog I made last year.
Now lets see, we had vegetarian chicken salad sandwhiches, coconut burfi with chocolate, a VEGETALBE TRAY WITH RANCH dip!, chips and salsa with real mozzerella cheese, and homemade yogurt cheese with peppers and spices. It was AWESOME. The only problem was eating it all in one day, being that we were leaving for the Corn Islands the very next day. But we were very very blessed this christmas to feel the true spirit. So we hope you all had a MERRY CHRISTMAS too!