This is a combination of a blog that I wrote awhile ago and added some today! Sorry it has taken me so long to send this out. Know that I love you all.
Today, December 7th, we celebrated Purísima here in Nicaragua. It is a national holiday that commemorates the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. It was like a combination of Halloween and Christmas caroling. We joined the other community of volunteers that live in Managua and went to different houses who had set up altars for the Virgin Mary. As a group we would sing (quite enthusiastically) various songs to honor Mary. The people who lived at the various houses would in turn give us gifts in appreciation for using their altar. We received everything from candy to plastic bowls to combs. I even got some Ramen noodles.
These past couple of days I have been trying to absorb as much as possible. The people I am surrounded by are incredibly welcoming, which has definitely been a blessing. The house I live in is relatively big. There are 6 bedrooms and while there are currently 7 of us living here, soon there will only be 5 after the two volunteers that are finishing their time in Nica leave in less than a week. I have my own room that connects to a bathroom that I share with just one other community mate. In the compound that our house is in, there are numerous trees including grapefruit, lime, and papaya trees. The food here has been good thus far. We’ve had gallo pinto, which is a Nicaraguan style of rice and beans, watermelon, bananas, egg salad, and spaghetti.
I got to see the school where I will be working. It’s called Colegio Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. I went with the volunteer who has taught there the past two years, and we were able to attend graduation. She introduced me to several teachers and kept expressing how much she loved being at the school, which made me excited to get to work there, too.
This week we are staying at homestay families within our neighborhood for a few nights. Then, we are hosting a going away party for the volunteers who are leaving at our house, which sounds like it will be a lot of fun. The following week we are going to spend a few days and nights with host families out in the campo (country). We’re going to have a retreat sometime and go to language school for about a week as well. It sounds like I will be staying busy for the most part!
I have been so caught up in all the new things that I am seeing, hearing, learning and experiencing that I have gone to bed exhausted every night. I am trying to soak it all in because I am really excited to be here. I hope you are all doing well and know that you are in my thoughts.
Both of my homestays were wonderful. The people of Nicaragua are incredibly warm, encouraging, generous, and patient. They have been wonderful helping me communicate with my broken Spànish and teaching me so many new words. We just spent a few days out in the campo with host families and my family had younger kids who loved to play games with me all day. The campo is so beautiful and peaceful. It is good to be back home though and to sleep in my own bed, although I definitely haven´t missed the critters in my room and bathroom!
I cannot believe that Christmas is about a week away! It definitely does not feel like it. We are doing a secret santa with my commuity mates and I might even make pierogis for Christmas Eve dinner J I know this is not thorough but I wanted to make sure I got a blog posted!
Thank you for your encouraging thoughts and words. I´ll try to send some of this warm weather your way!
Love, love, love.