1 Year in Nicaragua

November 1, 2011 3 comments

I am back in Canada again for a short stint.  Today is my first year anniversary on arrival into Nicaragua, and ironically I am spending it in Canada.  Since November I have learned a lot as a person, and seen many things that were very difficult.  I realise that I am a lucky person, and I know that there is much work to do to accomplish what I strive towards in Nicaragua.

I got sick when I arrived back in Canada a few weeks ago.  My body simply shut down and became sick after stopping and getting some prolonged rest.  I was sick for just under two weeks, and had lots of time to think about things.  Everything about Canada is different when compared to Nicaragua.  I realise that we have it quite good in Canada.

Some differences that are quite profound between Canada and Managua are as follows:

  • No need to constantly look down while walking.  It is uncommon to find holes in the streets, or sidewalks, or protruding pieces of metal, garbage, etc.
  • The amount of sidewalks in Canada – you don’t notice them until you have to do without them.
  • The beautiful parks we have – not so many nice parks in Managua, and the majority are littered in garbage and dangerous at times.
  • The ability to walk around at night – In Managua, it is not always wise, or safe to walk around at night.  Trusted taxis or rides from friends are preferred ways to move around.
  • The vast amounts of recreation available to the masses – In Managua, we have a few choices of fun things to do – seeing a movie, eating out, drinking a beer, going to the gym, and going to swim…..that is about it.
  • Availability of good cheese, meats, breads, etc.
  • Availability and variety of restaurants – there are handfulls of good restaurants in Managua – but the ethnic food (Chinese, Indian, Greek, Thai, etc.) is sorely lacking
  • Multiculturalism – the vast majority of foreigners in Nicaragua just there to work, or volunteer.  There is not much diversity in the ethnicity of people living in Nicaragua – In Canada that is never a problem.
  • The weather – it is crisp and cool outside now in Canada – I miss 4 seasons.

These are by no means a knock on Nicaragua, but sometimes it is good to get a break, and get back to Canada in order to appreciate what I never appreciated before.  A few trips to Canada a year, can refresh and renew my outlook on life, and get me ready to contribute more effectively in my endeavours with SchoolBOX.

 

Categories: Nicaragua

Mice!

May 12, 2011 2 comments

I woke up this morning, and to my delight found that my mango laced trap contained a mouse.   I disposed of the mouse in proper fashion as well.  The glue traps do not seem to be working, they just seem to be picking up bits of hair and dust.  I guess that is what you need to live with when your doors and windows are constantly open.

The fumigator came today, and fumigated the house again with some special rat stuff.  Hopefully it works, as he said it will take 7 or 8 days to see results.  We will see!

Categories: Nicaragua

Mice and mangos

May 10, 2011 5 comments

It has been a while since I have posted a blog.  It is getting difficult to find time to write about things once you get into a routine.  Things are going well in Nicaragua.  There is a lot of different and interesting working going on at SchoolBOX (www.schoolBOX.ca), and in March I moved into a new house.

This house has all the amenities that my other house did not have – windows, and 24 hours of water!

In our house we have visitors of all sorts:

  • Ants
  • Geckos
  • Flies

One visitor that we cannot seem to get rid of are mice.  A few weeks ago I was forced to kill a small mouse.  The mice seem to be living in other houses and go through the tunnels under the houses.  This morning we found one running around the kitchen.

In the evening, we went over to the supermarket and bought glue traps, and mouse traps.  I laced these traps with delicious mango.  Hopefully the mice will find this enticing enough.  We will see in the morning if the mango did the trick.

Categories: Nicaragua

World Series Game in Managua

February 7, 2011 1 comment

The posts have not been coming so quickly as in previous months.  Things have got very busy at work, and other things are taking priority.  I will try to make a point of getting more posts up, as it acts as a sort of digital diary for me, and it serves as a medium to let my parents know I am still alive, or not in jail.

I attended a World Series game in Managua.  It was Game 2 of the World Series, and I went with three friends.  We got the second best tickets for $C100, which translates into about $4.50.  The best tickets were $9 and they were in the open bar zone.  That seemed a little dangerous on the 35 degree day with no cover.

I must say that the game in itself was a crazy experience.  I have never seen a baseball game in Central America before.  The game itself was pretty standard, but the atmosphere was an event in itself.

I have pieced together some photos of the event so that I could do it justice

The stadium was almost full. The game started at 11am, which is quite early, but later on we would realize that it started this early, so that the crowd would not get rowdier.

When you think of typical baseball food in North America, we think of hot dogs, nachos, fries, beer, etc. In Nicaragua, there are some of the same elements. The major difference between the food here is the chaotic nature behind the selling. There are bbq stands everywhere, and people throwing up cans of beer into the stands. I bought this dish from a bbq stand, and it consisted of rice, beans, tortillas, salad, and beef. Great stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The team name was the Indians or Boer in Spanish. They had two mascots sponsored by Claro, one of the larger mobile phone operators in the country. As you can see, safety is not a priority, as he repeatedly climbed the backstop netting to hype up the crowd. He even had an assistant, a young boy of about 9 years old, who also climbed the fence.

 

 

 

 

 

A man was walking amongst the crowd painting faces. He used a stencil, but he did not use ordinary non toxic face paint as they would in North America. He used industrial strength spray paint. The fumes were horrendous, but everyone in the crowd seemed to want one.

 

 

 

 

At the end of the game, the riot squad came onto the field, and also a school bus drove to the front of the visitors dugout. They school bus collected the visiting team so that they would not get pelted by water, fruit and other items.
Categories: Nicaragua

New video – Rural Community in Nicaragua

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Happy New Year.  Apologizes for the lack of posting in the past few weeks.  I have been quite busy, but will post some new content this weekend.  I have been experimenting with some new video software.  Check out this video, and provide some feedback if you can.

http://goo.gl/Nvten

Also remember that if you become a fan of SchoolBOX on facebook, we get a $2 donation.  It is very easy to do, and it will only cost you the 5 seconds in time it takes to click this link:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/SchoolBOX/204667908062 or on the graphic on the right hand side of the page.

Thanks!

Categories: Nicaragua

Honduras visits (part 2)

December 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Families surrounding the truck outside of Copan

I woke up Thursday morning and headed into more villages surrounding Copan.  The povery is staggering in this region. The children usually only have one set of clothing, and are very dirty in appearance.

I accompanied Ellen, and we passed out clothes, rice, flour and candy to the villagers.  Some of the children were naked, and were clothed through the second hand clothing they received.  Local shops within the region also benefited through the sale of these clothes.  All that was given out were the leftovers from Christmas baskets that Ellen had given out a few days earlier.

I stood in the back of the truck with a local teacher, and had a fairly comprehensive talk with him.  He outlined the problems within the village, and how there was only one child who was in grade 6 this year.  The schools were being renovated, and fixed up, but other problems existed.

The families were severely malnourished.  Many families had problems with children not eating properly, and

Dennis and his two sisters.

The families were severely malnourished.  Many families had problems with children not eating properly, and there was a high incidence of child mortality at birth, along with pregnant mothers dying during childbirth.  This is a function of the villages being in the middle of nowhere.

The picture to the right shows Ellen Finn with Dennis and his two sisters.  Dennis was very happy, and showed us the school, and showed us where he sat.  His youngest sister died recently from starvation.  – unbelieveable to fathom coming from Canada.

Ellen stepped in to help families after hearing of this.  She is also starting a project for the students and community to learn other trades (other then farming).  They will build a chicken coop and have the 7th graders learn how to raise chickens and business skills involving selling and trading poultry and eggs.  This will be a big boost to the local economy, and also boost the nutrition levels of the community.

When leaving Copan, I bought a chicken for the community.  It was the only gift that I bought someone for Christmas this year, other then coffee for my family.  Hopefully this gift will help the community in the coming years.

Categories: Random Travelling

School Visits in Honduras

December 23, 2010 4 comments

Ellen Finn with a group of people from a village outside of Copan, Honduras

I am on my way to Guatemala City for Christmas to meet some friends.  A few weeks ago, I was doing a websearch, and came upon an organisation called Project School Supplies.  It is run by a lady named Ellen Finn from the States.

You can check out her story on the weblink above.  It is very interesting, as she was in Honduras a few years ago for a Spanish course, and fell in love with the country.  She returned home to get rid of all of her belongings and moved to Honduras.  When she returned she noticed the poor state of education and schools, and decided she wanted to make a difference.  She has been in Copan ever since.

I read her story online, and was immediately drawn to learn more about her and the work she is doing in Honduras.  I emailed her a few weeks ago, as I was heading through Honduras to Guatemala.  She immediately came back to me, and told me that she would be happy to meet with me and that it would be great to brainstorm.

I met up with Ellen yesterday, and we chatted over breakfast.  It turns out we have a lot in common, and it was great to meet someone who was working towards the same goals as I was.  The main difference is that her organisation does not have as much support as SchoolBOX.  It is basically a two person team, and they rely primarily on individual donations. They also operate out of a smaller area than SchoolBOX, as they basically help the communities that are scattered around Copan.  They also have a wider spread of services offered to the community.

Children who received christmas presents outside of Copan

She invited me to join her as we toured the community in which she has built schools.  She asked me to help her deliver Christmas gifts to the community.  The gifts consisted of necklaces for the girls, fruit chews for the boys, and small packages of rice for families.

As we drove through these remote villages, I could see the poverty.  There was no running water, and the children were wearing tattered clothes.  Some were not wearing anything at all.  You could tell by looking at the children that they were malnourished.  She seemed to know many of the people by name, and they all knew who she was.  The families were so happy about the gifts that they got.  These were most likely the only gifts they had received in a long time.  Happinness does not cost a lot.

The schools that Project School Supplies and the donors built were incredible Read more…

Categories: Random Travelling
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