So here are the questions that I got….
Do the kids wear uniforms?
Yes, the kids all are supposed to wear navy blue pants or skirts for the girls and white shirts. However, in some of the poorer towns such as mine the dress code isn’t enforced.
Do they go a normal day?
The kids (grades 1 through 6) have school from 8 am to 12:30 Monday through Friday. The high school age students have the option to do the same, however, where I live most high school age kids work on the farm or in the house and thus choose to go only on Saturdays which go from 8am to 2pm. Don´t ask me how this equates to a full week of school otherwise though.
What all do they study?
Generally they have five classes; Spanish, Geography, Social Sciences, Math and one other class I can´t think of. The high schools also teach English.
How many are in their classes?
In the school in my community there are 50 kids, thus they divided them into two classes. One teacher teaches first through third grades and another teaches fourth through sixth.
Do you have any girls you are interested in?
Short answer, yes, the Latin ladies are quiet attractive. Long answer; dating routines, language and the lack of in-depth conversations have thus far ended any real pursuits.
How are your pigs coming?
Pig project has been incredible slow. We were supposed to get the pigs around March, this has been delayed and the latest I have heard is that we should get them sometime this year. I’m hoping that we will start building the pig pens in the next two months but who knows. Nicaragua bureaucracy has put a whole new definition to the word slow.
What do you do in a normal day to day routine?
Easiest answer is there is no daily routine, however I´ll try to give you something of an answer.
8:30 am Wake Up
9:00 am Eat breakfast, usually some oatmeal with raisins and honey or a jelly sandwich.
9:30 am to 11:00 am Study Spanish or read a book. (I have now read 24 books in 4 months, so you can tell which one I do more of.)
11:00 am to 12:30 Two days a week I go to the school and help out. With the older class I teach English classes. With the younger class I do various activities such as making a piñata or help out the teacher any way I can, which usually ends up just trying to keep control of the class.
12:00 to 1:00 pm Visit a family that just happens to be eating lunch. This is where I get my daily intake of rice and beans.
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Walk around the community talking to families and playing with the kids. Also, try to throw out ideas to various families for future projects and seeing what interests people.
3:00 pm to 4:00 pm Go to my host families house to watch a Latina America dating show. The show is actually based out of Los Angeles but is in Spanish and usually has some pretty attractive women. Thus I am killing two birds with one stone, practicing Spanish and remembering what a TV looks like.
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Visit other families in the community. If I have a cooking class or an activity with parents then it would take place during these hours.
6:00 pm to 7:00 pm Make dinner and usually entertain some of my neighbor’s children. About a week ago the truck to my community stopped coming to town, thus it looks like there will be a lot of spaghetti dinners in my future. Also, Ramen Noodles have reappeared from my college days and I have learned how to cook some pretty good dishes with soy meat, including sloppy joes or hamburgers.
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Play some cards or pool (surprisingly there is a make shift pool hall here).
8:00 pm to 10:30 pm Hang out in my house and listen to some music, watch a movie on the computer the previous volunteer left me, or read a book. Luckily they don’t really enforce any pirating laws, thus you can get movies for around one dollar and they usually are pretty new movies.
10:30 pm Bedtime
How many animals do you have?
As of right now, I have one dog, one cat and three kittens. The kittens though will be given away as gifts here in three weeks. I also decided to give my dog the surgery so she wont have puppies but that wont be for another 4 months.
Are you still allergic to animals or with everything down there are you just more accustomed to the allergies?
Surprisingly my animals don’t bother my allergies. Don´t know why but I definitely checked into it before I took ownership. Its weird, but in different locations allergies can be more active then others, or so I have been told.
Do they celebrate Easter?
Easter is a HUGE celebration down here; everyone quits working in the fields or takes the week off from work. For the most part it is a religious celebration; however, quite a few people take the time off to head out to the beaches. This has become quite dangerous actually as over 70 people died during Easter week in Nicaragua this year. See most Nicaraguans can’t swim, also some use this time to drink absurd amounts of alcohol. The combination of these two, led to around 30 people drowning. The liquor led to another 20 people dying in alcohol related violence and 10 people died in car accidents. Thus, we are advised of these dangers and most volunteers stay in their sites. Religious activities in the sites include about 10 church services throughout 5 days. The biggest day in my opinion was Friday where the community meets at the church and the men carry a large cross throughout the community street to symbolize Jesus carrying the cross. This terminates at the church where they proceed with church service. They then do this all over again in the afternoon with the women carrying a much smaller cross.
Is there TV or Radio?
Yes, about 30 to 40 percent of the families in the community have a TV, however TV´s only have about or 5 channels. Some people throughout the community do have radios but needless to say there is not great reception, thus it is more the minority then the majority. Also, it is usually only the people that got big stereo systems to blast their ranchero CD´s.
Do people play music – guitars and things?
Guitars are quite expensive for the average family down here, thus the only people in my community that have them are the people that play in the church band.
Are there books?
I brought down five books with me, which I went through in my first two weeks at my site. We do also have a book exchange in the Peace Corps office however good books do not stay on the shelf for vary long. Thus, it is usually better to exchange books with other volunteers.
Also, look for some pictures included in the next blog, I am going to get some pictures of families in my community, the school, church and a picture of my community from the mountain above it. Send me an email if there are any other things you would be interested in seeing pictures of.